Politics of political survival and convenience PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 26 March 2018 15:57

LOOKING IN

BY ROD BALBON

No, this is not the year of the dog but the year of the “balimbings”. Thousands of political chameleons are now getting out of the woodworks and are raring to gatecrash the “turncoats” party.

With the coming mid-year election just around the corner, many elected politicians have jumped ship and took their oaths under the present party-in-power, PDP-Laban.

This is the problem with Philippine politics. Unlike in the US where they maintained for several centuries the “two party” system, over here, politicians often change their party affiliation as often as they’re changing their clothes. They won’t stand and fight for their party’s principles, vision, and mission. Political survival and convenience is the name of their game.

Take the case lately of Senator Bam Aquino. According to his colleague, Senator JV Ejercito, he trekked to Davao City lately to seek affiliation with Mayor Sara Duterte’s new political party, “Hugpong ng Pagbabago.”Although Mayor Duterte has denied this, Senator Bam Aquino has not confirmed nor denied such report. Having lambasted her father, President Duterte, as “dictator” and “evil”, I don’t know if Mayor Sara will ever affiliate him into her party. Senator Bam is the last of the Aquino-Cojuangco goalkeeper who espouses the discredited kind of Yellow politics of the then crooked Matuwid na Daan of President Pnoy.

But Senator Bam is not the only one. Five other colleagues who are seeking reelection are likewise desirous to affiliate with Mayor Sara’s party. They are: Senators Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Sonny Angara, and JV Ejecito. Accordingly, Senator Koko Pimentel, the PDP-Laban President does not want them to be included in their party slate being drawn by him and House Speaker, Pantaleon Alvarez. They set two non-negotiable conditions for them to be included in their senatorial slate: (1) they must be a bona fide member of PDP-Laban; and (2) they must support the party’s push for federalism. These two conditions are not acceptable to these five senators. They just want to be affiliated but not to change their party identity. Senator Cynthia Villar, for instance, is a staunch officer of the Nationalista Party. Also, they don’t like Senator Koko Pimentel’s brand of leadership in the Senate and that of Speaker Alvarez in the Lower House of Congress.

Wild talks and rumors are now circulating and being talked about in coffee shops and restaurants in Metro Manila that these two political leaders will soon be replaced in their positions. Speaker Alvarez, who many says, “naging sobrang mayabang” will be replaced by former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Arroyo as House Speaker. Senator Koko Pimentel will be replaced by Senator Tito Sotto as Senate President. Many of their colleagues are saying that they were only chosen in their present positions because of President Duterte. Without him, these two leaders are non-entities. Mayabang Speaker Alvarez likewise got the ire of Mayor Sara when he said that he can impeach the President.

Our 1st District Reprersentative Celso Lobregat has also jumped ship from LDP to PDP-Laban. Whatever may be his reason, such move is seen as purely for political survival and convenience. Talks are circulating that 2nd District Representative Manix Dalipe also wants to join the PDP-Laban but Congressman Celso is blocking his membership into the party.

But as experience tells us, running under this party is suicidal, more so if one doesn’t have the wherewithals to wage a winning campaign. The PDP-Laban has no money to fund the candidacies of their local and national candidates. The Pimentels cannot even win in their bailiwick, Cagayan de Oro City. Ask those who ran under this party during the last three local elections in Zamboanga City. The results are very disgusting and lamentable. I should know because I was one of the original bona fide member of this party in this city. It was only Mayor Jojo Binay of Makati City that kept and carry the banner of PDP-Laban by winning all elected local positions in Makati from City Mayor, Vice-Mayor, Councilors, and the two Representatives of their district. Without Mayor Binay, this party will be in limbo and irrelevant by now. Well, President Duterte who won as guest candidate of this party, may be waving the party’s banner but he doesn’t carry its banner proudly. I would like to think that Mayor Sara Duterte has his blessings in forming the Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

Whether Mayor Sara is serious in forming her party to reform and change the political system with idealistic and principled candidates is now being closely watched by political observers and analysts. Personally, not all of the five Senators deserve to be affiliated and included in her new political party.