The Long View: Midterm battle begins

Midterm battle begins


Since March of this year, when I last reported on the political numbers in this space, the different “aggrupations” as we Filipinos uniquely put it, have changed yet again. Of the two traditional parties, the PDP (formerly PDP-Laban until “Laban” was dropped last April) actually regained some seats in the House of Representatives (from five to 10) but Lakas-CMD also gained (from 92 to 100). For the parties that are essentially commercial subsidiaries, the Nacionalistas went from 34 to 36; the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), from 33 to 38; and the National Unity Party (NUP), unchanged at 36. As to the nominal affiliations of the President and Vice President, respectively: the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, from 10 to 13; and the Hugpong ng Pagbabago, still only has one congressperson.

The picture in the local arena? PDP lost five governorships (now 14) but unchanged with 29 vice governorships while it has 262 provincial board members (losing seven); Lakas-CMD lost two governorships (now eight), and unchanged with 18 provincial board members, 68 city and municipal mayorships, and 514 city and municipal councilors; the Partido Federal grew the most: It went from 17 governors to 29, and from three to 16 vice governors while Hugpong ng Pagbabago seems to still have none at all.

The Marcos-Romualdez dual party system thus still has the Duterte-Arroyo machine trapped in a kind of political sandwich. I should mention as an aside, that the Nacionalista Party (NP) (down to zero from 12 governors, unchanged with 10 vice governors, 116 provincial board members), NPC (down to nine from 11 governors, and unchanged with six vice governors, 90 provincial board members), and NUP (from nine to seven governors, but unchanged with 67 provincial board members, 125 city and municipal mayors, and 990 councilors) to me, are different political animals altogether since they are corporate subsidiaries, representing permanent interests. The paramount interest of which is to always be part of the ruling coalition.


What that coalition would be called, going into the 2025 midterms, took some time to figure out. For much of the first two years of the Restoration Era, it seemed that the vehicle might be Kilusan ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) which seems to have died in the cradle (its Facebook hasn’t been updated since the President’s birthday—last year). After remaining so petite it was microscopic, the President’s official party, the Partido Federal, started growing in March 2023. There remained the question of the elephant in the room, the Lakas-CMD, which continued to fatten up, though conveniently as the Speaker’s, but not the President’s, party, allowing the President to float above partisan considerations (namely, the rivalry between the Speaker and the Vice President for the presidency in 2028).

Officially, at least, with the KNP scheme dead, PDP somewhat deflated, Hugpong also seemingly stillborn, it’s the Partido Federal that has gone from larva to pupa while Lakas-CMD remains fightingly fat; the branding has ended up sorted out with the two now officially coalescing under the banner and logo of Alyansa Para sa Bagong Pilipinas which was announced on May 8 with a rare public appearance by Sen. Bong Revilla. The President himself told his party to enter into coalition agreements for the midterms with NP, NPC, and NUP—and, because “politics is addition,” Revilla cheerily told the press the door was open to the Veep’s very own Hugpong.

Other parties that are, for example, members of the House majority, such as eight out of 10 Liberal Party representatives, People’s Reform Party, Aksyon, etc., can be expected to join as well, since the main benefit of being in the ruling coalition, besides resources released by the Department of Budget and Management, is having the President referee inevitable disputes over who gets to be the official coalition bet. Pointedly excluded, though, from reports of this opening salvo in the 2025 midterms, is the PDP. Yet of its House contingent, five are in the majority: so while not every PDP candidate will be a target, it now bears the (dubious) distinction of being, for all intents and purposes, the Opposition.


Manuel L. Quezon III.

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