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Commentary
October 7, 2015

Too Many VPs?

“Should we do this as the Americans do their elections where a vote for the President is also a vote for the vice president.”

We have a plethora of politicos running for Vice President. Never have so many wanted to be Vice President. This is unexplainable unless they know something that we do not know. Are any of the Presidintiables in danger of croaking in the next six years? Or, have they found a quicker way to the Presidency?

The vice president’s main purpose for being is to take over should the President die. That has always been the Veep’s main job.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto says about this: “Leni is the perfect match and a great catch for Mar.

“If Gringo will join the fray, Leni will be the fourth Bicolano to throw her hat into the vice presidential ring. Batangueno Sonny Trillanes’ mom is from Bicol, which makes him an oragon.

Sa unang pagkakataon, mas maraming “vice presidentiable” na magmumula sa Bicol sa taong ito kesa sa bagyo. It is becoming the cradle of VPs. National leaders are becoming its major export. Bicol is punching above its weight.

Like a sili, the presence of Bicol stalwarts will add spice to the vice presidential contest. As they share the same homeland, I foresee a friendly but fierce contest among kababayans.

I wish Sonny, Greg, Leni, and Chiz good luck as they wage the good fight. They, including Alan and Bongbong, are all eminently qualified for the post they are seeking.”

Sergio Osmena was the first vice President to inherit the Presidency when Manuel Quezon died in office during the Japanese Occupatiion. He served until Manuel Roxas was elected President in 1947. Roxas served only for one year, 10 months and 21 days as President. Elpidio Quirino, the vice President, took over when Roxas died of a heart attack. Carlos Garcia, vice President to Ramon Magsaysay, became President when Magsaysay died in a plane crash on March 17, 1957.
At one time, it looked like the Vice Presidency was the sure route to becoming President.
But no other Presidents died in office after Magsaysay. After Garcia, Diosdado Macpagal was elected President until the Marcos years. Ferdinand was elected President in 1965 and ended his reign on February 25, 1986 as Dictator. His Vice President Fernando Lopez served the longest as VP and never was President.

Then we had Corazon Aqino as president with Salvador Laurel as Vice President. There is a tale told in Malacanang that in one of those uprisings during Cory’s presidency, Laurel was in Hongkong ready to declare himself President had the rebels succeeded in ousting Cory. That never happenned, of course and Cory was succeeded by Fidel Ramos and his Vice President, Joseph Estrada, who succeeded Ramos as President with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as vice President.
Gloria did something that could be behind the glut in the number of candidates for the post of Vice President in this year’s election. She had Estrada declared unfit as President and took over as President on January 20, 2001. She served Erap’s unserved term and six years of her own as President up to June 20, 2010, when the present occupant Benigno Aquino III was elected President!

One wonders if this is what has attracted so many to run for the vice presidency? After all, the most popular candidate Grace Poe, the American, could be found ineligibe after the elections and would be unable to sit as President, no matter how well she does in the election. Another Presidential candidate could also be declared unfit for the Presidency with all the charges against him and would be placed in jail instead of in Malacanang. That’s another straight route to the presidency.

And taking a clue from Gloria, the winning president could be made so unpopular that he could be charged with all sorts of crimes and his win in the elections taken away from him and the vice president again takes over to serve the unserved presidential term and the term of the new president for another term like Gloria who had the presidency for close to nine years total.

Of the candidates for Vice President four are Bicolanos. We have never had a Bicolano Vice President or President, Is it now the time for those from Bicol to take a leadershjip role?
After trying out a parnership with just about everyone, Presidential Candidate Jejomar Binay has decided on Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan as his VP. This is his final break with the President who appointed him because he was a lawyer-member of Mabini, admired for their ideals and help for the downtrodden, as mayor of Makati and a cabinet member in the presidency of the present President Aquino. Honasan, as a rebel, would have killed Cory if he ever had the chance. The rebels he commanded cerrtainly tried. In fact, Cory’s son, the present President still has a rebel’s bullet in his body.

Leni Robredo, the widow of the most admired cabinet member of the present administration is a congressman who was picked by Mar Roxas to be his Vice President early on but she could not decide since her three daughters did not want mom to take on higher responsibilities than she already had as congresswoman. She finally decided recently and looks primed for the rocky road ahead.

Senator Chiz Escudero has always been the friend of Presidential Candidate Grace Poe and has always been her choice for VP.

Senator Antonio Tillanes is also in the race for VP and is the fourth of the Bicolano candidates. He is also campaigning for Grace Poe for President

Two VP candidates running on their own as independents are Senators Alan Peter Cayetano who hopes that Davao City Mayor Dingcong Duterte will run and Ferdinand (Bong Bong) Marcos, Jr. Cayetano has banners with Duterte- Cayetano as candidates even as Duterte has yet to decide whether to make a run for the presidency.

Who will win and will we be better off wth the next president and whoever wins as vice president?
Maybe we should we change the way we choose our leaders, as many have suggested. Should we do as the Americans do their elections where a vote for the President is also a vote for the vice president? That might sound like a good suggestion but wouldn’t that be too boring for many of our voters?

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