THE body of knowledge and empiricism compiled by political science does not apply to Mr. Aquino’s Liberal Party and most Filipinos with a little curiousness are forced to ask on the “ whys.” For example, this intriguing and unexpected development within the LP: the emergence of Rep. Edgar. Erice of Caloocan City as a key spokesman/ strategist/thinker of the party.
The party of Ninoy and Jovito Salonga now has Mr. Erice as its thinking man. Wow.
In theory and in practice, those who speak on serious matters on behalf of a major political party are given wide berths and latitude because they can capture the soul and the essence of the party they represent without effort. In Mr. Erice’s case, his statements, ideally, should both carry the gravitas of the LP’s founding fathers, the LP’s pivotal role in the shaping the affairs of the new republic (its standard bearer, Manuel Roxas, won the first elections in 1946), and the supposed purposefulness of the current president, Mr. Aquino.
But it is clear that Mr. Erice is not that type, someone predisposed to speak with the weight of the LP’s glorious tradition in mind. Like for example, his views on the LP’s senatorial future, which he said will probably be vested on these personalities: Dingdong, Isko, Bistek. Dingdong, Isko and Bistek are all accomplished and capable young men. But to make them pillars of legislation in this time of tenuous global transitions, and a period in which the driving force of change and innovation are young men and women with a mastery of algorithm, is simply not an act of patriotism.
Why not make Mr. Dantes the culture czar, Mr. Moreno the traffic czar and Mr. Bautista the local governments secretary in case of victory in 2016. They fit those jobs to a T. But to proudly announce that they are the LP’s ideal would-be-legislators, in a context that should leave legislation to the grinds and the plodders with the discipline for legislation, speaks of a party that has been hollowed-out and desperate.
Indeed, those two are the apt description of the LP – hollowed-out and desperate. And many Filipinos know, precisely, what is at the root of its desperation.
Now, it is uncommon for a political party that is at the lead of governing political coalition to be desperate. It holds most of the levers of political power. With its tight grip on the state’s resources, it could very well prepare for the smooth transition to another presidential victory in 2016. Right now, however, the LP is not acting as the lead party of the ruling coalition, but a beleaguered, minority party. It is, for all intents and purposes, acting like a major party with an uncertain future. Or, a dominant party that will most likely go the way of the KBL of the Lakas-NUCD.
You know why? The party is about to confront the 2016 election and it is deeply troubled by the lack of a viable presidential candidate. Not one in the pool of names mentioned as presidential wannabes, according to all the polls, can win the presidency.
There are really scary scenarios post the 2016 elections: an LP without an Aquino, Part 2, and with a presidential candidate crushed at the polls.
If there is any proven formula for implosion, that is it, a drubbing at the polls.
Mr. Roxas, preferred by the LP establishment as the candidate in 2016, has discouraging poll numbers. All the mainstream surveys say he would lose. His polling figures have been constant: they say that he is between a low single digit and low double digit, with three to four others on top of him. Surprising in many ways because Mr. Roxas has an impressive CV and he has the full backing of the ruling coalition.
With Mr. Roxas’s presidential ambition sputtering, the next option is to draft Ms. Poe as the LP candidate. But then again, Ms. Poe has declared, time and again, her non-candidacy and lack of preparedness. If she is a woman of her word, she would do an Elizabeth Warren, which is to reject all draft proposals to challenge Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.
Poe, with her declared non-interest in seeking the presidency, cannot back out of her words unscathed. If she runs, her playing coy a few months back would definitely haunt her.
After Mr. Roxas and Ms. Poe, no other name can be put forward by the LP. It has the depth of the Philadelphia 76ers, one of the kulelats in the current NBA season.
After one or two names, the second name, Poe, a non-LP at that, the LP will have to scratch at the bottom of the barrel for a viable presidential candidate. It has a bench with no depth, which is a pity for a party that leads the ruling coalition. But that is not the most pathetic part in the LP’s current saga.
President Aquino is wont to speak about the need for his replacement that will continue his supposed “reforms” and his supposed crusade against corruption. That is just like saying voters should not vote for the LP standard bearer in 2016.
His supreme belief in himself and in his legacy, sadly, is not shared by those who intend to vote for president in 2016. By rejecting his candidate, the voters, the adults who decide on most issues about our democracy, are in a sense rejecting his claim of good stewardship.