Expected mergers of various political parties in support of the administration of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte will work for as long as his hold on power remains strong, a political analyst said on Sunday.
Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political Reforms, said any sign of weakness would undermine the integrity of the coalitions, especially in Congress.
“As long as there is a firm hold on power, the Duterte government will [enjoy]support,” Casiple told The Manila Times.
He made the remark in reaction to an announcement by the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), the country’s second-largest political party, that it is set to formally forge an alliance with the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Duterte’s party.
The NPC forged an “Agreement of Support” with the “administration of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte and Congressman Pantaleon Alvarez” late last week, boosting Alvarez’s chance of replacing Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
The PDP-Laban was also reportedly forming a coalition with the Nacionalista Party (NP) and National Unity Party (NUP).
With such a bandwagon of support, Duterte is “expected” to have a majority in place in Congress, political analyst Edmund Tayao also told The Manila Times.
“Any President cannot pursue any reform, any measure without the support of the legislature,” Tayao, a political science professor at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, said in an interview.
He explained that forging coalitions is needed “to get a majority in place, to get things moving,” and to push for a legislative agenda.
In the Philippines, Tayao said mergers are sealed to get a majority.
Casiple said that through political coalitions, Duterte will be able to take control of the House of Representatives and “maybe the Senate.”
Belmonte said he has informed Alvarez that the Liberal Party of which the Speaker is a top official will join the majority.
“I said the LP block wanted to be part of the majority. He welcomed it,” Belmonte, the vice chairman of the ruling party, added.
Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said the merger of PDP-Laban and NPC will pave way for easier passage of bills.
“We know it’s a numbers game in Congress. This is the general rule,” Ilagan also told this paper.
She said the merger of political parties is an “expected and necessary move” when an administration is just starting, in order to consolidate its ranks and bring in new forces to ensure its survival and to assert its dominance.
“In terms of number and influence, [PDP-Laban] is a minority. But with a merger, it can boost its stock and raise its stature in the political landscape. Some entities from the joining parties may even decide to take the alliance a step further by acquiring new membership with [PDP-Laban]. It is now the new kid on the block. President Duterte can benefit from this new configuration by consolidating his gains and instituting substantial changes,” Ilagan noted.