The Long View: A wedge of Chiz

The Long View
A wedge of Chiz
By Manuel L. Quezon III

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:49:00 11/04/2009

IN JAKARTA OVER THE WEEKEND, I discovered that a famous political saying from the Philippines enjoys wide currency particularly within the circle of President Sudhuyono: “My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins.” The phrase dates back to 1922 when public opinion became a factor in elections and it summarizes the recent decision of Francis Escudero to renounce his party affiliation and to adopt – in fact, reintroduce – a proposal first made in 1940, that of Partyless Democracy (which is still being seriously discussed in India to this day) and which rejects parties as guardians of patronage, the spoils system and partisanship in politics.

The Nationalist People’s Coalition, the second-largest party in the country, has carved out a role for itself as a useful ally in forming coalitions. What, exactly, that useful role serves, beyond its share of spoils by always having a seat at the table, has been widely perceived by the public as being a simple one, as far as objectives go: to maintain, protect, and if possible, expand, the economic power of the party’s principal. For power doesn’t flow merely from the barrel of a gun, but also from the depths of a deep purse.

The legitimate ambition of Escudero – that he can be the youngest president the country’s ever had since the presidency has been the actual gift of the electorate – naturally had to collide with a party oriented towards such limited goals. His frustration over the condescension of his party elders reflects similar sentiments among an overwhelmingly young population over the short-sightedness of their elders. He had to leave, not only to fulfill his destiny but in order to continue representing the aspirations of his followers.

His alienation is the alienation of his constituents, his defying convention a reflection of his follower’s impatience with hierarchy, pragmatism, consensus and cooperation. But it leaves leader and followers alike without prospects of what the very things they are rebelling against, make possible: the transformation of opinion into action. The National Democratic Front and its affiliates know how to translate resentment into action.

The NDF was caught off-guard and left befuddled by the entry of Aquino into the presidential derby as Villar’s camp – with whom the NDF had decided to ally, out of pragmatic consideration – was, and for the same reasons: it upset the political calculations that had driven the political campaigns of all sides up to that point. Pursuing their generations-old vendetta against the Aquinos, the Left faced a backlash when its immediate reaction to Cory Aquino’s death was sustained criticism; it nimbly did an about-face and embraced her so as not to be exposed as having such a deviant opinion from the public as a whole. But the Great Remembering followed by the Great Awakening when Cory died gave rise to the candidacy of Aquino.

Before Benigno Aquino III threw his hat into the ring, the then-frontrunner, Manuel Villar Jr., by all accounts had oriented his campaign towards considering Escudero as his number one opponent, the real threat to his presidential prospects. Aquino’s entry into the fray – at the precise point when Villar had achieved what all the experts assured him was a major turning point in the campaign, achieving the crucial 25 percent survey rankings that made him the man to beat – essentially wiped out Villar’s gains, since Aquino’s ratings raised the bar and rendered the conventional wisdom obsolete.

Manuel Roxas II accurately read the signs of the times and sacrificed his 2010 ambitions. But Aquino also made Escudero seem callow by comparison, so it seemed, for a time, as Roxas took his time to accept Aquino’s offer for Roxas to be his running mate, a window of opportunity had opened for Escudero to make a similar renunciation of ambition and become Aquino’s running mate, instead. But Roxas accepted Aquino’s offer (the sensible and honorable thing for both candidates to do) which left Escudero out in the cold, and facing a lukewarm reception from the leadership of his party, besides.

Escudero and the NDF proved to be mutual saviors of each other’s sagging prospects of remaining relevant in 2010. It was bad enough for the purists in the field to have to accept their Eternal Chairman’s decision to back Villar; just as bad were proposals to open discussions with Aquino for this would confront the NDF with another dilemma: having to support an Aquino when it had demanded the blood of martyrs to stain their claim to representing the democratic aspirations of the people.

Escudero’s role is to be a wedge. His political gifts are the sharp point that the NDF parties flocking to his banner perceive to be the sharp point of their mission to chop the existing democratic order to smithereens. Of course, there is an irony in iron-disciplined NDF party lists proclaiming the virtues of a man who has disowned party affiliation. Put another way, they would make short shrift of someone trying to leave their ranks in order to fulfill an individual sense of political integrity.

But he’s from the outside. Chances are, somewhere down the road, in fulfillment of the sense of historical inevitability that drives their faith, the excommunication of Escudero will come. But not now, not when he can be so useful.

The importance of Escudero doesn’t lie in his becoming the next president of the Philippines, but rather, how he will influence the prospects of the current frontrunners. His newfound allies calculate he is their secret weapon in pursuing their vendetta against the son of the Aquinos who conclusively proved the public prefers reform and non-violence to blood and revolution, and he will do so by trying to out-Aquino the real deal. So he has decided to ride the purring tiger.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

59 thoughts on “The Long View: A wedge of Chiz

  1. What’s with NDF and Chiz? Nothing. The left is rolling down the hill while Chiz’s ascending. Anyway, their numbers don’t count.

  2. @carlo: oh so i assume you’re really an oberver eh..paumanhin kung retort ang pagtingin mo sa sagot ko, but actually pagtatantya ito on where you’re coming from..nakakayamot kasi mabasa ang mga sweeping comments/observations dito without prior basis other than circumstantial and tailored stories.sinabi kung mag.aral kasi dapat di lang tayo dapat magrely sa preconceived views or yaong ‘as wee see it views’, may kasamang historical dapat na pagsusuri dapat jan. ang siste kasi, halimbawa si manolo,bagamat pinapalabas niya na objective ang mga observations niya,hindi niya maitatanggi sa linya ng kanyang pananalita na kontra-Kaliwa siya. Opurtunismo? malaon nang ginagawa ng Akbayan yan,where there are opportunities,sige. Kaya di mo pwedeng sabihin na naunahan lang ng Akbayan dahil wala naman silang bitbit na mga radikal na cause tulad ng Gnuine Agrarian Reform Bill, P125 wage increase at pagbasura sa Oil Deregulation Law.

    Sa pagkakaintindi ko, malinaw ang bitbit na agenda ng Kaliwa sang-ayon sa pangkalahatang layunin ng natdem rev, sino man ang gustong tumangan dito eh di susuporthan, otherwise di hindi. Pero, bilang stratehiya, ito ay plain strategic alliance and political work. No strings attached. Bagay na malaon nang nililihis nina Manolo. et. al at binabrand pa na transactional at mapagkumpromiso. If oportunism then is means to an end, eh bakit naging walo ang PLs na kaliwa sa Kongreso o di kaya’y nagself-destruct na sana ang kaliwa noon pa.

    Gayunman, mahusay pa rin na may ganitong venue kung saan malaya ang diskurso para sabay-sabay tayong matuto.

    One thing, bakit nga ba pinupuna o pinapansin ang Left kung di naman pala significant ang pwersa nito sangayon sa ibang komento dito???

  3. opinion blog ito at opinion writer ako. matagal ko nang nilinaw sa blog na ito atbp lugar na skeptikal ako sa “objectivity.”

  4. oo opinion blog ito, at sa opinion page mo ipinublish ang sulatin mong ito sa espasyo mo sa philippine daily inquirer, pero maliban sa pagbibigay opinion manolo, nag papakilala kang THE EXPLAINER, nag popustura kang liberal na political analyst, kaya you bear the burden of accountability. di mo pa rin sinasagot yung mga tanong ko sayo. asan yung pruweba na nag sulat ng “sustained criticism” ang national democratic movement RIGHT AFTER CORY’s DEATH? Asan yung mga statements sa sinabi mong “nimble turned around” right after the left felt the outpouring of support for aquino. asan na yung mga pruweba?

    or else you’re not a good explainer after all…

  5. manolo, sa mga repleis mo saakin wala kang klaradong sagot, i review mo kahit yung pinakamahaba mong sagot saakin noong November 12, wala kang sagot-nag hanap ka lang ng kakampi sa mga kontra ND.Kahit yung mga nilink mong sites KAHIT isa walang sinabi tungkol sa alegasyon mong sustained cricism at nimble turned around, nagkakaisa silang tumira sa nat dem tungkol sa isang bagay-anti-cory daw ang nat dem NOONG buhay pa sya at bumaligtad nooong patay na(yun ay alegasyon nila na sinasaysay ko dito para maliwanag without accepting it as true). But i never substantiated your OWN allegation about the nat dems that it launched a sustaned criticism campaign right after cory’s death and latter did a turned around. sinungaling ka manolo pag di mo pinatunayan yan.

    Hindi ko matatanggap na sagot iyon-maspa malinaw na sagot sa mga binabato kong katanungan. kung hindi mo mapapatunayan ang mga alegasyon mo. dapat handa kang humingi ng tawad at mag rectify(i love that word, RECTIFY)

  6. bikolano, binigay ko sayo ang batayan ko, pero ang batayan ko ay di mo matanggap. opinyon mo yan. siyempre ang gusto mong batayan ay mga bagay na iiwasan naman ng mga grupo o kaya kalkuladong makakasuporta sa inyong argumento (e.g. kung may batikos mula sa mga indibidwal, indibidwal na opinyon lang yun at hindi panindigan ng grupo, kasi naman hindi naksulat sa opisyal na pahayag, etc.). pero sa akin mula sa mendiola hanggang sa pagpapadala ng kabaong itim sa times st, at tuloy-tuloy hanggang namamatay at namatay na siya, hindi pinapabayaan ng mga grupo at indibiduwal ang pagbigay ng kanilang pananaw na may sabit si cory sa mga patayang naganap; ngunit nagpaabot ng opisyal na linya mula sa Utrecht na makikiluksa ang mga grupo sa sambayanan at ayun nga ang naganap, hanggang bumalik sa dating linya nung malinaw na tatakbo si noynoy (at nagsimula ito bandang agosto 21). malaya kang bumuo ng pananaw mo, ayon sa gusto mong pagpapatunay, na sinungaling ako; at malaya din ako na panindigan ang aking pananaw at obserbasyon na nagkaroon ng pagbabago sa opisyal na linya nung namatay si cory dahil hindi na nga maitutuloy ang pagbabatikos kay cory dahil magpapatunay lang iyan na malayo ang pananaw ng mga grupo sa pananaw at damdamin ng nakararami.

  7. sa “pagbibigay mo sa akin ng laya” inaabswelto mo ang sarili mo sa pinaka kumbyenteng paraan na posible saiyo. nabasa ko yung sulatin mo ngayon habang ipinagtatanggol mo si noynoy sa mga “akusasyon” sinto sinto ito. humihingi ka ng Consistency at pagkakalaro sa mga sinasabi mong di consistent na akusasyon-iyon din ang hinihingi ko sayo. ang ebidesya ay magluluwala lamang ng katotohanan, wala itong kinikilalang kalkuladong pagaanggulo para makasuporta sa sinasabi mong argumento ko.

    Hindi santa si cory aquino, talaga namang humingi ng katarungan ang kaliwa sa pamilya nya sa hacienda luisista massacre at ang gubyerno nya sa mendiola massacre, pero walang ang siansabi mong age old vendetta, talaghang isa sa porma ng protesta ay pagdala ng kabaong sa times-pero wag mong palabasing para yun kay cory-simboliko yun sa mga namatay sa hacienda hindi kay aquino(wag mong ididistort ang katotohanan)

    ang status quo:
    1. hindi mo napost yung comparative ng dalawang nagbabanggaang statement ng national democratic movement as you accused the ND of Committing

    2.patuloy na nagiging chismis ang mga siasabi mong mga inside scoop mula sa kaliwa.

    ikaw ang nag akusa na may opisyal ng statements, nilink mo pa nga yung kay tonio cruz at binanggit mo pa yung kay benjie oliveros, binanggit mo din yung statement ni joma, kaya yun ang gnawang basehan natin sa debateng ito. wag kang tatakbo sa isinet mong timbangan ng pinag uusapan natin ngayong sukol ka na. Bagaman sa hulioy inamin mo din na kinuha mo ang iba mong juicy info mula s apakiki chikahan s amga plurk at tweets ng sinasbai mong kaliwa elemts na di mo man lang pinangalanan.

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