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Jan 30

Tamed or torpedoed

Tonight on The Explainer on ANC: How ambassadors are made. We’ll be discussing the appointment of Hilario Davide to the UN.

Let’s not forget that in politics, a “party split” or a “division on principle” can be very useful indeed. When the Manila Times trumpets that the President has decided to endorse the “unity ticket” concept, and that her allies are “irate” and “demand a caucus,” what does it mean?

Step back and refer to the blog of RG Cruz, in which he details the erosion of Lakas-CMD as the raiding by Kampi gathers momentum:

with FVR almost consigned to the sidelines, and an awesome presidential campaign kitty, there is a perception, that people are now going to Kampi and not Lakas, because it is the favored party., i.e. its candidates will get plum sums.

In the last few weeks, many local politicians have been flocking to the party. cavite kicked it off. 100 more from eastern samar last thursday. of course JDV countered that many more have also been going to lakas, including the son of Kampi President Luis Villafuerte, Governor L-Ray Villafuerte.

Gabby Claudio of course quickly texted to say its all in the family, but really the developments do not sound like its all in the family.

So the question is, when someone warns of the perils of disunity, one has to ask why, for what reason? Is it fear that the bit player, Kampi, in the administration coalition, may be the dominant one soon? Reducing the former biggest player into tomorrow’s bit player?

I’d think it’s also about keeping the President’s options open. Her exit strategy (though personally I remain convinced it’s a non-exit strategy and the rhetoric of “first world status in 20 years!” is a trial balloon to see if the idea of extending her stay will fly) can be fostered by a couple of things:

1. Raiding the opposition, regardless of how Lakas feels, because in a pinch you want Eduardo Cojuangco dictating the votes of his NPC partymates in the senate and the house. The opposition will always vote against you.

2. but a national vote can be massaged; as long as you block any chance for people to get unhealthy ideas on “winnability”, then you can claim a political upturn in your votes.

3. There are “soft” and more “reliable” opposition members, and the politicals pros known it, as in a sense, the public knows it. There are the has beens, and the will have mores. The Palace, since it must confront the ultimate horror of a has been -relinquishing power- is comfortable with other has beens and couldn’t embrace the will have mores even if it wanted to.

The Senate race has Escudero filing his candidacy; the Liberals plugging their action plan; and scuttlebutt, courtesy of Alex Magno (see below) that Etta Rosales is up for inclusion in the UNO slate.

In other news, the national budget is passed. The Solicitor-General will fill lthe remaining vacancy in the Supreme Court. Soldiers unhappy with their future defense chief. The lynching of Cayetano may not take place (see what Billy Esposo has to say about the whole thing). Palparan might be in a wee bit of hot water.

Overseas, something I wish we’d see more of from our leaders: Nicolas Sarkozy, candidate for the presidency of the French, campaigns among French expats.

In the punditocracy, Alex Magno points out the bare essentials of the administration’s senate slate: the upper house, he says, “must be tamed or torpedoed.” We should be thankful he so bluntly states the game plan of the Palace:

Only the administration has the political machine and the electoral finances to get a senatorial slate to win. The way the senators are chosen (at large) in the present constitutional arrangement has made campaigning for a seat in this often irrelevant chamber too expensive for real statesmen to aspire for.

Ironically, the administration’s only interest in the senatorial elections is to prevent a rout (and all the unwarranted adverse perceptions that might cause). It does not require much more from this raucous but inconsequential chamber.

This administration has already delivered the point: either the Senate is tamed or it will be torpedoed.

Then, the Nation of Bangkok says the drafting of the new Thai constitution is going well.

In the blogosphere, David Kaiser reiterates why he thinks the United States is headed to a political and constitutional crisis. Basically, the neoconservatives have refused to accept the results of the midterm elections:

Because virtually no one else (except John McCain) now shares these views, we face a political and constitutional as well as a military and diplomatic crisis. The President and Vice President have set their judgment and that of a few ideologues against their own bureaucracy, a bipartisan majority of the Congress, and the American people, who registered their views in the election and continue to do so in polls. Because we have a conservative volunteer Army, the President – as he well knows and has actually remarked to friends – can get away with this without a national revolt. That cannot, however, make the policy a success.

Sounds familiar? The “they may not like it, but what will the public really do about it?” brinksmanship? But the weekend protest in Washington D.C. (see photos at A Hollywood Liberal) might be a sign of what Kaiser thinks is coming.

Mga Diskurso ni Doy thinks the “kiss of death” element of the administration isn’t being brought out enough. He thinks that Senate control is a major priority for the administration.

Big Mango bewails political dynasties. Much as I sympathize, the question remains: what makes us so unique? And the practice so uniquely reprehensible here? Every one of our neighbors is the same with the difference that they may have a little more to show for it, and a little more self-control; but for every country with fairly restrained dynasties you have other countries which make our dynasties look like saints in comparison. Dynasty-building -and people voting for dynasties- isn’t even an Asian thing; it’s a universal thing. The real question is, which countries practice freedom enough to keep dynasties competitive and answerable to the electorate. By that standard we do pretty well.

Iloilo City Boy says he thinks Iloilo governor Tupaz should have relinquished the provincial capitol. I’m not so sure. In ordinary circumstances, he should have; but the Department of the Interior was poised to evict him even before the deadline for court intervention had passed; and besides which, the Palace had already established it’s clearly out to purge local governments of the politically-unfriendly.

And Another Hundred Years Hence debates Paolo Alcazaren on what should be the priorities and impact of Filipino architects. Captain Aqua gets irked by the entourage of a VIP. Public Static on translation and the problems that arise from it.

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22 comments

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  1. john marzan

    etta rosales? she’s okay, but i’d rather have risa hontiveros pls.

  2. manuelbuencamino

    legislate against political dynasties? why take away the voters’ right to keep making stupid choices?

    Legislate term limits? why take away the voters’ right to keep making stupid choices?

    I think elections are the best mechanism against dynasties and perpetual incumbencies. They are also the best mechanism for it.

    Question therefore is, “is the problem with the mechanism or with the voters?”

    I think that in a democracy everybody has a right to stand for election and everybody has a right to vote for whomever they like. And nobody has any right to take away those rights.

  3. The Ca t

    Every one of our neighbors is the same with the difference that they may have a little more to show for it, and a little more self-control; but for every country with fairly restrained dynasties you have other countries which make our dynasties look like saints in comparison.

    Which neighboring countries?

  4. manuelbuencamino

    Some neighboring countries –

    In Singapore. the current PM is son of Senior minister and former PM Lee Kuan Yew.

    In Malaysia, the deputy PM Najib Avdul Razak is the son of former PM Abdul Razak. The Minister for education is the son of former PM Hussein Onn.

    In Indonesia, the daughter of Sukarno became president.

  5. justice league

    MB,

    As you already showed; most of your examples are exemplified by “former”.

    I remember the case of Oscar Orbos. I think a brother of his wanted to run for office when he planned to run again for a different post.

    He bluntly said that if his brorther will run; he won’t.

    So he didn’t.

  6. jemy

    i agree that no legislation should be made limiting the right of the people to make “stupid choices”.

    note, however, the countries mentioned above: singapore, malaysia, indonesia. countries with development far better than ours. their dynasties seem to be good for them, ours don’t. it is thus indeed a “stupid choice” to keep having these people in power again and again.

    take away the people’s right to choose? no. but to improve the use of that right, seems to me, a pretty good advocacy.

  7. jemy

    i agree that no legislation should be made limiting the right of the people to make “stupid choices”.

    note, however, the countries mentioned above: singapore, malaysia, indonesia. countries with development far better than ours. their dynasties seem to be good for them, ours don’t. it is thus indeed a “stupid choice” to keep having these people in power again and again.

    take away the people’s right to choose? no. but to improve the people’s use of that right (i.e., continued and patient education, etc.), seems to me, a pretty good advocacy.

  8. The Ca t

    Singapore is a republic with a Westminster system of a unicameral parliamentary government.

    The three countries that you cited have “hybrid” system with democratic and authoritarian elements.

  9. Mike

    I am not at all surprised that Kampi is vigorously raiding the ranks of Lakas. After she left JDV twisting in the wind at the end of the Con-Ass misadventure, GMA must realize that if JDV once again controls the House after May, chances are pretty good that the next time Oliver Lozano or whoever files an impeachment complaint, there will suddenly be enough votes to send it to the Senate. JDV is now a liability and indeed a very real threat to her hold on power.

    If I were JDV, I’d pull out all the stops for this election. Even if Con-Ass were good as dead, I’d make sure that the last political act I ever did was to make GMA pay. Instead of accepting my dwindling power situation, I’d call in every favor, blow every last cent, and twist every arm I could to make Lakas control the House even for just one last time.

    Break away now, Joe. It’s your last chance not just to get even but also to redeem yourself.

    Now wouldn’t THAT be exciting news: Lakas joining the Opposition!

  10. by-stander

    whatever you call it, having families simultaneously occupying seats in the upper chamber is morally wrong and a violation of the spirit of the constitution. kit tatad is right. i cant believe that the opposition who were so vocal about depending the constitution will be guilty of violating its provision regardless of whether there is a law or not. i wonder what the opinion of other members of one voice on this issue.

  11. mlq3

    my understanding is that one voice will not endorse any party or candidates, and that its efforts will be to continue lobbying for a credible comelec, and for supporting efforts to keep the polls fair and credible.

  12. jm

    mlq3,

    What’s One Voice doing about its call to make the 2007 elections a referendum on GMA’s performance?

  13. jm

    Is the tandem Raul and Norberto Gonzales a political dynasty? or worse, whatever whatchamacallit it’s worse than a political dynasty.

  14. jm

    Is the tandem Raul and Norberto Gonzales a political dynasty? or worse, whatever whatchamacallit it’s worse than a political dynasty.

  15. The Ca t

    Raul M. GonzaleZ with a Z

    Norberto B. GonzaleS with an S

    Not related.

  16. rego

    I think Poland President has his twin brother as Prime Minister or is it the other way around?

  17. baycas

    two govs for senator:
    chavit is one (either admin or indie, he said), imelda dimaporo of lanao del norte the other…

    the latter is definitely part of dynastic politics…

  18. Musings

    Kudos to Cong. Ruffy Biazon for politely declining the offer for him to run for Senator under LP. He said he does not want to add to the issue of turning the Senate into a ‘family affair’. I hope Koko Pimentel, Alan Peter Cayetano, and JV Ejercito get to their senses especially with CBCP’s announcement that it will campaign againts political dynasties. I have always admired Sen. Nene Pimentel. But Koko’s candidacy might change all that.

  19. james

    the one and only objective of one voice is to maintain status quo

    maintain the powers that be in business sector

    maintain the system that has worked only for few

  20. james

    why should local officials barricade governemnt offices whenever there are orders from higher authority against them?
    the prudent reaction for Tupaz is to have followed the order as a law abiding local officer and rightly file his own appeal in proper court.

    the sad thing is media lost sight of the fact that this is graft and corruption charges filed against him by a private graftwatch in Iloilo.

    i thought we abhor graft and corruption? !

  21. rego

    James,

    LOL! Its actually a selective abhorence. Only GMAs corruption is abhored. Eh yung Erap corruption nga suddenly became a non issue eh….

  22. justice league

    James,

    The proposed Charter was an “all or none” proposal. Jose De Venecia himself implied it when he stated how many questions will be asked in the supposed plebiscite.

    The change in the business sector will not be attained without agreeing to the political changes that they wanted.

    There is a peculiar event in India right now encapsulated in an article titled “Shooter willing, not star-hit BJP” by POORNIMA JOSHI.

    Aside from the fact that India actually has 2 houses in their parliament; their parties’ actions actually gives a good indication of what is going to happen in the proposed unicameral parliamentary government.

    The very party that supported a change in the Constitution to increase the requirements for National Legislative participation is the same one now eager to parade personalities that are doubtful to be able to comply with the same proposed requirements.

    Aside from other candidates; it might be worthwhile to remember that before Manny Pacquiao decided to seek the mayorship of Gen San; he was being egged to run possibly for Congress in the administration ticket.

    India has had a parliamentary government for half a century already but the events with their parties still weighing their options on celebrities; they are still star struck.

    There is no assurance that the proposed political changes would not lead to a similar dilemma wherein political parties would enlist celebrities with winnability but nary the ability. Though they did propose college graduates for parliament, they have yet to define what a “college graduate” is.

    If the Charter Change proponents truly valued their proposed economic changes, they wouldn’t have lumped it’s acceptance together with political changes that are of suspected nature.

    What then is the objective of charter change proponents for lumping their acceptance together?

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