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Unholy National Alliance

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With the 2016 presidentialelection still four years away, Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay is busyforming a grand “opposition” political union of his party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakasng Bayan (PDP-Laban), with otherpolitical parties.  And on top ofthe heap of those he’s trying to lure into his new United Nationalist Alliance(UNA) is former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino(PMP).  Makes one wonder,

“WhyErap?” 

The other parties who mightjoin UNA are Danding Cojuangco’s Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), Sen. MannyVillar’s Nacionalista Party (NP), and Sen. Edgardo Angara’s Laban ngDemokratikong Pilipino (LDP).  Theonly party that hasn’t been invited to join was former President GloriaMacapagal Arroyo’s Lakas-Kampi-CMD (LKC). However, Rep. Mitos Magsaysay and former Sen. Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri,staunch LKC members and loyal supporters of Gloria were invited to join forpossible inclusion on UNA’s 2013 senatorial slate.  Makes one wonder, “Why Gloria loyalists?”

But where else would theygo?  Would they join PresidentBenigno “P-Noy” Aquino III’s Liberal Party (LP) or a moribund LKC?  How about a new political party or a“third force”?  

*Chiz’s dilemma

Let’s take the case of Sen.Francis “Chiz” Escudero who is officially “Independent” but a close ally ofP-Noy.  Chiz is the perfect“balimbing” (turncoat) because he can join any party and would not be accusedof being a “political butterfly” like Sen. Loren Legarda who went party hoppingwhen she ran for Vice President in 2004 and 2010.  

In my article,“QuoVadis, Chiz?” (November 3, 2009),I said that Chiz had three options of which the third one seemed more viablethan the other two.  I wrote: “His third option is not to run for higheroffice and instead serve out his remaining three years in the Senate. Thiswould give him time to build a political party — or a movement — to pursue thereforms he wants. He can then run for re-election as senator in 2013 under hisnew party, together with a full slate of reform-minded senatorial candidates,congressional candidates, and candidates for local offices. Then he can run forpresident in 2016 as the ‘people’s candidate.’ But can he wait?”

Chiz abandoned hispresidential bid and resigned from Danding’s NPC.  However, he did not do anything to build his political baseand remained independent.  Now thathe’s seeking re-election to his senate seat, he needs a political organizationunless he is confident that he can win as an Independent, which he might. 

But the best thing he coulddo is to run under P-Noy’s Liberal Party. And the worst thing would be to join the Binay-Erap alliance.  He’d win either way.  However, he’d be in a weak position fora presidential bid in 2016 if he joined the Binay-Estrada alliance unless he’dsettle as Binay’s vice presidential running mate.  But Erap’s son, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, is already presumed tobe Binay’s VP choice.  Isn’t thatwhat the Binay-Erap alliance is all about?

*Maceda’s “bomba”

With a long short-list of“senatoriables” being considered for inclusion on UNA’s senatorial slate, therewould be plots and counter-plots among the UNA senatoriables. The first casualty is former Sen.Ernesto Maceda who was initially mentioned as one of UNA’s 12 senatorialcandidates. 
Maceda got himself in hotwater when he was quoted in the news saying “a vote to acquit Corona [in theimpeachment trial] is a vote of support for Binay in 2016.”  He said that Corona’s conviction wouldbolster support for P-Noy’s “anointed candidate” --presumably Roxas -- forpresident in 2016.  Binayimmediately disputed Maceda’s claim saying that Maceda was just expressing hispersonal opinion as a political analyst.

*Aquino-Binay clash

But what is intriguing is arecent news report that quoted deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valteas saying that the parting of the political ways between P-Noy and Binay isinevitable.  However, she downplayedreports of “a possible clash between the two when their respective partiesprepare for the 2013 and 2016 elections.”   She said that it would be unlikely for P-Noy and Binayto clash since both of them “appear to be on the same page as far as reformsare concerned.” 

But how can P-Noy and Binaybe on the same page when it concerns reforms?  There is no doubt that P-Noy and those he would include inthe Liberal Party’s senatorial slate would continue fighting corruption andpursuing reforms in government. But how can Binay introduce reforms when he is in alliance with personsof questionable character and political groups that seem to breedcorruption? 

While P-Noy and Binay aretrying very hard to show a façade of peaceful co-existence, open warfarebetween the Liberal Party and UNA would flare up as soon as the impeachmenttrial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona ends.  P-Noy could not afford to antagonizethe senators allied with Binay lest they might vote to acquit Corona to dealP-Noy a deadly blow in his attempt to oust Corona.  Corona would then owe pro-Binay senators a debt of gratitudeor “utang-na-loob,” which could berepaid in so many ways on matters relating to contested elections.
*Binay’s game plan
And this brings to the forethe nagging question:  Why didBinay form UNA while the impeachment trial was ongoing?  He could have waited until July 2012after a verdict would have been passed. With six of the senator-judges running for re-election in 2013, five ofwhich might end up on UNA’s “Magic 12” senatorial line-up, the timing of theunification effort is riddled in suspicion.   I think Maceda opened a can of worms when he said “avote to acquit Corona is a vote of support for Binay in 2016.”  And I’m sure that P-Noy has thepolitical savvy to decipher Binay’s game plan. 

But in Binay’s attempt tounify all the diverse political parties under his umbrella, he may be creatinga political machine similar to the Lakas-Kampi-CMD merger prior to the 2010presidential election. 
In my article, “Gloria’s Spruce Goose” (June2, 2009), I wrote: “President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s long-time dream ofcreating the largest political party since the time of Marcos was realized lastMay 28, 2009 with the merger of Lakas-CMD and Kampi under the new name ofLakas-Kampi CMD. The merger of Lakas-CMD, founded by former President Fidel V.Ramos and former Speaker Joe de Venecia, and Kampi, founded by Gloria, wouldindeed be a formidable political force that could dominate the 2010 elections;that is, if it doesn’t break apart by its sheer weight.

“This reminds me of HowardHughes who built the biggest flying boat which critics called the ‘SpruceGoose.’ On it’s maiden test flight on November 2, 1947 with Hughes piloting ithimself, the humongous airplane flew for only a mile at 70 feet above thewater. It’s mediocre performance forced Hughes to abandon the project.”

At the end of the day, JojoBinay and Erap Estrada’s United Nationalist Alliance might turn out to be an “UnholyNational Alliance” whose main attraction is the prospect of regaining politicalpower.  And guess what comes withthat political power? 
The kleptocrats love it!

By Perry Diaz




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