The Senate political realignment, a stronger opposition

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty Josephus B Jimenez - The Freeman

Now that the die has been cast, the true colors of the senators have been exposed. At least 15 are pro-Malacañang, including the gang of Duterte boys. The opposition that used to be composed only of Senators Koko Pimentel and Risa Hontiveros is now reinforced by ousted Senate President Migz Zubiri, and Senators Loren Legarda, Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito (the good one), and Nancy Binay

The new majority and pro-administration senators are Senate President Francis Chiz Escudero, Speaker Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Majority Leader Francis Tolentino, the politically fluid but astute Cayetano brother and sister tandem from the tiny kingdom of Taguig Alan Peter and Pia, the Villar mom and son from the mighty fiefdom of Las Piñas Cynthia and Mark, the presidential sister Imee, the former presidential candidate Grace Poe, and the movie and TV personalities, Bong Revilla, Lito Lapid, and Robinhood Padilla. The Duterte boys Bato dela Rosa, Christopher “Bong” Go, and Tolentino have jumped into the BBM bandwagon for survival.

Many Filipinos do not know that the late father of Chiz Escudero, Salvador Escudero III was, for the longest time, a member of President Marcos Sr.'s Cabinet, as Agriculture secretary. Therefore, the Marcoses and the Escuderos are not really strangers to each other. Escudero's ouster of Zubiri was a coup concocted in the Palace. Although, there was a time in the past that Chiz Escudero ran for vice president against both Alan Peter and BBM in 2016, with Grace Poe as Escudero's presidential teammate, in politics there are no permanent friends or enemies, no permanent allies or opponents. There is only permanent fixation to self-interests and instincts for political survival.

Although Francis Tolentino won heavily in Mindanao through the Duterte magic before, not many of us knew that this guy was also a wedding godson of the late FM Sr. The Tolentinos of Tagaytay supported BBM's father all the way before, during, and after martial law. Not many know too that Senator Escudero was a wedding godson of president BBM himself in Escudero's first marriage to Christine Flores in 2005. And so, it's a small world, and it was not very hard for the Palace strategist to strategize on the blitzkrieg coup that ousted Zubiri.

What puzzles us, however, is how the Three Musketeers --Bong Go, Bato dela Rosa and Robinhood Padilla-- were recruited by the assault team composed of Escudero, Jinggoy, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Tolentino. The most plausible answer was both Imee Marcos, a self-proclaimed pro-Duterte loyalist and Tol Tolentino himself who is widely known as close to both the Dutertes and the Marcoses. The problem now is where does their loyalty belong? When issues about Charter Change and the West Philippine Sea are to be resolved, to which side do the three align themselves? They cannot be riding on two horses. When the rubber hits the road, so to say, they have to choose whether they are for Scylla or for Charybdis.

We are not surprised with Senators Revilla, Lapid, and the Villars. They will always go with the flow of the political tide. They have had no track record on standing on solid principles. In contrast, the people admire Zubiri who stood on the principle of the Senate's independence from Malacañang, and for Villanueva, Angara, Gatchalian, and Binay. JV, once again, proved himself to be the good one. Legarda, as usual was equivocating and trying to hold on, but she was not welcomed by the new conquering forces led by Escudero and Jinggoy.

This is politics, Philippine style. When you have principles and you stand by them, you will stand to lose your post ultimately. But you bow out gracefully, with honor and dignity. Anyway, what matters most is that we now know the true colors of these honorable solons. And we will remember this come election time.

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