Wednesday, April 24, 2013

PHILIPPINE ELECTION 2013: History Repeats Itself

A few days ago, I received my absentee ballot in the mail. Enclosed were the certified list of Senatorial and Party-List candidates as well as the instructions on how to proceed in voting.
Going over the list, I separated them into three groups: Team PNoy, UNA, and Independents.
This year’s elections reminds me of the Senatorial elections in 1987 – the first one held after the People Power Revolution. I view it as a second chance for the Filipino people to decide a better and brighter future for themselves and the next generation. I also see it as history repeating itself except for the chance to make some corrections.
I was personally involved in the 1987 elections. I went home to help in the campaign of my father-in-law, Raul S. Manglapus who was picked by the late President Cory Aquino as one of her Senatorial candidates.
At the time, it was Cory’s Choices all the way. In fact, 22 out of the 24 elected were indeed Cory’s chosen candidates. The only two from the opposition who made it were Erap Estrada and Johnny Enrile. Candidates like Arturo Tolentino, Eva Estrada Kalaw, Blas Ople, Francisco Tatad, Wenceslao Lagumbay, Isidro Rodriguez, and many other well-known personalities all lost. The Cory train was unstoppable!
While many Filipinos voted straight, many were inserting Erap who was known as Asiong Salonga in the movies; and Johnny Enrile who defied Marcos and joined the People Power Revolution only in the immediate past. Name recognition plus resources accumulated during the corrupt Marcos regime helped them convince local leaders to remove one or two of the Cory candidates and replace them with their names.
This year’s elections will be a repetition. This time, it will also be PNoy’s Choices. The big difference is that PNoy is backing his choices with achievements, substantial resources, overwhelming organizational advantage, a successful and indisputable anti-corruption “Daang Matuwid” campaign message, and the attainable promise and hope of better things to come not only for local leaders but most especially for their constituents.
In the latest SWS survey, 9 of the Magic 12 are from Team PNoy. One – Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. is competing for the 12th place. Two - Nancy Binay and JV Ejercito Estrada are in. The former is a daughter of  VP Jojo Binay while the latter is a son of former President Erap Estrada. Jack Enrile, son of Enrile, and Gringo Honasan, a protégé of Enrile are vying for the last spot against Jun Magsaysay.
Not that far away are Jamby Madrigal and Risa Hontiveros of Team PNoy.
“Daang Matuwid” (straight path) also means “Walang Dayaan” (no cheating) in a democratic elections not only against opponents but against teammates as well. FPJ (Fernando Poe, Jr.) used to say, “Walang Iwanan” (nobody left out). What PNoy and political observers would like to see is for majority of the Filipinos to vote straight Team PNoy without cheating. Straight Path also equals Straight Ticket.
Electing all 12 PNoy choices is possible. PNoy will still be President for the next three years after the elections. After achieving much in the first half of his term, he will surely achieve more in the second half but he would work together with a new Congress and new local officials whose goals would be to get reelected in the next elections. All should go for a Vote Straight Campaign.
The Team PNoy organization up to the precinct level should be given all the resources to deliver the right message and a 12-0 result. The message would include not only why the entire Team PNoy should be elected but more so because of the rewards that go with being part of a new government that would continue instituting reforms in our society.
The 2013 elections is really a battle between political personalities and what they represent through their proxies or surrogates. It is a fight between PNoy and his anointed successor, Mar Roxas versus what they call the Three Kings – Binay, Estrada, and Enrile.
Although PNoy and Mar Roxas will be going for a straight ticket from national to the local level to build and prepare for the 2016 presidential elections, the Three Kings will not. The latter will use most of their resources for themselves and/or their children – Estrada for his Mayoralty race and for his son, JV; Enrile for son Jack and probably Honasan; and Binay for his daughter, Nancy, and his children who are running in Makati. The latter is also saving for his presidential run
While all the Team PNoy candidates should be comfortable pushing for a straight ticket, UNA candidates will not. To each his own and single shooting will most likely be the rule and not the exception. Why? UNA does not have the precinct level organization and the resources as a party that Team PNoy has.
Based on these, the three UNA candidates that have the best chance of landing in the Magic 12 are the children of the three Kings. Unfortunately, according to the latest survey, the three in Team PNoy that they could be replacing are Ramon Magsaysay, Jr., Jamby Madrigal, and Risa Honteviros.
“Organization determines everything”, Lenin once said. In 1987, The organization that was supposed to deliver a 24-0 result for Cory could not really do so because the ambitious potential successors of Cory were junking each other, thus – allowing outsiders like Estrada and Enrile to be inserted provided the price was right. The latest survey at the time put Salonga, Manglapus, and Butch Aquino in the top 3.  In fact, in some surveys, Manglapus was No. 1. The election results showed Manglapus winning but far below the top three. President Cory was aware of what happened.  In one case, a campaigner for a teammate requested to join me in the helicopter lent to Manglapus to drop leaflets. Ironically, the leaflets he was dropping did not include Manglapus on the list.
Cory later on asked Manglapus to quit the Senate and replace Vice President Laurel as Secretary of Foreign Affairs. In the next presidential elections, Cory endorsed Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos who ran under Manglapus’ NUCD Party. Some in the previous Senatorial line-up still ran but lost to Ramos.
This election is different.  I do not see anybody running under Team PNoy who would junk others so he or she could be PNoy’s chosen successor.  The party machinery as well as each candidate’s organization would serve all of them better if a Straight Ticket is pushed. This could mean that Ramon Magsaysay, Jr., Jamby Madrigal, and Risa Hontiveros would make the Magic 12.
This year’s political battle is also about character and policies of record. Anti-corruption and honesty represented by PNoy being his chosen policies versus the records of Estrada (plunder), Enrile (Marcos corruption under Martial Law), and Binay (Makati corruption).
It is therefore very easy for me to vote for Ramon Magsaysay, Jr., Jamby Madrigal, and Risa Hontiveros over the children of the Three Kings. Magsaysay is the son of the late President Magsaysay who went after the “bandits and the crooks” in government. Jamby is a descendant of Senator Pacita Madrigal Warns, a champion of Women’s Rights and a close political partner of President Magsaysay.  Risa Hontiveros is a niece of Leny Hontiveros, an honest executive and close associate of the late Senator Raul Manglapus.
Looking for well-bred horses? I found them for you. PNoy is offering them to you. In fact, Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. is No.1 on my list. Magsaysay is my guy. I will tell you why in a separate article.

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