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Ninez Cacho-Olivares

Presidency or nothing?

Friday, 29 May 2015 00:00 Published in Commentary

From her recent statements, Sen. Grace Poe appears to want to run for the presidency, and not the vice presidency and as an independent but adopted by a political party.
It could be a wrong interpretation of her recent statements, the gist of which, as she told reporters, is that while she and presumptive Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, share Noynoy’s daang matuwid, there are other things besides friendship for her to consider before plunging into running for a higher office.
She mentioned that she and Roxas have different views on certain issues, such as not just focusing on the anti-corruption drive but also focusing on how best to help the poor in society, among other viewpoints. She stressed that discussions between a president and a vice president (as a tandem) should be made before any decision is made.
From this statement, what she may be saying is that, as Roxas’ vice president, she wants a full sharing of presidential powers and decisions.
Stated differently, she not only does not want to be a spare tire, but that she wants all presidential decisions and programs must be a decision made by both, as president and vice president.
Good Luck, but once a presidential bet wins, and even if the vice president is from his party, he is the president and is not under obligation to share his powers with his vice president, friend or foe.
Poe also stated quite clearly that if she does run for higher office, it would be as an independent candidate, without being dictated by party rules or stand, but added that neither she nor her friend, Sen. Chiz Escudero, with whom she says she is comfortable, should there be such a tandem in 2016, has any party machinery or resources.
Escudero said just about the same thing, running for a higher post as an independent, not wanting to be shackled by any political party.
It s clear, however, from what Escudero had stated in a recent TV interview program, that he has no chance of winning in a presidential race, given his survey numbers, and that it is Grace Poe who has the numbers, which is another way of saying that should they decide to run as a tandem, Poe would be the presidential bet and Escudero, her vice president, although they won’t be sworn in as party members, but would agree to be adopted by the Liberal Party for both high electoral seats.
As senatorial candidates, both Poe and Escudero ran under LP, but branded themselves as “independent” candidates, despite the fact that they ran under the Aquino administration or Team PNoy, and were helped greatly in their victories via the resources of the administration. They are in fact allies and defenders of Noynoy.
But running as a tandem on their own, without the election wherewithal which is essential, and without being adopted by a party, wining would have been a harder climb for them to secure a Senate seat. They could win as independent senatorial bets, on their own, as long as large political contributions come in, but there is still the matter of getting the network of local executives, rather than say, congressmen in their districts as these are the officials who can deliver the votes in a senatorial election, since it would be a case of including just one or two senatorial candidates they can endorse to their voters in their lists.
In a presidential election, however and running for higher seats, whether for the presidency or the vice presidency, a full network and organized grass roots voters are essential for one’s victory and without a political party backing them up, there is little chance for independents to win the race.
But apparently, Poe and Escudero, should they go in a tandem, don’t mind being supported by a political party but remain as independents. This could prove difficult for the tandem to be embraced fully by the political party, as its officials and members would prefer to have a party member as their standard bearer, as he would be a partyman and would look after them once he gets the presidency.
Still, Noynoy could do a Cory who dropped then Speaker Ramon Mitra as LDP standard bearer, even when all throughout her time as president, the LDP served her loyally as her party in Congress. Instead, she stabbed Mitra at the back, anointed Fidel Ramos and endorsed him. Her endorsement didn’t bring him the votes, as he merely gained a small fraction of the vote — less than 25 percent — and the difference between the next candidate was something like two to three percent — and this after a long, long time for the count’s announcement of the winner — over one month.
The count had Namfrel personnel who was obviously rooting for Ramos, and the much delayed announcement showed vote count manipulation.
Still, it’s the individuals who are gunning for a higher post to decide whatever they finally intend to do..

Threats from Leila, threats from MILF

Thursday, 28 May 2015 00:00 Published in Commentary

Coincidence at a time when the Senate is working on drafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) just doesn’t jell with Justice chief Leila de Lima suddenly announcimg that the investigation of some 78 senators and congressmen, incumbent and former included in the “Napolist,” is still on.
Noticeably too, Leila has been zooming in on senators, which appears to coincide with the seeming stubborn stance of at least 12 senators who insist on coming up with a BBL that is not constitutionally flawed and passes Supreme Court (SC) muster.
As things stand in the Senate, with 12 senators having signed the committee report drafted by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, it is clear that they agree with Miriam that the BBL should be substantially revised if it is to withstand legal scrutiny before the SC.
As Santiago pointed out, “by affixing their signatures in the committee report, senators are agreeing with the conclusion that the present BBL draft is essentially unconstitutional. I expect that more of my colleagues will adopt the same view on the Senate floor.”
Santiago said Congress cannot just pass the proposed BBL since it needs a total overhaul as the establishment of a new autonomous region for Muslims in Mindanao requires the amendment or revision of the 1987 Constitution.
What this means is that there can be no passage of the BBL on the part of the Senate — unless of course many will change their mind and vote, come plenary debates time.
And perhaps, Leila and her puppet master, will be needing the threat of filing cases on these senators in the Napolist, if they don’t behave as the Malacañang tenant wants them to behave.
With Santiago having 12 senators signing her report, it follows that BBL as fashioned by the Palace and the House, is dead in the water, as a constitutional amendment or revision is needed.
As Senate President Franklin Drilon himself said, the BBL likely will not be done before Congress adjourns sine die. This in turn means that Noynoy cannot have his BBL when he delivers his final State of the Nation Address.
It will also be too late to hold a constitutional convention to revise the 1987 Constitution and the public is not going to tolerate a revision or amendment of the Charter by Congress, through a constituent assembly that will give the MLF all it wants.
But the Marcos committee can still come up with a BBL — as long as it strictly follows the Constitution, although even this still can be questioned by the high court, as there is doubt that Congress can amend the Charter proviso through a legislative measure that will abolish the ARMM.
The present Charter allows for only two autonomous region, and even as the members of Congress claim that they have the power and authority to abolish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, to replace the ARMM, legally and constitutionally, Congress cannot amend the Constitution by legislating a measure abolishing the ARMM since the ARMM is enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.
To my mind, the best way for the House and the Senate to still give the Moro Islamic Liberation Front an autonomous region, is for them to just take over the reins of power in the ARMM, and Congress can come up with a law that would provide the new ARMM more funds and a stricter audit of the ARMM funds by the Commission on Audit, as well as a well-planned development of the region, including education and infrastructure needed.
This way, the so-called Bangsamoro people would not see themselves as a nation with a defined territory and an “asymmetrical” substate but see themselves as Filipinos under the same Constitution, the same flag, the same country and one armed forces of the Philippines.
But as the MILF has been threatening too many times by sounding its war drums, noting that it is only its version which Noynoy passes as his own, is acceptable.
But why should a government with all its armed forces at its command, be so scared to defend the country in a war with the MILF?
Sometimes, the only way to achieve peace is to prepare for war.
The peace through an unconstitutional BBL won’t be achieved anyway even with a BBL.
Besides, threatening to file cases against the senators in the Napolist as Leila claims, won’t happen, since dear Butch Abad, is No. 1 in the Napolist. Dare she file charges against Bad Boy Abad?
Filipinos have to wait for a new government in 2016 and naturally, a different Justice chief to have Abad et al. face the courts.

It’s elementary

Wednesday, 27 May 2015 00:00 Published in Commentary

Noynoy appears to be doing a strip tease on who his anointed would be, emitting signals that it would be Grace Poe and lately, Mar Roxas.
He has also said, at one time, that during the administration’s election campaign, he would be there to focus on the success of his claimed change and reforms programs, with the latest spiel on the Philippines becoming a First World Country soon, with the continuity of his reforms and his daang matuwid, but which no longer has any currency among the Filipino people.
But whether the choice is Mar Roxas or Grace Poe, the foremost question among the electorate is whether either would continue to protect Noynoy and his Liberal Party (LP) biggies from from prosecution, should either or both win the two top political slots in 2016.
For Noynoy and the LPs, the campaign thrust against VP Jojo Binay, who is definitely running as the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard bearer, appears to be pretty clear-cut: the continued portrayal of the VP as corrupt to make their anti-corruption stance gain currency.
Already, Noynoy has publicly stated that Binay needs to answer the allegations of corruption if he wants to win the presidency. At the same time of course, he makes no mention of the fact that none of his LP biggies who are also alleged of having committed corruption and plunder, complete with filed complaints with the Ombudsman, has answered allegations of plunder and corruption charges against them. As a matter of fact, the so-called third batch of legislators, which include some of his close friends and allies, has not even been filed, after the umpteenth promise of Leila de Lima to file this.
Not to be left behind, presidential wannabe Alan Cayetano has been quoted as saying that Binay no longer enjoys the presumption of innocence because the evidence and that he has been already been proved guilty.
Wow. Cayetano is said to be lawyer and he doesn’t know that even an accused before the court, is always presumed innocent until proven guilty? Besides, what evidence is he talking about that proves the VP’s guilt? The Malacanañg puppet Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) report on the 242 bank accounts in the names of legitimate businessmen alleged to be dummies of Binay by the trio in the Senate as proof of guilt? Have Cayetano and the yellow ribbon subcommittee and even the ALMC proved that these are the dummies of Binay? Duh, Alan, Koko and Trillanes, all you have are baseless accusations.
But what would be more important to the electorate in 2016 is the public’s cry for the prosecution of Noynoy and his protected species, such as Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Franklin Drilon, Dinky Soliman, Ging Deles and many of Noynoy’s other Cabinet members, among other biggies.
And this is where Mar has an edge over Grace in becoming Noynoy and his LPs’ standard bearer, as far as the LP as party desires go.
Mar can be trusted to continue protecting Noynoy and the LP biggies, should he win the presidential race.
Grace, who now speaks and acts like a true blue politician, will undoubtedly protect Noynoy, but as public pressure mounts for her to charge the LP biggies and prosecute them, what are her chances of losing public support immediately if she insists on protecting Noynoy and his LP biggies? This is of course, if she does win the presidency, which is iffy at this point.
For that matter, will Grace even sign the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) committee report of Sen. Miriam Santiago, as well as Sen. Marcos’ committee report, which would be largely based on the constitutional infirmities, that is, if Marcos and the Noynoy allies do a Rufus Rodriquez ad hoc committee, especially as Noynoy has already sent loud feelers that he wants a meeting with the senators on the BBL’s constitutionality. One meeting loaded with projects and cash offered should do it.
As things stand, eight senators, Noynoy’s allies among them, have already signed the Santiago committee report. Grace’s name isn’t on it yet.
But will she, knowing that her political patron, Noynoy wants it approved, by project hook, or crooked cash?
That Grace will protect Noynoy at all cost is probably a given. But the LP members can’t be too sure of their protection from prosecution under a Grace Poe presidency.
And this is why the LPs want Mar as their standard bearer.
As Sherlock always tells Watson, It’s elementary.

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