I keep wondering about which planet Inquirer columnist Manuel L Quezon III (MLQ3) is on. It’s definitely not earth given the analysis he lays out in his piece “‘Obosen’”. First, what administration coalition is he talking about during the Aquino administration? According to MLQ3, “it was the breakup of the former president’s coalition that allowed a minority take over of the country”. That coalition he is referring to actually broke up when former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) broke with former President Cory Aquino and the late Jaime Cardinal Sin in the mid-2000s. The deal was she was only to serve the unexpired portion of the ousted former President Jospeph “Erap” Estrada’s term. She welshed on that. This was when the destabilization plots against her fluorished at the instigation of her former coalition partners. It didn’t help that her First Gentleman provided fuel for that fire. By the time 2010 was rolling around, Manny Villar was ready with his new acquisition; the Nacionalista Party including the Laurel ancestral mansion on the street which bears Doy’s father’s name. Villar was Lakas before he became Nacionalista. Jojo Binay was opposed to GMA but he wasn’t with the Liberals. He was with the late Fernando Poe Jr FPJ in 2004. Binay ran as Erap’s VP and won. It wasn’t until Aquino won that the Liberals became the ruling party.
The Opposition was supposed to be united under Binay but that fell through because of the demolition job on Binay done by Senators Koko Pimentel, Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes. Binay formed the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) as his political party after his expulsion from PDP-Laban. Going into 2016, it was common knowledge that it would be Mar Roxas’s turn to run seeing as how he revived his father’s old party with his mother’s money. Grace Poe ran under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and found additional support from the leftist-militant groups. There was no administration coalition candidate in 2016 as Quezon claims. The truth was, Poe played hardball and Roxas was not to be denied a second time even if his numbers were low. It is precisely for this reason that he didn’t run for Senator in 2013. It was better for him to organize his campaign network as Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary instead of the Senate where he could find a safe haven again if he lost in 2016. We are familiar with what happened next.
As for PDP-Laban and PNoy’s untimely or timely passing, depending on how you look at it, Koko Pimentel wants control back which is why he rammed through Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s designation as Acting President. This led Bebot Alvarez to resign as Secretary-General and go back to Reporma. President Rodrigo Duterte, as PDP-Laban Chairman and titular head, wasn’t consulted but, still, he did not object. It’s only now with Koko putting words in Pacquiao’s mouth that the President finally made his mind known. Put up or shut-up. A break in PDP-Laban is what Koko wants to split the administration coalition. But the problem now is, will the Liberals be willing to take in Pac-Man and Koko? There’s a total of three of them if you include Ronald Munsayac. Before Duterte ran, PDP-Laban was a two-man party of Pimentel peré et fil. It does not really matter which party the President employs as the vehicle for 2022. It can be Lakas. It can be Nacionalista.
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Nonetheless, here is MLQ3 trapped in his own fantasy…
For the ruling coalition, they were girding for battle thinking there would remain, in lonely internal exile in Times Street, a convenient straw man to rhetorically prop up and then knock down, in order to score easy political points with their followers. The administration coalition was in the middle of the more urgent process of candidate control through cannibalism (rigging a fight in the PDP-Laban where he could be TKO’d and carried away in a stretcher, with lawsuits to ensure political euthanasia), when the former president inconveniently died. The parable of the prodigal son played out over three days, a nation that had viewed him with disdain taking its dead son into its arms one last time; and all the ruling coalition could do was insinuate that the former president died of neglect: as if diabetes, and kidney problems, aren’t such familiar curses many instinctively understood what the man went through.
What MLQ3 doesn’t say is Koko has been their agent all along. Pimentel is more Yellow than Duterte Red. Splitting the Visayas-Mindanao vote works to their favor. Eminent political strategist Malou Tiquia has written about the growing middle, or that divide between the pro-Admin and pro-Opposition partisan communities whose numbers have been dropping. These are what she terms as “persuadable” voters. They can play a role in the election since, if the Ping Lacson – Tito Sotto tandem pushes through, there would be an alternative to the law-and-order platform of the President. The macho tandem could package themselves as a better version of Tapang at Malasakit. Think of it this way, would the Liberals seriously consider a Leni Robredo- Manny Pacquiao ticket? Or a Pacman-Robredo ticket? Trillanes was fulminating the the other day about this. As far as he’s concerned, it’s a Robredo-Trillanes tandem or bust.
The Yellowidiots can milk PNoy’s death dry until May 2022 if they want. They will gain some votes but not enough to put them back in the game. As far as the administration is concerned, would Duterte and GMA actually be stupid not to realize that a split does not work in their favor? The Liberals aren’t exactly awash with cash. Judy Araneta-Roxas’s checkbook is closed. She will contribute a token amount but she also has a line to former Senator Bongbong Marcos (BBM). This has been there even when Gerry Roxas was still alive. MLQ3 should get all of his ducks in a row before his next analytical piece. There are two traditional periods of political realignment. One before the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy and one two weeks before election day. At this point, the die has not been cast.
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