The armed forces crows over the liquidation of Jainal Antel Sali, also known as Abu Sulaiman (a “bomb ace” for Abu Sayyaf).. There will be caution over reprisals, of course. Anyway, public seems pleased as punch as does Uncle Sam. Rhetorical overkill follows, as usual.
The supposed Ebdane bandwagon is valiantly creaking along according to the Manila Standard-Today. But Newsbreak says the bandwagon’s gone bust: “National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and Defense Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor lead the new contenders for the post.”
The biofuels law is signed; happy days for sugar country.
The Speaker of the House says after elections, constitutional change will top their agenda. It remains to be seen if the Speaker will survive to reclaim his leadership: Newsbreak reports on the close and tough races in the House. A sampling from their list:
loilo City Sen. Franklin Drilon vs. Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr.
Pangasinan (4th district) Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. vs. Dagupan City Mayor Benjamin Lim.
Bukidnon (3rd district) Virgilio Garcillano vs. Socorro Acosta.
Isabela (2nd district) Gov. Grace Padaca vs. either Benjamin Dy or Faustino Dy Jr.
Manila (3rd district) Rep. Miles Roces vs former Rep. Harry Angping
Antique (lone district) Rep. Exequiel Javier vs ret. Gen. Robert Delfin
Nueva Ecija (4th district) Rep. Rodolfo Antonino vs former Rep. Raul Villareal
Today we have five views on the opposition’s senate slate. Billy Esposo says Arroyo and Erap show our political bankruptcy, which of course is true, but where will such a conclusion lead? Esposo has been passionately arguing that a “third force” is needed:
Many of the politicians I saw in the last press conference held by the United Opposition have already been rejected by voters. Remnants of the Marcos and the Estrada regimes, they are now trying to re-invent themselves under the new political climate that had evolved from the series of crises that have hounded the current regime of Madame Arroyo. Two of these are a dancing queen and a big promoter of showbiztocracy during the 2004 presidential election.
Had the Arroyo regime not generated so much stink, none of them would have entertained ideas of running again. They are waging bets that our outrage over the Arroyo regime can actually obliterate our memory of their past sins.
What makes them think we will want to welcome them back just because we can no longer stomach the one who now rules? What makes the United Opposition think that they are the only alternative? No rational person will want to vomit poison from inside his system only to replace it with another toxic substance.
But if Billy is going to use that analogy, that’s precisely what chemotherapy is about: you get rid of a cancer by literally poisoning the body and hoping the cancer dies first.
In his column, John Nery in We’ve been framed! seems sympathetic to Esposo’s view, as the current opposition slate threatens to sidestep what should be a referendum on the President’s legitimacy:
[W]e would be wrong to dismiss outright Defensor’s transparent attempt at redefining the political agenda, for the simple reason that it is an effective one.
It is, in fact, the right one, in the strategic sense. The President and her allies have everything to lose if the May elections were reduced to a virtual referendum on the Hello, Garci scandal. It is in their deepest interest to “change the subject:” to Charter change; to the Daniel Smith custody issue or (if the stars are correctly aligned) to a review of the Visiting Forces Agreement itself; to the proposed minimum wage increase. Or indeed, and as Defensor has telegraphed, to Edsa People Power II revisited: the struggle for power between Estrada, who left office in disgrace, and Arroyo, who will mark her sixth year in office this week.
My column, We saw the alternative, tries to point out that hammering away at the opposition only gives the administration slate a free (and undeserved) pass. The opposition is in the (unfair) position of an infantryman who charged a nest of machine guns, only to be given a pat on the back then told to fuck off. (My column also makes reference to a quote from the late Senator Gaudencio Antonino, in an article I hope you’ll read. Its description of the 1967 elections sounds like the 2007 polls.)
The Palace party line of course, is promoted by Emil Jurado who says the Palace slate is -or will be- characterized by A bias for fresh faces:
The administration apparently has a bias for young and idealistic senatorial candidates. It has good reasons.
First, there is a perception that the older politicians get, the more corrupt they become, seeking only self-aggrandizement without any notion for the common good. While there are exceptions, most people have stopped hoping that older politicians would ever reform.
The demographic profile of the 45 million or more Filipino voters this year shows that the 18 to 45 age group outnumber the elders (those 50 and above) 7 to 3. Most voters are young, hence the clamor for fresh faces.
Jurado conveniently forgets what Arsenio Lacson famously said of the young Ernesto Maceda: “So young and so…”
The United Opposition, at least, has one saving grace: it has experienced rejection by the people, and any politician who has faced rejection in the past is less likely to repeat his mistakes than one who thinks his every act of omission and commission has been vindicated at the polls. Who, then, will be more dangerous in the future, a resurrected dinosaur like John Osmeña, or a younger candidate like Miguel Zubiri who, if he wins, would learn that the crocodile tears he shed when the public nearly revolted over Con-Ass, were worth it? Which is not to say I’ve completely made up my mind: but I will confess to a bias against Zubiri at this point, and find myself more forgiving of say, John O.
The United Opposition at least, didn’t attempt to insult the voters by insisting, for example, on reviving the political fortunes of say, an Ernesto Maceda. And for all the “Oh My God They’re Running Vicente Sotto III!” screams we’re already hearing from the President’s core constituency, I’d like to know what gives them the right to complain when not only have Senators Lapid and Revilla been administration favorites, but that the Palace has gone off courting Richard Gomez, who didn’t get an opposition senate slot. Someone told me they saw Gomez grinning broadly on the news after his meeting with a Palace political operative.
In his column, Force or farce? political strategist Lito Banayo takes a strong exception to the creation of a “third force,” calling it a “third farce:”
At the end of the day, we will have the following “newly elected or newly re-elected senators”: Five re-electionists who are politically “workable”, two from the NP, one LP, one LDP and one independent. Two balik-Senado. Plus five from the kakampi menagerie.
They would hijack the elections, even before the campaign begins. Brilliant. Machiavellian. As deft as a Sun-Tzu battle maneuver. And the “united” opposition is out-maneuvered once again, all because they have a “surfeit” of applicants while there is what looks at first glance as a plague in the other house. Except that what you see is not what you get. Legerdemain, magic, mirrors, smokescreens, the “prestige”.
Which only goes to show the opposition is nervous about such a third force. But it remains to be seen who would comprise such a force -it could, indeed, be powerful, but why use it to attack the opposition, when it distracts attention from the real target, which should be the Palace?
blog@AWBHoldings.com ponders these political difficulties. A Nagueño in the Blogosphere, does, too, and read as well, John Marzan’s reply to his post (I share his views on Allan Peter Cayetano and Chiz Escudero).