Is there a secret game plan behind Bongbong’s move for VP?

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Far too many people had been hoping Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. would throw his proverbial hat into the presidential ring if only to generate some badly needed intellectual excitement. I have heard all sorts of people everywhere say, “I am for Binay now, or I’m for Grace Poe now, but if Bongbong declares, then I’ll be for Bongbong certainly.” The only person I heard who said she’s for Mar Roxas was a pro-life worker from Mindanao who approached me at the Mactan airport on Wednesday to ask why I wasn’t running for President. When I explained why not, she said that means she’d have to stick it out with Mar Roxas because she is a girl scout and Mrs. Judy Araneta Roxas, Mar’s mother, is also a girl scout. She knew Vice President Jojo Binay is also a Boy Scout, but she believes If Mar gets elected, Judy would be the president.

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It was the most cutting remark I’ve heard about Mar since he became PNoy’s LP anointed.
To many of his admirers, Bongbong’s slide from No. 1 to No. 2 was a great letdown. But the greater letdown was his willingness to become vice president to any presidential candidate, instead of just one particular candidate. Certainly he was not the first one to do this—-before him were Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who primarily wants to make speeches against Vice President Jejomar Binay on the campaign trail, and Alan Peter Cayetano, who is openly courting Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the off-and-on presidential aspirant from Davao.

But people were hoping that the son and namesake of the most substantial president we ever had, with his British and American university education and impressive service record as provincial governor of Ilocos Norte, would have more sense than Trillanes or Cayetano to be sucked into this idiotization of our politics. If he could not do anything to help minimize it, he could at least not contribute to it. For it is lunacy, pure and simple.

Just as no bride ever announces her betrothal without a fiancee, no one ever announces a vice presidential run without having been asked by a presidential standard bearer or drafted by a political party. In fact, it is the presidential nominee who normally announces his choice of a running mate, never the other way around. This is because only the President owes the electorate a program of government. He alone is mandated to form a Cabinet and appoint all other non-elective high officials of government.

Although he may name the Vice President to the Cabinet, as Ramos did with Estrada, Macapagal Arroyo with De Castro, and PNoy with Binay, the VP has no real duties under the Constitution, unlike in the United States, where he presides over the sessions of the Senate and proclaims the results of presidential elections. His only unwritten role, as some wit puts it, is to wait for the President to slip on a soap bar inside the bathroom and be permanently incapacitated or expire.

As of now, there are three declared presidential wannabes—-the Liberal Party’s Mar Roxas, UNA’s Vice President Binay, and the reputedly “independent” Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares. Roxas and Binay have no known constitutional disability, but Llamanzares does, and may be unseated as senator by virtue of Rizalito David’s quo warranto petition before the Senate Electoral Tribunal, and consequently be disqualified from running for president, for not being a natural-born citizen of the Philippines.

There are on the other hand six vice presidential wannabes—-Rep. Leni Robredo for the LP, Gringo Honasan for UNA, Francis Escudero for the constitutionally questionable Mrs. Llamanzares, and the three Senate “ronins” (samurais without a master)—-Marcos, Trillanes and Cayetano. Without waiting for the campaign season to begin, some of them have already started campaigning. For instance, Cayetano’s posters are now plastered all over Makati, and possibly in other cities across the land.

This is the first time in the nation’s history that there are more vice-presidential “candidates” than presidential; and as many “independent” vice presidential wannabes as there are candidates belonging to a presidential ticket. Why is this so? Why is there so much more interest in the vice-presidency than in the presidency? Some analysts offer several mutually reinforcing views.

First, it is a function of political ignorance. Even in the so-called “upper church” of our political class, there is really no deep understanding of our presidential system or why we hold national elections. So it’s not just the well-informed exploiting the ignorance of the ignorant; it is also those who are supposed to know indulging their own ignorance.
Executive governance rests on a presidential team, built upon elements that worked together to win power through the last election, rather than a team composed of various parts that competed for power during the last election, as happens in the parliamentary system. Because not a single party has won 50 percent plus one (1) of the seats in Parliament, the various parties have to forge a coalition to form a government, as happened in Germany under Angela Merkel. This is not well understood by most.

In the presidential system, we hold elections in order to choose a president who could at the very least intuit a program of government, and a vice-president who supports it, rather than a president who has a program and a vice-president who has no commitment whatsoever to what the president is publicly committed to. By program, I do not mean anything like Mrs. Llamanzares’s so-called 20-point something, which seeks to throw a bone at every hungry dog, without saying where the bone will come from. I mean a concrete plan based first of all on a world-view, on a clear understanding of the common good, and how to make governance an effective instrument of making society what it wants to become. It is not enough the MRT is a scandal, or the traffic is unbearable, and I will fix it.

In my book, A Nation on Fire, I essay a proposal on the remarking of Philippine democracy and Philippine society, which has earned a number of favorable reviews. For one, the eminent writer Carmen Guerrero Nakpil has called it a program which a new political party should adopt. It has no room for a vice-president running independently of a presidential candidate.

Secondly, most of the political players seem to believe that although various civic and patriotic groups, led by the National Transformation Council, have not given up the fight for total system change, the administration is already saying “game over” to all the other participants.

For the best of reasons, they expect Mrs. Llamanzares to be ultimately barred from running, and Susan Roces, her surrogate mother and longtime “Queen of Philippine movies” may not be able to successfully take her place. For the worst of reasons, they look forward to seeing Binay jailed on some trumped up charges, or ousted by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal on Roxas’s five-year-old electoral protest. He could then end up unopposed, unless by next week an unexpected new challenger should emerge.

Only such a challenger —- especially if he has the courage, energy and muscle to confront the “hocus PCOS”—-could hope to alter the present rules of political engagement and rewrite any prearranged results. But who is the madman on the horizon who would make this leap into the dark and risk everything, beginning with his common sense? Wouldn’t it be electoral suicide?

The political players expect the Venezuelan firm Smartmatic with its precinct count optical scan machine to perform the same “hocus PCOS” it did in 2010 and 2013. They have already locked into the manufactured propaganda surveys, which will provide an advance reading of the prearranged results of the May 2016 elections even before the first voter casts his vote. As a redundancy measure, they have also already conscripted the services of the most notorious political operators in the country, including the infamous former Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano of the 2004 “Hello Garci” fame, and the even more dangerous Ronaldo Puno whose “special operations” skills are widely known and said to be in the service of the deepest pockets.

And as the formerly prodigious donations to the Llamanzares and Binay camps dry up, the LP war chest continues to grow exponentially from the fund-raising in the various corrupt agencies and through the P424.14 billion illegal presidential lump sums in the current General Appropriations Act, which the Philippine Constitution Association, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa, Archbishop Romulo de la Cruz of Zamboanga, Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla of Davao, former national security adviser Norberto Gonzales and this writer are asking the Supreme Court to strike down as unconstitutional and void.

One other reason for the unusual interest in the vice-presidency is that because of the organized effort to rig the presidential election in favor of the administration candidate, the process could become so scandalous that no one may be declared president-elect, or the public may not accept its results.. Under Sec. 7, Article VII of the Constitution, if a President shall not have been chosen, or if the President-elect fails to qualify, the Vice-President-elect shall act as President until a President shall have been chosen and qualified. Or if at the beginning of the term of the President, the President-elect shall have died or shall have become permanently disabled, the Vice-President-elect shall become President.

This is where Mar Roxas could still lose, even if unopposed. And this is where the real fight shifts to those who competed for vice president, rather than for president. Is this what prompted Bongbong Marcos to announce his vice-presidential bid even without a presidential candidate? If so, then the fight for the presidency will be a six-cornered fight, rather than three. And by ostensibly giving up any immediate desire for the presidency, did Bongbong not actually bring himself closer to it? Let’s wait and see.

fstatad@gmail.com

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25 Comments

  1. Enoy Kalikasan on

    The main reason Bongbong Marcos is eyeing the VP only is because he doesn’t want to run against his half sister Grace Poe. If both win,expect a change in our holidays and on the government propaganda pitch. Some institutions shall be renamed again and FM shall be buried in Libingan ng mga Bayani. The Philippines shall start anew and shall not be able to move on because of politics.

  2. It’s strange to refer to Ferdinand Marcos as “the most substantial president we ever had…” If “substantial” means the most evil, yes, I agree… Borrowing a quote from a really, truly, substantial President Abraham Lincoln… Bongbong can fool all the Ilocanos some of the time, and some of the Ilocanos all the time, but he cannot fool all the Filipinos all the time…talagang makapal and taong ito…yes sir, he who worship the Devil (his father), is evil…

    • You are just basing your thoughts from opinions. When you said “Evil” do you have the proof. Sa sobrang laki ng kinorakot nila at pinapatay, ni walang isang nahatulan. Mabuti pa si Gloria at Erap nakulong na, bkit sa mga Marcoses ni WALA. WALA kc lahat paninira lang sa kanila, sa sobrang dami ba naman ng kanilang nagawa eh hindi yan natin makikita if puro INGGIT at GALIT ang nasa puso natin. If totoong galit kayo kay Marcos wag nyong tanggkilikin ang mga proyekto nya gaya ng LRT, MRT, SLEX, HEART CENTER, LUNG CENTER, KINDEY CENTER, MARCOS HIGHWAYS, NAYONG PILIPIN, CULTURAL CENTER OF THE PHILIPPINES. E deny nyo nadin ang in yong SSS, PHILHEALTH, GSIS at wag nyong tanggapin ang in yong 13TH month pay kc kay Marcos lahat yan eh. Diba, okay lng nmn sana if magalit kayo if totoo, eh US Court na mismo nagsabi na politically motivated ang mga paratang sa kanila. Siguro maniniwala din kayo pag may magsabing aswang at rapist si Marcos eh makikitid utak nyo eh.

  3. Tama! BBM will surely win as our VP – solid North & Visayas plus Mindanao. Parang Chopsuey ang apat na Bicolano – Escudero, Robredo, Trillanes & Honasan.

  4. Somehow most filipino voters are headless who don’t accept the facts that Marcos is the greatest president ever. Martial law has done many good in part at marami rin naman biktima pero karamihan naman sila ay mga leftist movement who wants to overthrow the government. Some prominent individuals like Lopez and others pero now sila naman ang namamayagpag ngayon sa kayamanan at kontrolado halos lahat ang mga business sa pinas-sila naman ang mga biktimador. At di ito alintana ng mga botante!

  5. Motorists' Corner on

    “But people were hoping that the son and namesake of the most substantial president we ever had, with his British and American university education and impressive service record as provincial governor of Ilocos Norte”

    1. Just to clarify..attended Wharton yes but did not finish. The British education was apparently a farce too.

    2. What so great about Ilocos Norte? It has not changed much since Bongbong’s dad’s time. If one were to be brutally frank about it. There was not much industry then and still not much to speak of now.

    • bitter kalang. DI u alam sinasabi u. Wala kang alam sa mga nagawa ni Marcos eh panay tanggap u ng 13th month pay at member ka din ng SSS and Philhealth.

  6. There is no secret plan as far I am concern. BB wanted to run to test the water for his ambition to become President. I still believe in the “father like son”. Will he be a dictator? More likely..yes. It’s Biblical. I wish BB to focus his plan in Mindanao, where his father has clearly neglected. Those people who gained where his enemies now. Enrile and Ramos. Actions speaks louder.

    • Nakakatawa naman, mangmang lang maniniwala dito. 30 years ng patay si Marcos. Kung meron man taong sisisihin, yun yung mga taong sumunod sa kanya. Kaya nga nagkaroon ng Tripoli agreement, teka hindi alam ng mangmang yun…

  7. Bongbong Marcos is making a calculated risk, when he choosed to run as VP candidate, it is because his popularity is still not on solid ground, there are still some Filipinos who view him with reserved suspicion, mainly due to their experiences during the martial law years. And, for nearly three decades of demonization by conscript media of the Marcos name, Bongbong will be tasked in making a headway to break this unfavorable image of being a son of a dictator.

    For, Bongbong to become president, he has to grind it out the next six years as vice-president (granting he wins) and to prove to the nation, what stuff he is made up of and what he is worth for on pushing forward our national interest- personal ambition to gun for the top post should be set aside in the interest of nation building.

  8. Let us take a look at the developing trends in the world to give us an idea of what might happen. Fast forward to May 2016: the Syrian crisis will most likely turn more serious, with American-led NATO forces in eyeball-to-eyeball face-off or something close to it with forces of Russia, China, Iran and maybe other SCO and/or BRICS nations. Oil prices will shoot through the roof which will in turn export that inflation to this country with all its political ramifications. China and her allies could intensify their attacks on the American dollar, which could send interest rates soaring, pushing the western countries whose debt to GDP ratio are all in 100% or much higher, including America’s, to the brink. Russia’s debt to GDP? 11%. While all that imported turmoil here is undermining the yellows’ political stability, enter Comelec/Smartmatic with another one of their statistically impossible results. With America’s hands tied by geopolitical and financial problems who will stop the patriotic elements in our military from intervening? Is it possible that May 2016 will mark the end of the yellow hypocrites’ reign here in the Philippines? Do we enough jails to house all of them?

  9. Maybe, Bongbong “suspects” Duterte will finally decide to run for president, and that, both of them would consequently endorse each other – respectively, for the two highest posts, up for grabs – in the 2016 national elections.

  10. simple. with the martial law still fresh from our minds and history itself sadly not favorable for Marcos family. of course running for President for Bong Bong will be an uphill battle. A VP maybe more acceptable but I think is 50-50 chances. He would be better off staying as a senator. base on my opinion. he can still do something for the country being a senator.

  11. jesus nazario on

    A Marcos cannot be just another stupid, run-of-the-mill, wide-eyed, dreaming-the-impossible, dirty-rag politician that is why he is a Marcos.

  12. If PCOS magic insist to proclaim Roxas as the magical president. Assassination is better option than messy peoples power. The nation will clap in joy if Roxas is dead.

  13. This six (6) way fight for Vice-Presidents will be favorable to Bongbong Marcos. The Bicolanos votes which composed Bicol Region will be divided among the four (4) Bicolanos candidates for Vice Presidents. But for Bongbong, he has the SOLID NORTH as well as the VISAYAN votes which composed entirely of six (6) regions. It is expected already that our future Vice-President will be Bongbong Marcos.

  14. If Bongbong wins and somehow becomes the President, are you going to be the Press Secretary?

    REPLY
    No, sir.

  15. Isa lang yan sa maaring maging senaryo! Ang totoo,puro sipsip ang mga partido na dapat na asahan niyang magdadala sa kanya ngunit mas pinili nila si Grace Poe na inaakala nilang siguradong mananalo! Katulad ng pagsapi nila kay noynoy! Ang linta at anay ay magkatulad!
    Walang integridad ang mga partido na inilalagay nila! Mga balimbing at walang dignidad!

  16. Mr. Tatad’s observation is a very smart astute one! There is logic to it . Without Poe, it’s Roxas & Bongbong all the way!

  17. Well, I may be a fool but I guess, those below the rank of General in the armed forces will never stand idly when Smartmatic begins their exercise. For all you know,the patriotic group of retired people in the armed services may just pull a surprise and lock up all the people on Election Day who will try a mockery of our democracy. Lest simyon thinks that their war chest will guarantee another six years of unbriddled legal plunder and wholesale banditry, they rather be more circumspect for 30M barangay members will never accept a Roxas presidency. Dung Matweed is kaput, finished and passe and the people will never buy again another mantra of this Pied Piper of Times Street. In fact, the higher incidence of poverty of five years of benigno just confirmed that corruption is more rampant than ever – more than under all the past presidents combined. I may just be the madman, Kit.