Manila: There is a raging star war taking place in Philippines’ politics.
Vilma Santos and Nora Aunor, famous movie stars who were rivals in their youth in the late 60s, are now in two clashing political rings: They are endorsing ruling Liberal Party’s (LPs) presidential candidate Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Sen. Grace Poe, technical opposition, respectively in the 2016 polls.
Poe is the adopted daughter of actress Susan Roces and action star Fernando Poe, who lost to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the 2004 presidential polls. He died of a heart attack in 2005.
Aunor’s mass appeal in the entertainment industry has an equally strong partner in the form of former president Joseph Estrada — a former actor turned politician, a friend of the actor Poe, the godfather of Senator Poe, and a kingmaker with political clout. Estrada can push for Poe’s candidacy.
While Aunor has publicly endorsed Poe, Estrada remains torn between Poe and Vice-President Jejomar Binay, his ally and vice-presidential candidate in the 2010 polls.
Meanwhile, actress-turned governor Santos, dubbed in her heyday as the “star for all seasons”, is supporting Sen Roxas. She and her husband Sen. Ralph Recto endorse Roxas’ ruling LP.
Elected governor of Batangas in 2007 and mayor of Lipa City from 1998 to 2007, Santos is LP’s chairman of Batangas, southern Luzon.
But recently, Santos refused LP’s offer for her to run as vice-presidential candidate of Roxas.
Like Aunor, Santos has a formidable ally who can push for Roxas’ candidacy: actress and singer Sharon Cuneta, who is called “mega-star”.
Cuneta is married to Sen. Francis Pangilinan, a member of LP and ally of Roxas.
Meanwhile, TV personality Kris Aquino, the younger sister of President Aquino, is reportedly endorsing Binay, also of the opposition.
Her brother was the one who endorsed Roxas as the standard bearer of the ruling LP.
The young Aquino was also expected to endorse Roxas because she was once a close friend of broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez-Roxas, now married to Roxas.
Sanchez and President Aquino met and dated each other in 1986, when former President Corazon Aquino was swept to power by a people-backed military mutiny that ousted former President Ferdinand Marcos. She was then reporting about Malacanang Palace, the president’s residence and office.
Sen. Poe is expected to declare her plan to run as president, and Sen. Chiz Escudero as vice-president on September 14, a source said.
Both Binay and Roxas have announced plans to run as presidential candidates in 2016.