Here goes former Undersecretary and Inquirer columnist Manuel L. Quezon III (MLQ3) again with his Duterte doomsday scenarios. In his piece “Winter is coming” today, MLQ3 writes of his obsession with speculation around “how close, exactly, the President and the Marcoses are”. Deep inside he would like nothing better than for President Rodrigo Duterte to experience what his predecessor Noynoy Aquino did in 2016. Noynoy was dumb enough to think Mar Roxas could win or thought he had no choice but to give Mar his due since he made the ultimate political sacrifice in 2010. But if Cory Aquino hadn’t died in 2010, Joseph “Erap” Estrada would’ve made a comeback and that was what the Yellowidiots were most afraid of. They would be at his mercy because they had broken ties with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA).
In 2016, you couldn’t say who would win the Presidency. There was no candidate that generated buzz among the public. Grace Poe was supposed to be it but the public became cold after her citizenship issues were exposed. Then Vice President Jejomar Binay was the veteran with the experience and the track record but he had been tarred and feathered with corruption thanks to Koko Pimentel, Antonio Trillanes and Alan Peter Cayetano. If Duterte hadn’t run, no way was Roxas going to be denied the Presidency, by hook or by crook. Once Duterte connected with the voters, the race was over by March.
What MLQ3 is saying now is the administration won’t be able to put up a common candidate for President. Reports have it that National Unity Party (NUP) Chairman Ronnie Puno is onboard as the campaign manager of the Ping Lacson – Tito Sotto tandem. NUP earlier committed to a renewal of its alliance with Hugpong ng Pagbabago but with Inday Sara Duterte’s official statement that she’s not running, the NUP is now going with Reporma, the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), and Lacson-Sotto. This leaves the administration with Lakas and Nacionalista as its coalition partners, assuming the PDP-Laban brouhaha is decided in favor of the Al Cusi wing, to make up the administration’s 2022 slate. The addition of Ronnie Puno just made Lacson-Sotto a formidable challenger to the administration. Puno brings with him the NUP network and his as a former Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary. It’s not to be forgotten also that he was the architect of Fidel V. Ramos’s (FVR’s) victory in 1992. In this scenario, the President and GMA are left with no other choice than to run a Marcos-Duterte ticket. It is not only logical but it is also the best test of public approval for the Duterte administration if the election is to be about continuity or change.
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What MLQ3 does not mention is how his Leni Robredo is still out in the cold. Robredo is now being packaged as the “symbol of the opposition,” whatever that means, who is trying to unify various groups against the administration. Really now? Leni being the honest broker between Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao and Isko Moreno Domagoso? Is this why Pac-Man was photographed having breakfast at Balay Puti eating with his hands despite the gold cubiertos at the side of his plate? Everything is conjecture at this point with the only ominous sign being Puno’s becoming campaign manager for Lacson-Sotto. Inday Sara “Daughterte” can still change her mind. So can Duterte. It remains to be seen if Isko will make good his declaration see you in October but I don’t think he’s backing out of the race unless Lito Banayo can’t work his magic building a coalition for Isko. The rumored defection of a Visayas group has the name of Drilon written all over it. Maybe Banayo is thinking given the demographic profile, it wouldn’t be a danger to coalesce with the Liberal Party, that it might actually work to their advantage. This still leaves the question of who Isko’s running mate is. Robredo won’t make a good one. There is Grace Poe.
A Marcos-Duterte, Lacson-Sotto and Domagoso-Poe contest would be the most logical but politics isn’t all about logic. It is about addition. It is about permanent interests not permanent enemies. Going into October, Lacson-Sotto has the advantage over other potential tandems.
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