MANILA – The quest for the perfect running-mate for the country's two declared presidential aspirants may prove to be a difficult one.
University of the Philippines political science professor Ranjit Rye observed that there is a shallow cast of characters for the 2016 elections thus far.
However, between Vice President Jejomar Binay and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who both have yet to name their respective running-mates, Rye believes Binay will have a harder time.
"The person who will have the hardest time getting a vice-president is Jejomar Binay," he said.
Rye explained Binay isn't just searching for a running-mate but also consolidating his forces and seeking to assure the public that his candidacy remains viable despite the numerous corruption allegations against him.
As for Roxas, Rye said, "Mar Roxas will have an easier time compared to Binay. They are open to Sen. Grace Poe but should that not happen, Vilma Santos is being eyed."
''What I feel will be the eventual choice is to put up a grand coalition with the Nacionalistas."
This would make the Nacionalista Party's Senator Alan Peter Cayetano the likely choice.
Rye said traditionally, the factors affecting the choice for a running-mate include popularity, ability to generate campaign financing, political machinery, political family and a political bailiwick.
Rye, however, said voters have changed and are now looking at elections as tools for emancipation.
Now, voters look at the person, their stand, their vision, their platforms and programs.
United Nationalist Alliance president and Navotas Rep.. Toby Tiangco remained tight-lipped on their choice of Binay's running-mate.
Tiangco said UNA is looking for a running-mate who is willing to become a working vice-president - someone who will prioritize programs that will directly benefit the poor.
Various names have been floated to become Binay's running-mate, among them Senator Grace Poe, detained senator Jinggoy Estrada, Senator Bongbong Marcos, Pag-IBIG president Darlene Berberabe, and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. None have been confirmed.
Poe, Duterte, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano have all been floated as possible running-mates of Roxas.
None of them have confirmed receiving any offer to run with Roxas, while Cayetano claimed receiving feelers.
Cayetano was among those who spearheaded the Senate probe into corruption allegations against the Binays.
LP STILL WANTS ROXAS-POE
Roxas' ally, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, said the search for a running-mate isn't really difficult, although the Liberal Party is still hoping Poe will slide down for Roxas.
"Mahalaga ang pagkakaisa pero kung darating sa pagkakataon ayaw ni Sen. Poe, marami naman na pupuwede kaya lang naman cold yung iba dahil lumalabas na second choice sila pero kung talagang seryoso na kakausapin ang mga personalities palagay ko hindi nila tatanggihan ang hamon ng bayan sa kanilang paglilingkod,'' Erice said.
''Hindi naman mahirap. Marami namang available na pwedeng VP candidate ng admin party, subalit napakalaking papel, napakahalaga ng binibigay na pagkilala ni Pangulong Aquino at Sec. Roxas kay Sen. Poe."
Erice also stressed that popularity is not the main criterion in choosing a running-mate.
"What's important is kakayahang mamuno.''
He said an ideal running-mate should have integrity, competence, and experience.
Erice also maintained President Aquino's endorsement of Roxas was justified since he believes Roxas is more fit to be president.
''We're hoping magigising si Sen. Poe sa katotohanan na itong matuwid na daan ito inclusive, hindi exclusive. Kasama namin siya sa 2013, may investment ang coalition…Kung hihiwalay siya hindi na tuwid na daan iyon, private road na ito ng personal ambition nila ni Sen. Chiz (Francis Escudero),'' he said.
Neither Poe nor Escudero have declared their plans for 2016 but if they do decide to seek higher office. Poe has repeatedly expressed her preference to run alongside Escudero.
TRILLANES AS MAR'S RUNNINGMATE?
Quezon City Rep. Winston "Winnie" Castelo, meanwhile, offered Roxas some suggestions on how to keep the administration coalition intact for 2016.
Castelo said Roxas should obtain the support of the coalition partners, particularly the Nacionalista Party, Akbayan, Samahang Magdalo, Nationalist People's Coalition, and even the National Unity Party.
He also cited the importance of the selection of a non-LP member as Roxas' running-mate, the pursuit of continuing consultation process with coalition partners; and the alienation of what he described as "enemies of good governance."
Castelo suggested that Nacionalista Party's Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, the only aspirant for the vice presidency to declare his plans, as one of the possible running-mates of Roxas.
Trillanes, however, was already quoted in an interview as saying that he has already excluded himself from the list of possible running-mates for the Liberal Party standard-bearer.