IT IS interesting to note that, as of yesterday, the vice presidential challenge has a clearer demarcation line, not just on the combatants’ social orientation but also in their political roots or origin. The wonderful side of a political campaign is when people get to know the men and women who want to be part of the country’s national leadership.

On the political factions and parties at the local and national levels, who would expect that in the free-for-all the erstwhile stalwarts of the two-party system would emerge as front runners—the Nacionalista and Liberal parties? This is reminiscent of the old days when the political contest always narrowed down to two fronts, leaving voters with only two choices.

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But what seems to be different in this case is the social factor, the clearly defined delineation of the social origin of the candidates in the two parties. Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas are portrayed as candidates who were born heirs to large-landholdings and therefore did not have to work hard to make a living. The millions of pesos they may spend for the campaign are already in the family, plus the assurance of more from influential friends of their political forebears.

Manny Villar and Loren Legarda, meanwhile, are no strangers to poverty, Manny Villar having been born in Tondo, and Loren Legarda in the anonymity of Malabon. They may be said to have struggled to rise above their indistinct beginnings without a definite direction in their future. That they have somehow crowned themselves with both education and material distinction is a credit to their nondescript beginnings.

Thus, I can say that the May 2010 presidential elections is about tradition, starting from the time it attained its independence in the mid-1940s to the late 1980s, when it chose to go for a multi-party system purportedly to make this nation’s elections more democratic and not just perpetuated in the hands of the elites. The result of the Villar-Legarda and the Aquino-Roxas pairings is worth waiting for.

The Richard Gordon and Bayani Fernando combination could have been worthy of support but for the fact that they were late in forming the partnership and reaching out to the voting public.

But they can still strive to prove that their aspirations have substance enough to stand the rigors and sacrifice that presidential politics normally entails. It would be interesting to see how the duo will fare in a multi-party political environment that suddenly turned traditional, and has become a two-party system conflict.