With magic man, and senator, Francis “Chiz” Escudero’s decision not to run for president (or at all) in 2010, our hopes of a perfect tandem have forever been shattered. Indolent Indio had been waiting to throw our support behind a superhero team up of Senator Richard Gordon with Escudero as his VP if for nothing else but to be able to say Dick-Chiz with a straight face.
Escudero’s withdrawal leaves us with a kind of vacuum, and a survey of out remaining options leaves us with a sense that it will once again come down to who is less of a trapo.
The Villar-led Nacionalista Party’s decision to ally with Rep. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and friends is a game changer. Not because it furthers national development or whatever, but because it achieves something that has not been done since 1986: making the Kilusan ng Bagong Lipunan (New Society Movement) a legitimate political party again.
Over the past elections, we’ve seen the KBL field people like nuisance lawyer Oliver Lozano and country singer Victor Wood, and generally make a fool of itself. It got so bad at one point that the party even splintered into factions, with the side not fielding a Marcos doing its best to make the other group look bad.
For all intents and purposes, the KBL was just a club for Marcos loyalists, or a sort of funky Filipino soup.
Entering into an alliance with the NP changes all of that, and sort of makes Martial Law a little more okay. Villar himself said that we should quit living in the past. After all, in the long term, what do a few human rights violations here and there matter?
Not that the Liberal Party is any better. Former NEDA chief Ralph Recto and Batangas governor Vilma Santos-Recto were welcomed into the coalition for good governance. Based, perhaps, on their steadfast opposition to an abusive and corrupt regime.
Cesar Montano, who ran and lost under the administration’s Team Unity in the 2007 senatorial elections, is now also in the LP. So is Richard Gomez, who tried to get a partylist seat under the government-funded Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga (Citizens Against Fun) in 2001, then was also fielded under Team Unity in 2007. He was later dropped from the administration’s slate in favor of only to be dropped in favor of Jamalul Kiram III, Sultan of Sulu.
Even former President Joseph Estrada, head of the so-called United Opposition, had to make concessions in his campaign to retake Malacanang. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago are both, as they say in the news, “staunch administration allies.”
Joey De Venecia, champion of delicadeza (propriety), is the son of Pangasinan Rep. Joe De Venecia. The elder De Venecia ran against Estrada in the 1998 presidential elections, and was also one of the staunchest allies of the Arroyo administration until a falling out with the president led to his ouster as House speaker.
One gets the sense that the De Venecias are with Estrada only because they can’t be with Arroyo, which is somehow sad in the way that sympathy sex is sad.
Each camp may claim to be for the politics of change, but it looks like it’ll just be a change of politicians.