The discussion on the so-called “third force” is getting more intricate by the day. Alex Magno loves it:
The fact that it is being called a “Third Force” strikes me as an admission of weakness. It concedes to the ragtag band of residual pro-Estrada politicians the position of being the primary challenger to the awesome political force being assembled by the ruling coalition.
…Pro-administration tacticians scored early by defining the forthcoming contest as yet another round in the never-ending political melodrama between former president Joseph Estrada and the incumbent Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The latter has won every previous round: the 2001 turnover, the Supreme Court cases establishing the constitutionality of what had happened, the so-called Edsa Tres incident, the electoral contest with Estrada proxy Fernando Poe Jr., the two preceding senatorial contests and the two impeachment efforts.
Jurassic Emil Jurado (who, this late in life, doesn’t seem to know the difference between a bisexual and a homosexual but hates them both obviously anyway) loves it, too, and says why not join the dark side?
A third force lacks grassroots machinery and funding, something that is enjoyed only by the administration. The opposition does not like it either, because it splits the votes. People find them neither here nor there.
I’m not sure if proponents of the third force can take unsolicited advice from somebody who has covered elections since 1953. But I say they should be pragmatic enough to understand that in elections, you are either for or against – no straddling the fence, and no riding on two bancas at the same time. Only the badings do it.
Lito Banayo is furious and minces no words:
They have been cajoled by Malacañang’s spinmasters (and these are diabolically good, accept that reality) into framing these mid-term elections as a proxy war between the spunky but charismatically-dimunitive Gloria, and the imprisoned, though beloved by the lumpen Joseph Estrada… They have fallen for the palace trap simply because they could not transcend their dislike of Erap and simply because they are unwilling to accept the “displeasure” of his political company, because to do so would imply that they were wrong in Edsa Dos. And even now when lines have to be drawn, not in terms of Gloria versus Erap, but in terms of the People of the Philippines versus Gloria Macapagal Arroyo… they would deny the people a clear choice…
May I remind these wet dreamers that Erap is not running. Gloria is not running. People are asked to select twelve names to vote for senator. And even if all twelve opposition candidates sit in the Senate, Erap will not be freed by these senators. Besides, they need not vote for all twelve, if they do not like some of them. You don’t like JV Ejercito? Then don’t vote for him; no one is forcing you. Let Erap’s masa carry him on their shoulders. Yours are too flabby and too lampa anyway. So what is all this parallel organization for?
…The political wet dreamers must realize that all Malacañang needs is a credible reason to cheat the opposition of victory in a clearly opposition year. And by carving up a Third Force, they are actually giving GMA and her Comelec operators the “legal” justification to manufacture the results they want… Who knows, they may even get Prospero Pichay to win! And if Pichay can be made to win, why not Chavit?
Thank God he’s back to blogging on the political scene: to help sort things out: Jove Francisco reports,
You see, reliable sources from the very groups that are meeting to explore the third force option, are now saying that their efforts have turned into something “close to the original aim – but different, too”.
That the meetings are now in the “make or break” status and that as of this stage the ticket being formed is turning out to be a “unity ticket”.
…So now the aim is to place personalities in one slate despite their different political affiliations. Partially gone is the original aim to combine senatoriables who can’t stand Gloria, and can’t stand Erap…
…But names are already floating around.
,,,Study the names and determine: will it be a slate “good for the admin” or a slate “good for the oppo”? Using your political quotient (like party affiliations, past relationships, past issues etc), do we share the same conclusions? Who will eventually benefit from this slate?
Jove’s naughty question, which side is favored by such a force, is answered by Inquirer cobbling together pundit’s views: and the consensus remains a “third force” benefits the Palace most.
The Inquirer also points out what Jove reports: a “third force” more a veteran’s association than anything else; as another paper puts it, it’s a common ticket for re-electionists.The list Senator Ralph Recto’s put forward is a mixed bag (hat tip to The Lonely Vampire Chronicles): but as Philippine Politics 04 points out, Joker Arroyo and Luisa Ejercito are out of the race; that means a force of eight is now a force of six, if the force is only a force of veterans; if something else, then it’s almost indistinguishable from what the opposition has been discussing, anyway.
While Billy Esposo seems to suggest the “third force” is, really, a Nacionalista Party-Liberal Party Alliance, in other words, an old-fashioned coalition, doesn’t even seem to be holding. What does the emphasis on the veteran nature of the force, or even the evolution of its reason for being, say about what was originally touted as its reason for being -to provide an alternative? Randy David says running for elected office isn’t for him; there goes one iron-clad reason to consider a third force as an alternative.
And what does Edgardo Angara’s continuing woes among former colleagues indicate? Oreta and Sotto have abandoned Angara and embraced Eduardo Cojuangco’s NPC, a party firmly in the administration camp despite the renegade status of members like Chiz Escudero.
Like I’ve said: the timing is all wrong. And timing can be everything in politics. Skepticism, not anticipation, is being built; make a list, announce it, then let the people judge. But so far all that’s been accomplished is to take the wind out of the sails of the opposition, give a second wind to the three-man-strong administration senate slate (only Zubiri, Defensor and Manzano have really confirmed), and raised justifiable questions about the political wisdom and political sense of those who want to identify themselves as “none of the above.” And what’s the difference? John Marzan (see link to his blog above) puts the opposition slate as follows:
And the “third force” as follows:
*Are in both lists, as was Loi Ejercito (who isn’t running, as Joker Arroyo isn’t running, either, and he would have been the seventh on the “third force” list). So even combining the two, you have:
which still leaves three slots open! For the administration’s Defensor, Zubiri, and Manzano, who I believe might have a plausible chance of winning.
In the punditocracy, the Business Mirror editorial focuses on Cory Aquino’s advocacy of microfinance.
Writing in the Mindanao Current, Ed Montalvan points out the politically pragmatic reasons why the administration is interested in suspending the governor of Iloilo. As Iloilo@UpClose wonders, does the Palace think Ilonggos are stupid? Or perhaps only Bel Cunanan does? Last night I was with a friend who is pro-Arroyo, whose family is pro-Arroyo, but who are Ilonggos, and they were dismayed by the handling of the suspension of their governor.
Basang Panaginip has a manifesto on atheism.