It’s 15 months before the 2022 polls, and already there is a lot of speculation on who would be teaming up as they run for the presidency and vice presidency.
President Duterte has endorsed House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez as his vice presidential candidate. Now there is growing clamor for presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio to run for president with Romualdez as her running mate.
I have already said that a Sara-Martin combination for 2022 would be unbeatable, with both Sara and Martin carrying both Mindanao and Visayas. Romualdez will also carry the northern part of Luzon as he is the cousin of Bongbong Marcos.
While the President says that Sara will not win in 2022, with a very strong clamor, it would be very difficult for President Duterte and Sara to refuse.
It is said that being a President is a matter of destiny as it was with Duterte. Besides, what better combination could there be aside from a Sara-Martin tandem, my gulay?
The problem now is Bongbong Marcos. After losing his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, my inside information is that Bongbong Marcos will surely run for President. In this case, Sara may be forced to run as Bongbong’s running mate.
Marcos is also a choice for President Duterte, which makes a Marcos-Sara combination a very winnable team. Romualdez may have to give way. Or, perhaps President Duterte may be forced to make Bongbong a sacrifice and become the running mate of Sara,.
For the opposition, Leni Robredo has no choice but to run for the presidency although she has been saying she’d prefer to run for a local position like governor of Camarines Sur, or mayor of Naga City. Her late husband was the city’s mayor. If she does decide to run for president, however, who will be her running mate?
There is speculation that it could be Frank Drilon, Panfilo Lacson, or Kiko Pangilinan.
Many things can still happen between now and October, the start of filing of certificates of candidacy.
For the Senate, there could be fresh faces.Among them are Manila Mayor “Isko” Moreno Domagoso, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, and Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte.
The returning senators will surely be Chiz Escudero and Loren Legarda. Or former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano. In the opposition, the losing senatorial candidates could try again.
Despite the vaccine rollout that has started, the biggest drawback is that some 42 percent to 47 percent of adult Filipinos are hesitant about getting inoculated especially with the vaccine from Chinese company Sinovac.
Government officials and public health workers, like those from the Philippine General Hospital, Veterans Memorial Medical Center and Tala Hospital in Caloocan may have been inoculated already. In truth, though, Filipinos are still reluctant. This presents a clear problem in the effort of President Duterte to have at least two million people inoculated. Filipinos know that by the second quarter of this year, vaccines made by AstraZeneca from the United Kingdom and Pfizer and Moderna from the U.S. will be available.
The purchase of one million more doses of Sinovac by Duterte (in addition to the donated 600,000 doses) for P700 million is clearly aimed at priority sectors like the police and the military.
Mr. Duterte said that with two million getting the jabs, there is a possibility that he may place Metro Manila under Modified General Community Quarantine. This is something to look forward to after more than a year of restrictive health protocols. Still, people should bear in mind that vaccines of whatever brand are not miracle cures. They just provide immunity against infection.
I was rather surprised when President Duterte announced that with some 60 to 70 percent of Filipinos getting inoculated by 2023, we could finally go back to normal. With a population of 110 million people, 60 to 70 percent of the nation is a fairly good estimate that the COVID-19 pandemic would truly make the Philippines normal again.
But, I am not as optimistic as Duterte. The virus has mutated into other variants.
In any case, with the vaccine rollout, there is now hope in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic unlike a year ago when all we could do was hope and pray.
A disturbing bit of news is that there is now globally speaking a short supply of vaccines especially other brands of vaccine except Sinovac. This could mean further delays.
The reason is that rich countries have bought more vaccines than they need.
I don’t want to make vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. accountable, but he should have foreseen what the rich countries are inclined to do.
They can afford to buy more than necessary, after all. That’s part of what they call geopolitics. We must not forget that insofar as rich nations are concerned, it’s survival of the fittest. And all the Philippines can do is hope for the best.
I am still wondering if we can get answers to the “who” and “how” of some people getting the vaccine as early as last year. At that time, it was still not authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.
Those Sinovac vaccines were clearly smuggled. It’s a mystery.