We are told often enough that we must think of a tandem for the May 2010 elections, i.e., vote for Erap-Binay, Gordon-Bayani, Gibo-Edu, Noy-Mar, Villar-Legarda. We are told it makes no sense to choose from two different parties, as this means conflict in government leadership. But in balimbing country, this doesn’t seem to be a problem at all. This primer will look into the vice presidentiables as individuals, and their particular kinds of public service. After all, in post–EDSA Dos country, we should be reminded that the VP does have a function and that who we put in this position needs to be worthy of the presidency as well.

So here’s a rundown of the vice presidential candidates, and just as in last week's article on the presidentiables and their platforms, we’ve listed them in alphabetical order according to their political parties.


BAGUMBAYAN-VNP

fn-elections-vp-fernando_1.jpgAn engineer by profession, Bayani Fernando’s claim to fame is Marikina City, and its clean streets, disciplined people, and developing space. His infamy is borne of his stint as chairman of Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), where his goal was to clean all city streets and discipline every Filipino. This has arguably only made him anti-pedestrian and anti-poor. In one of his more negatively-received efforts, he removed all traffic lights on EDSA and created U-turn slots, which does not always work in narrower thoroughfares, and which potentially endangers the lives of drivers and pedestrians. His solution to the squatter and vendor problem is considered by many as fascism, ignoring human rights and ruining the vendors’ wares.

While there is a sector of people who love Fernando to bits because they have benefited from less traffic, this is a minority who have cars and can’t imagine being a pedestrian in Metro Manila. His solutions are ostensibly effective, but still leave a lot to be desired. Fernando may have succeeded with Marikina, but Metro Manila might just be too big a space for that kind of city leadership.


LAKAS-KAMPI-CMD


fn_elections_vp_manzano.jpgBefore Edu Manzano ran for the vice presidency, we knew him mostly as game show and morning show host, as well as actor, and ex-husband of Vilma Santos and Maricel Soriano. His political ambition though, isn’t new. In 1998, he won as vice mayor of Makati, and became head of the vice mayor’s organizations. When his dual citizenship was questioned during the campaign, he tore his American passport and declared himself a Filipino.

As chairman of the Optical Media Board, Manzano declared war against piracy and pornography, did raids on mainstream and visible dibidi tiangges, but failed at actually getting the big fish of piracy. Manzano wanted to disallow Internet downloading, which doesn’t make sense in third world Philippines, given the high price of culture. Manzano was expected to run for senator, but was suddenly announced as Gibo’s running mate. He was given distinction as an unblemished public official, which can be said too of his reputation. The latter of course is more about showbiz than about politics.


LIBERAL PARTY

fn_elections_vp_roxas.jpgIn Mar Roxas, we just might see the vice presidentiable who is president material. This is because he has wanted to be president for a while, and had already taken the steps toward the highest position in the land. He was called Mr. Palengke after his stint as Trade and Industry secretary, during which he pushed for consumer welfare as well as the empowerment of small and medium enterprises, including the wet market stall owners.

In 2004, Roxas ran for and won a seat in the Senate, and in the past six years, he has been visible in major issues such as charter change and human rights violations. His most recent success is the Cheaper Medicines Bill, which now gives more citizens access to what used to be expensive medicines. Like Noynoy Aquino, though, it is his relations who might prove the bane of his campaign, what with his relation to the Araneta family and their land dispute, which he refuses to respond categorically to questions about.


NACIONALISTA PARTY

fn_elections_vp_legarda.jpg Loren Legarda is really Roxas’ toughest competitor and in terms of track record—on paper, she looks almost as good as Roxas. As a woman, Legarda is the first senator to top elections and the first to become majority floor leader. Legarda’s credibility spans her personal history as a journalist, and it’s a persona that has been consistent about fighting for women’s rights, children’s welfare, and the environment even as senator. The Clean Air Act is one of her more publicized laws as a senator, and while it seemed fantastic in theory, the banning of incinerators meant garbage in our streets instead of the garbage dumps.

But maybe this won’t even matter. Legarda has been seen as the classic balimbing, moving from one presidentiable (and political party) to another, wherever she would be taken in as running mate. And while it was politically incorrect that she be labeled a political prostitute, no one really said otherwise.


PARTIDO NG MASANG PILIPINO

fn_elections_vp_binay.jpgJejomar Binay has sold himself as the city mayor who would be president. As Makati mayor, Binay has proven that it is possible to provide the poor with free health care and education, and he has cleaned up even the tiniest of city streets. Talk to Makati constituents, and you will find that Binay’s standing with his constituents is somewhat akin to that of a rock star.

But is he really all that great, or does he have the makings of a feudal lord? He has given much to the poor of Makati, but Binay is the vice presidentiable with a reputation of corruption and of being power hungry. When he couldn’t run as mayor, he had his wife Elenita take the position. This, plus his children Junjun and Abigail taking local government positions raise warning signs for a political dynasty. This is no reputation to take with you on a bid for a national position and definitely not for the second highest position in the land.


As the elections draw near, more and more information about our VP candidates is becoming available. Sift through it, and think long and hard about this vote. In the end we can’t forget is this: EDSA Dos installed a vice-president as president. We have now had that president for a decade, more years than is normally allowed by the Constitution for a traditional presidential term. That tells us how important the vote for the vice presidency is.


(Photos courtesy of Pep.PH)

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