I believe former President Erap Estrada said it correctly that he and Kabayan Vice President Noli De Castro will be the toughest rivals in the 2010 elections.
That is, of course, supposing the law acknowledges the legality of his being able to run again for the presidency.
Coming from a similar background, with both having the much needed appeal of the masses, the two men are assured of getting a big chunk of support (converted into votes) from the poor, who, as what Erap claims, comprise of about 80 percent of the filipino voters.
Erap, though convicted with plunder but was swiftly granted pardon by Gloria Arroyo, continues to charm the masses during his provincial sorties. It is as if the Filipino has already forgotten that at one point in history, this man has been tried and convicted of stealing money from the people.
And while the so-called opposition leaders, Villar, Roxas, Lacson, et al, continue to do their separate tactics to rank in the surveys, Erap's popularity easily moves his name on top of the list.
Noli, on the other hand, has not dealt to stand on any major issue, nor contradict the unpopular Gloria Arroyo, making him still the Administration's best (and only) choice as the standard-bearer. His "clean image", plus the administration's machinery and power, makes Kabayan Noli a man to beat in the coming election.
If the current situations will continue, we might see a race among Erap, Noli, Villar and Roxas, plus possibly the other hopefuls Villanueva and Panlilio. Logic will cast Villanueva and Panlilio out of contention (unless of course, God Himself performs a miracle and puts any of the two as the ruler). Villar and Roxas, I suppose, are a no-match in terms of masa appeal versus our two main proponents.
So that leaves us to only two individuals fighting for the top post. Will it be the returning Erap, or the popular Noli?
In either way, I believe it's about time we start praying that we will also be able to vote and choose for a very good Vice President.
Oftentimes, the people focus their mind on the presidential hopefuls, disregarding the fact that we also need a very good Vice President in place. A VP position may have been, in the past, easily overshadowed by the President, but unknown to many, the VP post is an equally important position in the land.
After all, if only we chose the best VP in 1998, history must have taken us into a different course after EDSA Dos.
Now, more than ever, let us pray that we will choose a credible and righteous Vice President.