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Politics in this country has gone insane.
There are roughly four presidential candidates, counting Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and at least six vice presidential bets running in the 2016 polls, with at least three vice presidential candidates from the same political party, the Nacionalista Party (NP) running independently, that is, without a party endorsement and without a presidential bet, with at least two of the NP bets latching on to the presidential run of Duterte, who has said he is still searching for his soul.
What is even more insane is that at least three VP bets all claim that while there were negotiations for them to become the political partners of other party presidential aspirants, so-called policy differences were the deal breakers.
It is insane because these VP bets certainly know that even if they, as independents, win the race, they have no say at all in a new administration with whom they are not allies, precisely because it is the President who calls the shots. And in a scenario where a vice president comes from a different party, what is bound to happen is that the VP coming from a different political fence, the presidential winner would not likely give the VP any post in the President’s Cabinet.
VP Jojo Binay, even if he won under a different political umbrella, was given a Cabinet post by Noynoy mostly due to their having had the same political color. But it has to be recalled that, at the start, all that was offered Binay was the MMDA chairmanship, which the VP had rejected.
Once Binay cut off from Noynoy and the administration, he was demonized to the hilt by both Noynoy and his administration.
In the case of then VP Erap Estrada, Fidel Ramos did not give Estrada any Cabinet position, but gave him an office that would run after crooks in government. When he was doing too well in it, Ramos threw him out of his office.
It could be different if both the president and the vice president come from the same party, especially if the presidential bet desperately wants a vice presidential bet he thinks would boost his ratings, in which case, negotiations could be anywhere from getting a choice Cabinet position, or a certain number of appointees in the VP’s favor.
But certainly, a non-ally of an elected president can’t expect to have any say in the new president’s administration. He will be reduced to a spare tire, simply waiting for the president to have a heart attack and die.
Which brings us to the illogic of so-called independent vice presidential bets going into negotiations, only to claim that political differences were what had proved to be a deal breaker, when in real politics, a VP is dependent on the generosity of the president. And even if agreements were forged between the two political partners, once in office, such agreements can be broken easily.
A case in point: Before the Edsa Revolt, when both Cory Aquino, who had no party, and Doy Laurel, who had his Unido, wanted to run for the presidency in 1985 against Marcos, there was a deal forged between them. Cory would run for the top post, while Doy would be her vice president, with Doy promised to become the prime minister under the then parliamentary form of government, along with his being given six or so Cabinet positions he can fill up with his appointees. He was also to be named as the country’s foreign minister.
What happened after the Edsa Revolt was that Cory and her clique reneged on their agreement, and making Doy prime minister for just half a day, and without his having any say on the Cabinet positions.
Moreover, even as he was named foreign affairs minister, he was bypassed at every turn by Malacañang. In the end, feeling insulted, Doy resigned from the Cabinet, thereafter, he was demonized by Cory and her yellow clique — no different from what son Noynoy had done to VP Binay.
The so-called independent VP bets today, even come up claiming a program of government should they get elected. This is pure crap. There is no program or platform a VP can expect to have because it is the elected president whose programs and platforms that are important. All other so-called programs and platfirms coming from independent VP bets are nothing but hot air.
Mar Roxas and his Liberal Party (LP) members really had no choice but to get a female running mate for their standard bearer, after Grace Poe spurned Noynoy and Mar Roxas’ wooing for her to be Mar’s running mate, although it has to be admitted that Leni Robredo, a fresh face in national politics, with the right strategy, can win the vice presidential polls — especially in Bicol, where she is generally liked by the public for her simplicity and stoicism.
As a presidential candidate running against a female presidential bet in Grace Poe for the same post, but hobbled by a split in the yellow votes, Mar, having Leni as his vice presidential bet, can’t take on Poe and her lack of qualifications easily, given the unwritten code of conduct in this country, where men cannot publicly insult, demean and fight a woman as he would lose public esteem, although it is acceptable conduct for women to insult each other and even fight men publicly without losing any public esteem.
This violation of the Filipinos’ unwritten code of conduct, many times over, in politics being the more prominent instances, can cause the loss of political points for the male political aspirant.
Recall that former Speaker Laurel, who was then a shoo-in as a vice presidential candidate, lost the VP race because he was caught slapping a hostess in a nightclub, and failed to live it down.
Another case in point: Then aspiring Unido presidential bet, Doy Laurel, was portrayed by the Cory Aquino media that wanted Cory to run for the top post, as Doy having shouted down Cecilia Muñoz Palma and had to slide down to the second top slot in the 1985 presidential race. However, Doy is known to be a gentleman and shows respect for women and the elderly, but as the yellows wanted to destroy his presidential bid, they portrayed him negatively.
Even then sitting President Ferdinand Marcos was extra careful in criticizing Cory, although his camp did. He won that elections, but the yellow group, especially the Namfrel group that was into a quick count, but served as Cory’s political arm, as well as the Catholic bishops were in on a Comelec (Commission on Elections) walkout,which was clearly planned was portrayed as Cory having been cheated of her victory. The walkout occurred when the provincial votes were coming in and the loss of Cory was evident.
Rizalito David, however, with his move to disqualify Poe, does not fall under the unwritten code of conduct, in that the issue he brings up has to do with a legal question and on Poe’s citizenship.
Miriam Santiago, on the other hand, when she was a presidential bet, could easily get away with insulting male presidential bets, simply because she was a woman. Gender inequality? Perhaps, but that is what the unwritten code of male-female conduct in this country is in public, at least at that time, and even now, with talk of gender equality, in modern times, the code is followed. It has a lot to do with the respect of Filipino males toward women. Old school but still potent.
Following the same unwritten code of conduct, Leni, as the LP’s vice presidential bet, can be an effective critic of Poe during the campaign, without losing any of her standing as a woman and effectiveness, both as a vice presidential candidate and as a woman respected in society and politics.
Already, she has proven this in then recent past when the Poe citizenship issue was raised during a TV interview with her. Leni zeroed in on one’s disloyalty loyalty to the country by renouncing one’s Filipino citizenship to become an American citizen because this was no different from being a traitor to one’s country.
The Supreme Court en banc in a recent ruling, held that same opinion when it ruled to disqualify a Lanao de Norte mayor, a natural born Filipino citizen despite the fact that he had received 84 percent of his constituents’ vote, due to his having renounced his Filipino citizenship when he acquired American citizenship, renounced this, and reapplied for Filipino citizenship but continued using his US passport, saying that his use of the US passport in his travels was a recantation of his renunciation.
That was a good move to get Leni Robredo on the vice presidential slate, on the part of Mar and his Liberal Party. He gets to kill two birds with one stone: Leni can be his weapon of destruction against Grace and Chiz Escudero, who is likely to lose not only the Bicol vote, but also the solid north vote, along with, well, half of the Taguig vote, since the appellate court had already ruled that several sections of Taguig belong to Makati City, and not Alan Cayetano’s Taguig.
Presidential aspirants already were known to the public for a very long time. Vice President Jojo Binay was the very first to openly declare that he was running for the top post.
While the Liberal Party and Noynoy Aquino played the guessing game on who would be the anointed presidential bet, everyone and his uncle knew that it would be Mar Roxas.
In much the same way, almost everyone except the politically naïve, knew that while Grace Poe was clearly using the guessing game on the presidential and vice presidential slot, she was certainly gunning for the presidency.
Rody Duterte appears also be playing the guessing game and to date, says he is still undecided, as he continues searching for his “soul” which he says he has lost.
Except for Binay, all three 2016 presidential aspirants have been trying to portray themselves as “reluctant” presidentiables, but are running anyway because of the alleged clamor of the people. Why they think people still buy that line is beyond me.
The first presidential candidate who played the reluctant candidate role was Cory Aquino, although it was evident that she wanted the presidency, despite having no party. She even got the Church, through Cardinal Jaime Sin, to broker the political deal with Doy Laurel. She lost anyway to Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, although a revolt catapulted her to Malacañang. Then it was a one on one electoral fight for the presidential throne. Her son, Noynoy, also played the same game, even when it was clear that he and his sisters were milking the death of their mother to get Noynoy the presidency.
This time around, there are, as of this writing, three declared presidential candidates, with only Poe having, from the start, a vice presidential candidate. She and her political mate, Chiz Escudero, are running as independents, hoping to be fully backed up by the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), although the party members do not appear to be united in supporting the Poe-Escudero tandem.
There are also the big problems bugging Poe and her candidacy due to questions on the nature of her citizenship, which will continue to bug her throughout the campaign period, as it is not only the Senate Electoral Tribunal she will have to hurdle but also the Comelec and the Supreme Court to resolve the question of her being a natural born citizen, and later, questions on her 10-year residency when she files her certificate of candidacy in a few days.
But what appears to be a weird political development is the fact that there are more vice presidential aspirants than there are presidential candidates. And even more weird is the fact that there are at least three VP aspirants bereft of a presidential candidate, and all belonging to the same political party — the Nacionalista Party (NP).
NP’s Alan Cayetano is clearly courting Duterte to run, and for him to become the Davao mayor’s vice president. So is Bongbong Marcos, who has also talked to Duterte and VP Binay for the vice presidential slot. Trillanes has gone solo, but hopes for a Poe-Trillanes vote from the electorate.
To date, Binay has no VP bet, and neither has Mar Roxas, although word is out that by today, an anointed LP VP will be named. It does look like Leni Robredo will be it. If she is it, she is likely to grab the Bicol vote, which will leave Escudero and Trillanes trailing her in the votes from the Bicol region.
Binay’s choice seems to center on Bongbong Marcos although the senator appeared to still hope to be Duterte’s VP, having visited the Davao mayor just recently, for “advice.”
It is being reported that talks of a political partnership have been ongoing and among the topics are “terms and conditions” to be agreed upon.
This “terms and conditions” development in the political sphere is nothing new, as this was first displayed between Cory Aquino and Doy Laurel, with Cory promising to make Doy the prime minister, in charge of running the government, and for him to have several individuals named by him appointed in the Cabinet. The deal called for Cory to remain a symbolic president and after two years, she would call for elections and endorse Doy for the presidency.
As everyone knows, this never happened. True, she made Doy the prime minister, but only for half a day, as Cory quickly dissolved Congress and the Constitution, becoming the sole government and sole law.
Moral of the political story: Any VP aspirant and his presidential candidate who win the race, no matter what was agreed upon, will not play out as agreed upon. It will always be the winning presidential bet who will call the shots — except perhaps for Poe, whose VP bet, Escudero, will be running the show. Now that is really the weirdest political development.
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