Friday, September 4, 2009

Magdalo, Noynoy, Erap

As I write this piece, supporters of the Magdalo party-list group are gathering in front of the Comelec for its official registration. That’s one party to watch: Young, energetic, visionary. Though still in need of some guidance in ideological discourse, this is definitely one of the best things that can happen to our national politics. The Magdalo’s party-list candidates are still to be known; but for the Senate, it already has BrigGen. Danilo Lim; for the congressional seats of Taguig and Cebu , it has Lts. James Layug and Ashley Acedillo, respectively; and for Sipalay City Mayor, it has Lt. Gary Alejano. As I await the Magdalo’s party-list campaign materials, I now have the red, blue, and yellow Danny Lim stickers all over my car, in conjunction with his stickers and pocket calendars, which I’m eagerly distributing in the four public markets I go to.

While the Magdalo’s political leaders are still young and new, no one can say the same for Sen. Noynoy Aquino or the other so-called “young” leaders of the Liberal Party (LP).

Capitalizing on a well-attended funeral, this new presidential bet of the LP, being billed as non-trapo and, as Conrad de Quiros claims, “one deserving to be president because he does not seek it”--as if there’s a public clamor for him to run--is the product of the party’s political somersault in junking its failed presidential hopeful in the person of Mar Roxas. How did this come about?

First of all, the LP is one of the two grand old traditional parties in the Philippines , the other being the Nacionalista Party, and both are rooted in the incipient parties from the Commonwealth era eight decades ago.

It’s not only that these two are the oldest political parties, but their leaders whose names span generations--Roxas, Aquino, Cojuangco--are as old as those of disreputable American and Japanese colonial collaborators and exploitative elites, whose wealth was either stolen from the Philippine Revolution’s coffers or from war reparations, the latter of which was salted to New York when the LP had one of its own sitting as president.

Decades of wealth and power and control over media may have covered up a lot of these seamy beginnings, but we should not allow these to be forgotten. The other traditional party, the Nacionalista, while not having an old elite-sounding name heading it, nonetheless has a nouveau riche leadership that is as corrupt as the LP’s.

The LP is alive today because this “new” candidate supposedly brings new hope; which, if I may add, also brings back a lot of old, bad blood. Hence, the so-called Kamag-anak Inc. is now abuzz. I’ve just heard from my friends in the banking sector that the former organizer of the Northern Alliance has been visiting bank presidents, soliciting funds for this new bet. The Northern Alliance, as you may recall, controlled jueteng operations in Luzon during Cory Aquino’s incumbency. Can the reader guess who this kamag-anak is?

Another kamag-anak, who similarly ran jueteng in his turf, even egged Sonia Roco to come out using her paper party, Aksyon Demokratiko (which has fewer members than a taxi can hold), to support this new candidate.

Meanwhile, other rah-rah boys who aren’t kamag-anak but just as bad also have tarnished records. The LP’s Butch Abad, for one, pushed the Epira power privatization that has wreaked havoc in our lives and national economy.

The supposedly intellectual writers of “civil society,” presumably revolutionary in the spirit of the extreme Left like Conrad de Quiros, simply ignore the facts about the political parties and candidates they are supporting. That goes as well for Billy Esposo, in previously going for the Nacionalistas’ Manny Villar until he faltered in the surveys.

Right now, they are all going gung-ho for this new LP bet (who’s still praying for divine guidance, as if the public is yet to know what his God’s “advice” would be) without facing these issues squarely. If a real providential adviser were to be consulted, the correct advice would be for him to join forces with President Joseph Estrada and run as his vice president to overcome the automated election system’s cheating and ensure a change in the next government. But that would only be over the dead bodies of Kamag-anak Inc.

For sure, they are praying for Estrada’s disqualification by the Supreme Court (SC). But since 62 percent of the people surveyed by Pulse Asia already believe Estrada will be allowed to run, the SC simply cannot ignore this. Those who are still unwilling to accept this most basic democratic tenet should read carefully what Dean De la Paz of the BusinessMirror quoted from noted US jurist, Justice Thomas McIntyre Cooley: “The Constitution does not derive its force from the convention which framed it, but from the people who ratified it. The intent to be arrived at is that of the people. ”

President Estrada represents wisdom, compassion, vision, and experienced leadership. Most of all, he embodies a set of ideals for the country’s flag and its poor, which he hopes to achieve through practical, determined means. His vision: Food security and agricultural self-reliance; an end to sovereign guarantees; debt renegotiation; commissioning the AFP for a massive infrastructure campaign; professionalizing the cabinet as he did in 1998; legalizing jueteng to utilize its revenues for the public good; an end to the NPA insurgency through forceful negotiations; and allowing only one flag to fly in Mindanao--the Philippine flag.

With Erap, there’s no more learning curve, no more compromise, and no more ambition--just getting things done for the good of the nation.

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