THE VIEW FROM RIZAL
“Who do you think would make for the most powerful political tandem in the 2022 presidential elections?”
This has been one of the most frequently asked questions and most discussed topics in local government circles these days. It appears that, next to the pandemic, the political contest next year is now among the items occupying the mind of a lot of people.
The speculation is about the 2022 “Dream Team” – the combination of two political figures that would excite the electorate. It appears that, in our country, presidential elections are seen as the battle of political tandems, not just among individual political aspirants. While we cast separate votes for the president and the vice president of our choice, the process of pairing up the contenders is big news.
Our elders attribute our fascination with tandems to our penchant for so-called “Love Teams.”
They point out that, for many decades, the “Love Team” was the sure-fire formula for coming up with box-office hits in our country. They recall the large following that the tandem of Carmen Rosales and Rogelio de la Rosa commanded in the early days of Philippine Cinema.
Even before this legendary duo created the unforgettable scene by singing “Maalaala mo Kaya” on the silver screen, our great-grandparents were already in love with the tandems of Rosa del Rosario and Leopoldo Salcedo, Elsa Oria and Ely Ramos, and Corazon Noble and Angel Esmeralda.
Those legendary love teams were followed by the tandems of the Nida Blanca and Nestor de Villa, Gloria Romero and Luis Gonzales, Tita Duran and Pancho Magalona (yes, the mom and dad of the late famous rapper and Antipolo resident Francis Magalona), and Charito Solis and Leroy Salvador.
Our elders relate that, for a while, Filipinos were “divided” among those who rooted for the tandem of Susan Roces and Fernando Poe, Jr. and that of Amalia Fuentes and Romeo Vasquez.
The polarization became even more evident when the tandem of Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III, more popularly referred to as “Guy and Pip,” emerged and the love team of now-Congresswoman Vilma Santos and Edgar Mortiz was pitted against them.
Then, there were the loveteams of Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion, Maricel Soriano and William Martinez, Judy Ann Santos and Wowie de Guzman, and Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin, and Sheryl Cruz and Romnick Sarmenta.
In local showbiz today, tandems are as hot as ever. Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz, Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes, Kristine Hermosa and Jericho Rosales, Nadine Lustre and James Reid, Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards, Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil.
We must not fail to mention, of course, the tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.
We love tandems because they are “romantic.” They represent “showbiz romance.” At the back of our mind, we know that not all of these love teams are for real, but we insist on imagining them as such.
Political tandems that emerge during presidential elections are also “romantic,” in a way.
Political tandems represent the romance of political interests. They also hint at the “marriage” of diverse regions represented in the tandem. Our elders point out that in the years prior to Martial Law, the tandem of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates was carefully studied and analyzed to make sure that they romance of the regions are evident in the pairing.
For example, the then-presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos, who was from the tobacco-growing Ilocos region, paired up with vice-presidential candidate Fernando Lopez who hailed from Sugarlandia in Western Visayas. It was also a Luzon-Visayas pairing for their rivals. Then incumbent President Diosdado Macapagal was from Pampanga while his running-mate, Gerardo “Gerry” Roxas (yes, the dad of Mar Roxas) was from Capiz.
The same may have been true for the selection of the tandems in earlier elections. In the 1953 general elections, presidential candidate Ramon Magsaysay of Zambales (Luzon) paired up with Carlos Garcia who was from Bohol (Visayas). They beat the tandem of Elpidio Quirino who came from Ilocos Sur (Luzon) and who ran with Jose Yulo who hailed from Negros Occidental (Visayas).
Will geography continue to be an important consideration when political personalities are paired for the 2022 national elections?
Initial indications show geography may no longer be the primary consideration. Early surveys show that a Duterte-Duterte tandem may lead the race for the top two national posts in next year’s campaign season. There are talks about a Leni-Isko tandem. If speculations prove true, both candidates would be from Luzon.
There may be other factors that would help decide who should run with who.
Among them are “chemistry,” “combined or complementary mass appeal,” and “party interest.”
Whatever the bases would be, the fact remains that the process of anointing a standard-bearer and his/her running-mate would attract as much public attention as that of the formation of a showbiz love team.
Whether it is in movieland or in politics, tandems represent “romance.” The Filipino – as a fan and as a voter – is definitely the romantic kind.
We hope that the political romance of the winning pair would give birth to greater opportunities for a better life for a greater number of our countrymen.
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