Equity of the incumbent

Every President, bar none, has found that playing referee and arbiter of fights is one of the most crucial of presidential prerogatives. President Arroyo is no slacker in this regard, and her ability to play referee is actually greater today than it was, say, either in 2001 or 2004. The engulf and devour strategy of her pet party, Kampi, now enables her to drive hard bargains with coalition partners such as the Atienza wing of the Liberal Party, the NPC of Danding Cojuangco, and the Lakas-CMD of Speaker de Venecia.

It interesting to note that in less than a year, Lakas Kampi has become the second-biggest bloc in the House, overtaking the NPC. The “equity of the incumbent” is a term dating back to prewar days, which simply means that in any race, the incumbent should be given preference in getting officially anointed (and funded). An administration -any administration- finds its election-related problem to be simply, too many candidates, too few positions, too many people might get mad if you play favorites without knowing who will surely win.

See Jove Francisco for the courtship rituals involved in coalition buildling, and how a happy Angara was matched by a droopy de Venecia. It was Lakas, apparently, that called for a caucus because administration poaching of its membership is getting out of hand. If in the past the President was at de Venecia’s mercy, now it’s the reverse.

To help prune the shrubbery of candidates, presidents can offer cabinet appointments and other appointed jobs. But the important thing is, that the president ends up the arbiter.

The Senate race, with a week to go before the filing deadline arrives and the race truly begins, becomes even more frenzied in terms of jockeying horse trading. Last week, a PR person of Antonio Trillanes contacted me, asking if I’d be willing to meet him. I said, sure. I might, this week, but obviously it was in preparation for his senate candidacy. It will be interesting to find out why he’s running though. An officer I talked to recently (who didn’t side with the rebels) said applications to the Philippine Military Academy increased dramatically after the Oakwood Mutiny.

The Palace has planted wet kisses on Edgardo Angara, Ralph Recto, and Joker Arroyo (scuttlebutt among political operators is, Joker has a problem with sharing the same surname as the president, which makes having access to campaign resources essential); Gringo Honasan gets a smooch, too and welcomes it. (photo from ABS-CBNNews). Angara says the idea of a “Third Force” is dead -was it ever alive, or was it ever more than a gambit against the opposition?

Tha administration slate, as the most recent reports have it:

1. Mike Defensor
2. Miguel Zubiri
3. Gilbert Teodoro
4. Tessie Aquino Oreta
5. Vicente Sotto III
6. Richard Gomez
7. Edu Manzano
8. Edgardo Angara
9. Joker Arroyo
10. Ralph Recto
11. Gringo Honasan
12. (up for grabs: I’d say, Kit Tatad is angling for this one; Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. said no thanks; Palace says it wants Loren Legarda)

This means the latest iteration in the opposition lineup is as follows:

1. Loren Legarda
2. Ping Lacson
3. John Osmeña
4. Chiz Escudero
5. Koko Pimentel
6. JV Ejercito
7. Benigno Aquino III
8. Allan Peter Cayetano
9. Manny Villar
10. Kiko Pangilinan
11. Sonia Roco
12. (up for grabs, scuttlebutt is either Etta Rosales or Adel Tamano)

House races begin to receive attention from groups such as The Black & White Movement (to which I belong), and others who have begun to distribute lists of candidates recommended on the basis of their impeachment and constitutional amendments positions.

Senator Pimentel warns Garci’s pals are in place. The Bureau of Customs said to be raising a million dollars a month for the President’s campaign kitty.

In other news: new mollusk species discovered in the Philippines;

In the punditocracy, the latest Palace talking points (“No, this is not a referendum on the President,” and “No, this is not a two-ticket race,” etc.) courtesy of Alex Magno.

Bong Austero wants to puke. But why not just vow to vote against certain people?

Mahendra Ved is shocked that modern-day Indians admire Bill Gates more than they admire Mahatma Gandhi.

In the blogosphere, Philippine Commentary nixes the boycott scheme.

Torn and Frayed quotes from an Indonesian novelist’s imagining what it was like to hear of the Philippine Revolution.

History Unfolding discusses the idea of prophet generations:

According to Strauss and Howe, Prophet generations are those born in the wake of the great political crises that create new orders. In American history, they identified the Transcendental generation (born 1792-1821), the Missionary Generation (which I would date from about 1863 to 1884), and the Boom generation (1943-60). In each case, the Prophet generation provided the leaders in the next crisis. Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, as well as Lee and Stanton and Seward and Gideon Welles and Thad Stevens and Alexander Stephens, were Transcendentals; FDR, Hoover, George Marshall, MacArthur, Harold Ickes, and Cordell Hull were Missionaries. Less distinguished members of these generations include James K. Polk and Franklin Pierce, and Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. The major role of Prophets, however, is not political, but intellectual and moral.

A blog by a Filipino, but in Spanish: Alas Filipinas.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

13 thoughts on “Equity of the incumbent

  1. It’s so interesting how these things play out. In front of the public eye, you see Darwin’s theory proven right.. political survival will even split blood relatives (Aquinos)… It’s interesting indeed.

  2. Now that Bong Austero has realized that niloloko lang siya (and the whole country) ng GMA Administration, I wonder if he is still willing to surrender his rights to Gloria for the sake of “moving on”.

  3. mlq3,

    How about,

    UNO #12 Navy Lt Antonio Trillanes IV

    “FROM MUTINEER TO SENATORIAL BET. Alleged mutiny leader Navy Lieutenant Antonio Trillanes IV is mobbed by an employee of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) after filing his candidacy for senator at its Manila office.” INQUIRER.net/

  4. Whew! while the oppos is fielding kamaganaks in its senate slate, the admin is fielding stars and celebrities as candidates. It seems that both are bent on disgracing the senate as an institution preparatory to its ultimate demise in 2007 concon. Now thats what I call unity of purpose.

  5. Bong Austero’s article is a typical exercise in middle class snobbery. Watch it turn from contempt of the candidates themselves to contempt for the voting public at large.

  6. CVJ,

    That was profoundly funny. Like a bullet, it’s not big in size but a sure killer. hahaha. You might want to get a hold of an old book titled “History of the Burgis” published some 20 years ago.

  7. Bogchimash, thanks for tip! I checked the Singapore National Library catalogue, and it looks like they have a copy.

  8. To Joe de V:

    This is your last chance, Joe. If you break away now, you can make her pay for what she did to you and become a hero in the process. Otherwise, you will be forgotten as just another pathetic victim of GMA.

  9. the most recent survey of pulse asia shows koko pimentel as one of those who are most likely to win in may. i only know him as sen. aquilino pimentel’s son and once upon a time bar topnotcher, pero sikat ba s’ya? if popularity is the most important factor (majority of the philippine electorate, after all, is the masa) to succeed in the election, ‘wag n’yong sabihin na mas sikat pa siya kay richard gomez?!? bakit parang kinukondisyon ang isipan ng mga tao na winnable si koko? alam n’yo naman sa atin, karamihan ng mga botante porke’t sinabi ng ilan na ito ang mga mukhang mananalo, yun na ang kanilang iboboto. something is wrong here. i am not in the philippines kaya posibleng di ko siya nababalitaan, however, i read inq7 and philstar regularly. i asked a couple of cousins back home if they know of him, pero parehas lang kami ng pagkakakilanlan kay pimentel.

    and just so y’all know, parehas ko silang (koko at goma) hindi iboboto.

  10. Si Goma i don’t like him at the senate. mas gusto ko sya sa “Lagot Ka, Isusumbong Kita”!Don iboboto ko sya! ha ha ha!

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