IN JUST THE FIRST TWO days of the registration for the Certificates of Candidacies (COCs) -October 11-12- nationwide, it was indeed a circus providing so much an exciting prelude of the things to come.
No, not just because of the usual clowns, jesters, perennials losers and nondescripts coming to COMELEC town, it also exposed the desire of many to be politically well-placed for the rest of the final half of the Duterte regime. Necessarily, you must have the Senate in mind.
Because, traditionally, the Lower House is almost always controlled by the Administration and the Senate always playing “hard to get” to justify its existence. It is, likewise, to the best interest of the administration to have a lock-hold on both houses- to advance its political and economic agenda.
The Opposition’s role is, of course, to stop that from happening.
The latest Third Quarter SWS Survey for the Senate May 2019 polls show the following leaders: Villar, Poe, (Pia) Cayetano, Pimentel, Lapid, Estrada (Jinggoy), (Mar) Roxas, (Nancy) Binay and, Angara in the first (9) slots. Our humble take is that since (6) of the 9 are re-electionists (one come-backing in Cayetano) and the names of three others like Lito Lapid (the wonders of “Ang Probinsiyano), Mar Roxas and Jinggoy Estrada -virtual household names (whether for fame or notoriety)- the nine slots can be called a shoo-in shots.
The No 10- 12 slots occupied by (Bato ) de la Rosa, (Serge) Osmena and (Gov. Imee) Marcos are not cast in stone. Angling at their feet are (remember?) re-electionists (Bam) Aquino and (JV) Ejercito at Nos. 13 and 14, respectively. They are very strong contenders.
On a lesser note, three pro-Duterte candidates have just been given the “go -signal” and (of course, the opening of the financial faucets) for three Cabinet secretaries who are within the “striking distance” for slots Nos 10-12. They are Political Adviser Francis Tolentino (No 15), Special Assistant to the President Bong Go (No 16) and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (No 18).
But if the Duterte Administration falls deeper into unpopularity (mainly due to high prices) towards May, the opposition bets with name recalls like outspoken actress Agot Isidro (No. 17), (martyred) former Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno (No . 19) and firebrands Erin Tanada (LP) (No 21) and Gary Alejano (Magdalo) (No 22)- will develop a built-in charisma and become real contenders.
They will all be scrambling for the last three slots unless a major “black propaganda” or a “threatening” issue engulfs any of the first 9 candidates posted in the order of the latest SWS Survey.
But there are as many interesting side developments as well.
The Estrada family, for one, is in a quandary. Accused by JV of being partial to (eldest) Jinggoy, former president and Manila Mayor Erap Estrada has allowed JV to use the Estrada name (not Ejercito) and pledged equal money and machinery support -parallel to that extended to Jinggoy.
Thus, in our May ballot boxes will show- (a) Estrada, Jinggoy and (b) JV Estrada as candidates. Being automated, there will be no counting one for the other as voters shade their choices and not write down specific names as senator-choices.
Meanwhile, with the exit of staunch Duterte ally former President GMA by June 2019 (she will write her “Memoirs”), Digong needs a new Speaker who will be high- caliber but not as controversial as deposed Speaker Bebot Alvarez. That comes in the person of Foreign Affairs Secretary (replaced by Cory speechwriter<former Makati congressman Teddyboy Locsin) Allan Peter Cayetano.
Well, it goes without saying, they will have to control the Lower House, first. The Manila and Makati electoral arena, on the other hand, is just as exciting and titillating.
In Manila, consider that the majority of the councilors have now openly sided with former Manila vice mayor- the well-liked actor Isko Moreno (who resigned as DSWD Undersecretary) in tandem with the current Manila lady vice-mayor to fight against old fogies in Manila politics.
Moreno will run against aging relics in 80-year olds Manila Mayor Erap Estrada and former senator Alfredo Lim. Moreno says that after “giving way” many times to his senior and agreeing to play second-fiddle, he believes “his time has rightfully come.” A good thing, former Manila Mayor the Hawaiian-shirt -clad Lito Atienza decided not to contest the mayoralty.
Most interesting is the “Sibling Mayoralty” fight between the incumbent and (elder) sibling Abby Binay-Campos versus come-backing former mayor Makati Junjun Binay who is facing multi-billion grafts cases at the Ombudsman.
Junjun claims he has the majority of the Makati councilmen but Abby affirms she has the blessings of the father (former VP Jojo Binay- currently in Italy for a pilgrimage) running under the UNA Party.
The return of the old Patriarch is being awaited with bated breath because – unresolved the “Binay Sibling Rivalry” will throw the family and Makati politics asunder.
We still have 4 days for the COCs to be completed (October 14-17) and surprises to end all surprises may yet come to the fore. No wonder, Philippine politics is the nation’s favorite pastime.
Hulata and Mga Mosunod, Mga Igsoon.
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