WANTED: A new, better, and SMARTER Philippine Opposition

We need a new opposition. One that is constructive and puts partisanship behind after an election to work with the administration for the people. This is what the then opposition did when Noynoy Aquino came to power in 2010 but look at what happened. The typical Yellowidiot attitude of vengeance reared its ugly head again and Aquino went after his political opponents using his now infamous Secretary of Justice.

Despite their defeat in 2016 and again in 2019, they still haven’t learned. Professor Antonio Contreras, referring to the 1Sambayan June 12 announcement in particular, called them “pathetic” in his Manila Times column today.

I have said this before and will say it again. 1Sambayan and the political opposition is in a quandary because they committed seven deadly political sins. They have been exclusionary, purist, moralistic, elitist, failed to recruit newer and younger blood, refused to read opinion polls, and stuck it out with unwinnable candidates like [vice president Leni] Robredo.

There’s still the possibility that 1Sambayan will dump the two “nominees” they have left. It’s possible that they will get behind Isko Moreno or the Macho tandem of Ping Lacson and Tito Sotto. At this point, whoever is left in the game are keeping their cards close to their chest under the excuse that there shouldn’t be politicking in a pandemic. But we can be sure that they’re moving behind-the-scenes and are in the process of building up alliances with the regional kingpins who can deliver the votes.

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Note however, that no commitment is cast in stone as far as Philippine politics goes. Nationally-accredited political parties are mere flags of convenience now similar to vessel registries. It’s the regional political agrrupations which wield real power. These are the political dynasties which have come under scrutiny lately because of the Opposition who are equally guilty of perpetuating the same. We need to be pragmatic about structural reform in all aspects. Hopefully the 2022 election will have the public looking more at the issues rather than the personalities.

We can’t have Manny Pacquiao as President nor can we afford Willie Revillame in the Senate. Just look at the neophyte senators who won in 2016 and are up for re-election in 2022. We should go through their output as they will be the senior members after the current election cycle. We don’t have much to look forward to in terms of up and coming candidates because of the incestuous nature of our political structure.

We are at a crucial tipping point because of the pandemic. It cannot be business-as-usual in this electoral exercise. We need capable and competent leadership to navigate through the challenges posed by the present environment.

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