Changing political equations Print
Friday, 03 August 2018 14:37

BY ROD BALBON

The removal of Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as House Majority Leader has created a big dilemma for many politicians who are aspiring for elective seats in the coming mid-term election. Many LGU officials have already jumped ship and took their oath as members of the PDP-LABAN party. The mass oath-taking of new party members was orchestrated by Alvarez and Senator Koko Pimentel in their effort to establish a stronger, bigger, and formidable party.

But according to PDP-LABAN originals and party purists, Alvarez is the epitome of everything that is wrong with the political party. He invited and conducted the mass inductions of new party members without first educating them regarding the party principles, objectives, platforms and programs in a compulsory one-week seminar. I don’t know if our Rep. Celso Lobregat and other local officials, who are now full-pledged members of the PDP-LABAN, have undergone this required process of membership. We won’t be surprised anymore if the new members would manifest party disloyalty.

This political party has been in existence for decades now but it has not proven to be strong and formidable save for the total landslide victories of then Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay, his councilors, including the city’s two congressional seats for many years. Binay was the saving grace of the party. Without him, the party would have remained a tragic comedy. He resigned from the party when he ran the presidency during the last presidential election under a new party. Sen. Koko Pimentel, a native of Cagayan de Oro City, once ran for the mayoralty of this city under PDP-LABAN but lost, despite the support of his father, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel. Why, even the elder Pimentel, who ran under the same party, didn’t get majority of the votes of the city’s electorates when he ran for senator before. He is now residing in Marikina City.

If not for President Rodrigo Duterte, who ran under this party during the last presidential election, PDP-LABAN would have been a joke. As a party officer, it is he who has attracted many new members, mostly from LGU officials nationwide. Alvarez and Pimentel lack the charm, leadership, and gravitas to lead the party to greater heights and make them win in an election.

Now that Pimentel was ousted as Senate President and followed by Alvarez as House Speaker, orchestrated by three women—Gloria Arroyo, Imee Marcos, and Sara Duterte, the PDP-LABAN is now place on the spot. Their ouster as PDP-LABAN top officials has created a new political equation both in local and national political arena. Many astute politicians would now want to jump ship and transfer to another political party knowing that the ouster of the above-mentioned top two officers of the party could not be done without the green light and blessing of President Duterte. They could have been prevented from doing this, unfortunately our new constitution now being rewritten under the Duterte administration that explicitly prohibits turncoatism is still to be ratified.

Many politicians are now talking that they want to switch their membership to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s newly created party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago. Although Sara Duterte, who is groomed to run for a national elected seat, declared that her party will remain a regional party, many parties would like to coalesce with this new party if only to assure them of victory in the coming mid-year election.

In Zamboanga City, many local political observers are now asking, will Rep. Celso Lobregat who will cross sword with Beng Salazar, a Liberal Party candidate for the mayoralty of the city, run under the PDP-LABAN? Or will he jump ship and choose another political party to help him win the election? Will his local slate also follow him?

In the city, we only have three existing political parties: the PDP-LABAN, the Liberal Party and the Nacionalista Party. What if these parties will coalesce under the Hugpong ng Pagbabago, under what political party will the local candidates run? No problem with Beng Salazar. I’m sure that she will run under the banner of the Liberal Party.

 

We will know the answers in the days or months to come before E-Day.