AT THE HEIGHT OF THE POPULARITY OF (NP) President Ferdinand Marcos in 1967, the opposition Liberal Party only won one of the eight Senate seats in mid-term polls similar to this 2019. Only the assassinated hero senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino survived the NP juggernaut.
Will history repeat itself this year with uncannily -the nephew of “Ninoy” Aquino in the person of reelectionist Senator Bam Aquino – apparently the only likely opposition possible survivor based on a survey conducted by Pulse Asia -one month before the polls on May 13.
The Philippine Senate despite its share in the Alumni of Scoundrels, has been known to be an independent body, able to think for itself despite many odds. Even the current Senate slate, despite the nominal numerical control of the administration, had time and again bared its fangs in important legislative and investigative matters.
The results of the 2019 Senate fight is no frivolous trivia but can determine how the county will handle key legislation forthcoming touching on Federalism, the South China Sea imbroglio, cleansing of the National Budget and the Drug War.
It is almost a given that the soldiers of the PDP Laban and Sara’s Party will dominate the Lower House. What about the Senate?
Per Pulse Asia’s latest crystal ball ( it can still change 30 days after), only Aquino from the Opposition who can statistically make it among the 12 new senators. Which means 11 are considered to be Duterte “allies”. Will the Senate then become a stamping pad, a sycophantic Upper House to the wishes of the Palace?
Our take is that it need not be necessarily so by a preponderant majority. We believe there are senators “allied” with the Palace but can be in “critical collaboration” with the same which means they can amend or oppose Palace-mandated measures without being considered an “Enemy of Malacanang”.
Among the statistically probable winning candidates for 2019, we consider the following to vote – hook, line, and sinker- for the Palace wishes: Cynthia Villar, Pia Cayetano, Bong Go, Bong Revilla, Bato de la Rosa, Imee Marcos and Jinggoy Estrada (7).
Those who can be critically collaborative can be Sonny Angara, Koko Pimentel (yes) and JV Ejercito- among the President’s “allies”(3)
Clearly independent would be Nancy Binay (running under her father’s party) and front-running Grace Poe (100% independent) (2) and Bam Aquino a clear opposition (1).
Among the incumbent senators, we count as Digong’s partners are Senate President Tito Sotto, Majority Floorleader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Dick Gordon, and Manny Pacquiao. (4)
“Fiercely independent” we would rate Protempore Ralph Recto and Panfilo Lacson while “critically collaborative” would be Sherwin Gatchalian and Joel Villanueva (his father is Jesus is Lord leader). (4)
Clear opposition would be Franklin Drilon (Minority Leader), Kiko Pangilinan (president of the opposition party), Risa Hontiveros and detained and vote-less Leila de Lima (4).
The grand total would be: Pro-Administration (9), Opposition (5) and Independent or Critically Collaborative would be (10).
Pro-democracy advocates are hoping that since the Pro and Opposition (total 14) are clearly on opposing political spectrum, the remaining 10 “independents” will continue to think and vote for the country first and above all considerations.
On the other hand- those voters achingly longing for clean governance would certainly have a clear ax to grind against those who are running this 2019 but are facing administrative or criminal charges related to graft and corruption.
For instance, Bong Revilla is awaiting a final decision on his plunder case while the Supreme Court had affirmed the case of plunder against Jinggoy Estrada. Both are out on bail. Juan Ponce Enrile, though with a slim chance of winning, was released off his plunder charges after hospitalization and cries of “old age”. Meanwhile, Imee Marcos is facing possible charges in the alleged misuse of tobacco funds and purchase of government vehicles without bidding.
Finally, on another unrelated note- there is Lito Lapid, who once upon a time said he is not fit for Senate work and decided to run in a local election but has suddenly resurrected his senatorial platform merely it seems on the basis of being a stalwart of “Ang Probinsiyano” TV teleserye. Some qualification.
Surely, one week is still a long time to review one’s senatorial choices by thinking about the future of critical issues like Federalism, West Philippine Seas, General Appropriation Act, and the Drug War.
Surely, each responsible voter must be ready to elect persons to the Senate who are with integrity and, therefore, can think independently and patriotically on those following important national issues.
Pray to God for discernment. Shalom!
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