Horse trading begins

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    ‘Manila Mayor Isko Moreno already sounded like he was dumping his own vice presidential pick when he said he was open to working with a Vice President Rodrigo Duterte.’

    NOW that everyone has filed their certificates of candidacies – some unsurprisingly and some major head scratchers – the horse trading begins. I say this because I suspect that between the 5 p.m. deadline last Friday and the November 15 deadline for substitutions, parties and aspirants for President and Vice President (mainly) will be evaluating their chances and seeing whether those chances will be better off if they strike alliances with others.

    Even if it means sacrificing those they had previously devoted to be their “ideal” running mates.

    Manila Mayor Isko Moreno already sounded like he was dumping his own vice-presidential pick when he said he was open to working with a Vice President Rodrigo Duterte. I suppose Mayor Isko was just simply responding to a question that acknowledged our penchant as voters for splitting our tickets. But I would have coated that answer about a hypothetical situation where he wins and Duterte (and not Dr. Willie Ong) wins with something like “but of course I expect Willie Ong to win with me.”

    It might be too much to expect of Isko to say “if you won’t vote for Willie Ong then don’t vote for me.” Hehe. (PRRD said that about Alan Cayetano during the campaign, yes? But as we all know now, PRRD was joking half of the time then.)

    So, if I were to make wild guesses about who would be engaged in horse trading and with whom, these are my wild bets:

    First: the camp of BBM would be looking for a solid and dependable vice president from the admin side. I suspect that Davao Mayor Sara Duterte would be the first and best choice, followed by PRRD himself. Declared PDP Laban VP candidate Sen. Bong Go would be a distant third. But we all know that in the case of Mayora Sara she has time and again stated that she is gunning for her third and last term as mayor of Davao.

    And we all know that a Duterte’s word is as good as gold.

    A VP from the Duterte camp would be the ultimate “seal of approval” for BBM from the Duterte forces. Not that they can’t drop him and vote for someone else as President – but who??

    Mayor Isko, maybe. Especially after he made a very telling 180-degree turnaround in his attitude towards and statements about PRRD. Wasn’t that just in August that he was combative towards the outgoing President, even daring the latter to come to Tondo as if inviting him to a fistfight? Those words made some people I know sit up and give Isko a second look. And to some people in the opposition worried that VP Leni would refuse to run, he was looking more and more like the choice.

    Then Isko changed colors, became kinder and gentler towards PRRD, with someone from Aksyon Demokratiko even saying that they never claimed to be in opposition to Duterte.

    Which means, in effect, that they are going to engage BBM in the battle for the DDS votes.

    “Duterte-lite” kasi, as some of my suspicious friends describe him.

    That may be too much, but it doesn’t help the suspicious sorts to note that his key handlers are fresh from the PRRD camp. Hmm.

    VP Leni may also still be in horse trading mode, and if this were true I’d suspect that the VP slot is up for grabs. I say this because I seem to have sensed that Sen. Kiko Pangilinan was reluctant in accepting the challenge, and was happy to just be running for re-election.

    Secondly, pitting Sen. Kiko against SP Tito Sotto pits Sharon Cuneta against aunt Helen Gamboa – and splits the movie and entertainment world. What for? Third, a Leni-Sotto ticket would be more “inclusive” because Sotto is not “Dilawan,” although his dalliance with Duterte during most of the past five years turns off many of the solid yellow who cannot brook the slightest hint of having entered into accommodations with the President.

    But wait – didn’t the VP herself hold a Cabinet post at one point?

    Of course, a Leni-Sotto alliance would require that Sen. Ping Lacson back out. Will he? Is he the type to bite if offered a Cabinet post of his choice?

    And then there’s Manny Pacquiao, who retains a certain appeal with a certain segment of our population, but whose chances seem to have gone down tremendously since losing his last fight. Will he plod on, or will he offer to be vice president to someone from Luzon for that geographic balance?

    These are my wild guesses. Do you have yours?