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Exciting political realignments to watch

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - June 20, 2021 - 12:00am

While the nation is in the thick of the war against COVID-19, the camps of the presidential hopefuls cannot be derailed in their many preparations for the 2022 national derby. The political teapots are now whistling with varying sounds, and we, the people, should be alert in watching the developments that shall determine the fate of the nation for the next six years or beyond. While the opposition is facing problems as to who shall run against Malacañang-anointed bets, the administration itself is confronted with too much infighting and elbowing among hopefuls.

In the opposition front, while the 1Sambayan might be the one with the purest and most honest intentions, and the least controversial leaders and convenors, they have the barest war chest and the weakest organization. Absent any grassroots structure down to the precinct levels, and without a big war chest, this ragtag group of retirees and sophomoric academicians cannot launch a credible national campaign. They are like Don Quixote de la Mancha whose dreams and sublime aspirations are bound to end up shattered by the windmills of the administration's formidable trapos and superior election armaments. The same is true with vice president Leni Robredo, who is still equivocating between running for president with less than 50% chance or for Camsur governor where she has 70% chance of clinching. Without logistics, Leni will end up like the late Miriam Defensor Santiago, whom Rabiya Mateo called the best president we never had.

There are more problems on the administration side. While the opposition has a shortage of wannabes, the party in power is overcrowded with presidential hopefuls, and they are all elbowing each other out. The frontrunner is presidential daughter Inday Sara Duterte Carpio and her only problem now is who among the vice presidential prospects she should choose to complete her ticket. Senator Manny Pacquiao has done many overt acts that inevitably lead to the conclusion that he is definitely running. The problem is that he is being eased out of PDP. While Senator Coco Pimentel (whose late father, Senate President Nene Pimentel, was the party founder) is with Manny, Malacañang (and that means President Digong and Senator Bong Go) do not like Manny. Well, they really have not disowned each other yet, but read their lips and body language, and the tenor of public gestures and pronouncements.

Bongbong Marcos is still with the administration, but if Inday Sara runs, then they shall meet in a collision course. And, if that happens, it shall be a battle royale between the forces of the Solid North and the warriors from the divided south. Yes, Mindanao and the Visayas shall necessarily be divided, with both Inday Sara and Pacman gunning for the presidency. A divided south will be music to the ears of Marcos, but if Isko runs too, and Vice President Leni shall throw her hat in also, then Luzon shall be fragmented, with the north going for Marcos, Metro Manila for Isko, and southern Tagalog and Bicol for Leni. A fragmented Luzon will be good news to Inday Sara and/or Pacman. No matter what you say, Filipino electorate still follows regionalistic bias in their voting patterns.

We still have not heard from senators Grace Poe or Cynthia Villar. What I know is that the Villars are committed to the Dutertes. Cynthia Villar will be anointed by Malacañang as the next Senate president and Mark Villar will be included in the administration's senatorial ticket, together with Raffy Tulfo, Willy Revillame, and Martin Romualdez. My dream is for Governor Gwen Garcia If Bongbong runs for president, Martin cannot leave his first-degree cousin. This Machiavellian style of President Digong in sending overtures about a Martin run for the vice presidency, if we know his style well, is really a ploy to divide and conquer the Marcos-Romualdez clan unity. We should hear from Ping Lacson and Tito Sotto. These two may either help Manny Pacquiao or support a Sara-Gibo, a Sara-Bong Go or a Sara-Bongbong dream ticket. Or even make Ping run for resident with Tito as vice president.

In politics, nothing is impossible. In the Philippines, even a moron or a nincompoop can run and even the dead can vote. And the counting machine can make the most unworthy win. The Philippines shall remain among the poorest nations in the world. But the Filipinos shall continue to be the happiest people on earth. And that's the wonder of it all.

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