The public intellectuals who form part of the Opposition’s think-tank groups are so out of touch with reality. Even they aren’t aware of such a reality as evidenced by Inquirer columnist John Nery’s piece today “Warning: Trillanes”. Nery laments the “hysterical activism” of former Senator Antonio Trillanes that, he writes, is “undermining” both the leadership of Vice President Leni Robredo over the Opposition and efforts of their camp to “ensure the rejection of the Dutertes at the polls”.
To foster unity, not only among opposition groups — who by themselves will NOT have enough voters to win the presidency — but among all political groups who do not want any form of continuity for the Duterte regime, the focus must be on drawing a straight line between that big-tent political coalition and the mission. But while Trillanes’ political analysis is valid, that Robredo is the only possible unity candidate, his behavior since January this year has been baffling, and only serves to invalidate his previous work. In his triangle of options, the vice presidency and the presidency are out of his reach; but the last option is important, too: To earn a return to the Senate. He should recalibrate.
Trillanes wasn’t exactly part of the opposition before 2016. He was with the Nacionalista Party of Manny Villar. But, since then, President Noynoy Aquino (PNoy) granted him amnesty for the part he played in trying to oust former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA), he finally made his entrance at the Senate session hall. Trillanes relished his role as part of PNoy’s inner circle — at least, in his mind, he was part of that circle — which is why he was able to snag that back-channel negotiator role during the Scarborough standoff. He followed this up with the demolition job on Vice President Jejomar Binay.
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Trillanes actually approached then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte with an offer to become his Vice-Presidential candidate which the latter declined. It was Alan Peter Cayetano who won that contest out of a combination of persistence and dangling of campaign financing. The Nacionalistas had three candidates for Vice-President, including Cayetano and Bongbong Marcos. The sight of three members of the same party slugging it out during the debate was painful to watch because it showed how immature the political system was. But the actual strategy then was to make the race crowded in order to deny Marcos victory. It didn’t work at least in the eyes of the public as evidenced by Marcos’ continuing appeal to voters for the 2022 race, either as President, Vice-President or Senator, as opposed to how fate had treated Cayetano and Trillanes. Both are now considered to be political pariahs. If you look at it closely, the same fate has befallen Koko Pimentel. They were the three Senators who orchestrated the demolition job on then Vice-President Jojo Binay.
While politics is addition, Vice President Leni Robredo can’t be given too much credit for meeting with Senators Ping Lacson and Richard Gordon. Of the two, it is only Lacson who has the gravitas to forge a coalition. In truth and in fact, the alliance of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), Reporma and Aksyon Demokratiko is broader than any coalition the Liberal Party can come up with under the present political environment. Robredo is merely looking for a graceful exit because she is cognizant of the reality that she can become politically extinct by 2022. Her only option is to run for either Governor, Mayor or Congresswoman. The Camarines Sur Governorship is not hers for the taking since she will go up against Manoy Louie Villafuerte. The latter was once a member of the NPC so maybe there can be a deal brokered by the Lacson – Tito Sotto tandem in exchange for support in Region 5. But the reality is, the Lacson-Sotto tandem is in the best position to challenge whoever the administration candidates will be.
It’s the beginning of the end for Robredo and Trillanes. There are unconfirmed reports that Robredo will be scuttled by the Liberal Party. What Nery misses out on is how the two region mates are deceiving the public with their actions. Both have no chances of winning. Their only chance of winning exists in the minds of opposition die-hards who live with the memory of how Cory Aquino came to the Presidency. That in itself wasn’t a direct result of the broader-based coalition organized then. That was courtesy of Juan Ponce Enrile, Gringo Honasan, RAM and the US. It’s time for the “opposition” to wake up from its stupor. The end is near.
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