Attempts of President Ramos to amend the Constitution and establish a unicameral, parliamentary system of government was met with stiff, multisectoral opposition. His charter change initiatives appeared to heavily favor his chosen successor—Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., an expert coalition-builder in the House of Representatives. Failing to amend the charter, the second presidential elections under the 1987 Constitution pushed through with even more candidates compared to 1992. Eleven hopefuls slugged it out for the presidency: Vice President Joseph Ejercito Estrada (LAMMP), House Speaker Jose de Venecia (Lakas-NUCD-UMDP), Senators Raul Roco (Aksyon Demokratiko), Miriam Defensor-Santiago (PRP), and Juan Ponce Enrile (Independent), Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim (LP), Defense Secretary Renato de Villa (Reporma-LM), former Cebu Governor Emilio Osmeña (PROMDI), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Chairman Manuel Morato, and Santiago Dumlao.
With the rising influence of mass media, traditional geopolitical considerations no longer held sway. Of the major tandems, there were three all-Luzon partnerships: Estrada of San Juan with Senator Edgardo Angara of Aurora; de Venecia of Pangasinan with Senator Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga; and de Villa of Batangas with Governor Oscar Orbos of Pangasinan.
Three followed the traditional North-South dynamic: Roco of Bicol with former Davao City Vice Mayor Inday Santiago; Lim of Manila with Senator Sergio Osmeña III of Cebu; and Santiago of Iloilo with Senator Francisco Tatad of Catanduanes. Notably, the tandem of PROMDI (Probinsya Muna Development Initiatives) was from Visayas and Mindanao, the first in mainstream Philippine electoral politics, with Osmeña of Cebu with former OIC Governor of Cotabato Ismael Sueño.
Estrada led opinion poll surveys from the beginning, with de Venecia and Roco making little headway toward the tailend of the campaign. Civil society leaders and others in the broad political spectrum made much ado about his incompetence to lead the country but did little to unite anti- Estrada forces. In the end, Vice President Joseph Ejercito Estrada and Senator Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo won the presidency and vice presidency, respectively, by a landslide. Both garnered twice the number of votes of their nearest rivals.
In the Senate, five seats were won by the outgoing administration party Lakas, and seven seats were won by Estrada’s LAMMP allies (four by LDP, one by PMP, one by NPC, and one by PDP-LABAN).
The Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) has published the Philippine Electoral Almanac, a handy resource on Philippine national elections from 1935 onwards.