By Efren L. Danao
The Manila Times
Lakas and Kampi, the two strongest political parties today, will go the way of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) and the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino unless they field a strong presidential candidate in 2010. If they have no man in Malacañang, their members will leave them for the administration party, just like rats deserting a sinking ship.
The KBL headed by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos lorded it over the political field from 1978 until 1984. But when Marcos was deposed by EDSA I in 1986, the KBL died with him. Oops, I forgot, it still has one member in the House—Rep. Bongbong Marcos of Ilocos Norte.
The supremacy of the LDP founded by the late Speaker Ramon Mitra was short-lived. It cornered majority of the seats in the House, the Senate and local government units in 1992. However, most of them later joined Lakas, the party of President Fidel Ramos who defeated Mitra. Lakas became a shell of its former self when President Estrada won in 1998. But, it was balik-Lakas for politicians when Estrada was unseated by EDSA Dos and President Arroyo took over.
Lakas and Kampi are the favored political parties of GMA. I expect most of the present members to stay put in the 2010 elections because of the largesse that Malacañang could give them in their campaign. Should they win, they are not expected to remain loyal to the two parties—not unless the next president will come from their ranks.
The best chance for Lakas and Kampi to keep their political hold is for Vice President Noli “Ka-bayan” de Castro to join them. So far, he has refused to do so. Speaker Prospero Nograles Jr., president of Lakas, and Interior and Local Governments Secretary Ronaldo Puno has to dangle more “carrots” to bag the prize catch in Kabayan. Of course, no amount of carrots could convince Kabayan if Lakas and Kampi fail to merge. Without the merger, Kabayan will face the nightmare of choosing among the local candidates of the two parties, with the prospect of being junked by those left out.
Coalition the next best thing
The next best thing is for Lakas or Kampi to coalesce with another political party and adopt that party’s presidential candidate. Senate President Manny Villar, president of the Naciona-lista Party, is no knee-jerk oppo-sitionist and is definitely acceptable to many Lakas members. Lakas and Kampi have a coalition agreement with the Nationalist People’s Coalition and this could continue until 2010. I will discount the possibility of any coalition with the Liberal Party of Sen. Mar Roxas. Malacañang has been supportive of the group headed by Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza and I don’t see its two favored parties’ breaking away from this stand.
The benefits of a coalition for Lakas and Kampi, however, would only be short-lived if their candidate wins. The next president will certainly favor his party members, so expect the members of Lakas and Kampi to make a beeline for the new administration party.
Of course, turncoatism could be avoided if Congress enacts before 2010 the Political Party Reform Act. That is not possible, however, since SP Villar had already declared that it should wait until after the next presidential elections. This means that switching of political loyalties will still be the norm after 2010.
Bong Revilla’s ‘ ghost’ sponsorship
Sen. Bong Revilla, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works, was supposed to deliver a sponsorship speech on the bill amending the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973. For reasons known to him alone, Revilla asked Majority Leader Kiko Pangilinan to move for the insertion (oops, that bad word again) of his sponsorship speech into the record of the Senate.
The insertion would make it appear as if Revilla had actually delivered his speech in full. Minority Leader Nene Pimentel objected. “It is not possible to interpellate the records!” Nene reasoned out.
With Nene’s objection, Kiko withdrew his motion and the bill was shelved for the day’s session.