The three ‘ronins’ mark decay of Philippine political system


This has never happened before, and something like this would be laughed at if it happened in any other presidential system in the world.

Three senators – Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., Antonio Trillanes 3rd, and Alan Peter Cayetano – have declared or will be declaring that they are running for vice president in next year’s elections as “independents.” That’s a very kind term for what they are: candidates who either have been rejected by viable presidential candidates (in Cayetano and Trillanes’ case) or “cant’ get along” with one (Marcos, apparently).

Their desperation for a higher post is pathetic.

One word that describes them best is that old Japanese term from the feudal era for masterless samurai warriors – ronins. Romantic as that may sound, remember that the Japanese equivalent of the mafia, the Yakuza, traces its origin to ronin.

Where are they getting the gall to ask us, the voters, to elect them to the second highest office of the land, or become de facto President in the event of death, resignation, or removal from office of the elected President, who dislikes them and with whom they disagree on basic principles of governance?

They are exploiting our broken political system, for all or one of the following ulterior, selfish motives:

• To feed their inflated egos, especially in Trillanes’ and Cayetano’s cases, by elevating themselves to a higher post – that of the vice presidency;

• To use the vice presidency to heighten their name-recall, before they aim for the Presidency in 2022; and

• As an excuse to get funds from businessmen, a big part of which they’d just use for their own personal savings.

“Master less”? Marcos, Cayetano, and Trillanes

“Master less”? Marcos, Cayetano, and Trillanes

There is, of course, another major reason for running as Vice President: If anything happens to the President, they’d be winning the political equivalent of the lotto, and in this case – given the average lifespan of Filipinos – the odds aren’t really too high.

The US learned early enough in its history – in 1804 to be precise – that its previous system of declaring the winning candidate with the most number of votes as the President and the runner-up as Vice President, would result in a President and a Vice President coming from opposing parties. That could increase the likelihood of continuous infighting in the highest levels of government. The 12th amendment to the US Constitution was passed in 1804, which, through a complex system of electoral colleges of electors, made voters choose only the President, who designates his vice presidential candidate.

By making it a “package-deal” of sorts, that they vote for the President with his Vice President, this system made sure that the vice presidency would be treated as a serious, crucial post, and the Vice President would have all – or at least most – of the qualifications for replacing the President. Isn’t that a necessary requirement to ensure the continuity of a Republic in case its President is incapacitated?

The other benefit of such a system is that taxpayers’ money and talent are not wasted. Since the Vice President really fulfills his job description only when the President is incapacitated, he is given other crucial tasks “in the meantime” – a Cabinet post, and under the US Constitution the Senate president, although a non-voting one.

In our case, the warning that our system of direct vote for the President and the Vice President could be a big problem occurred in 1957, when for the first time, the vice presidential candidate of the Liberal Party, Diosdado Macapagal, won although it was the opposing Nacionalista Party’s Carlos P. Garcia who was elected President.

The decision of President Cory Aquino and the drafters of the 1987 Constitution not to revive the pre-martial law two-party system meant in practice that parties no longer mattered, only personalities.

That became the norm for the election of Presidents and Vice Presidents from opposing coalitions during the polls.

Losing presidential candidate Eduardo Cojuangco’s running mate, Joseph Estrada, won as Vice President in 1992. The winner, President Fidel Ramos, however, tried to make use of him, and appointed him as his anti-crime czar, a practice his successors followed. Losing presidential candidate Jose de Venecia’s VP running mate, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, won in 1998, and was given the post of social welfare and development secretary by Joseph Estrada.

Only the victory of Arroyo and her running mate, Noli de Castro, in 2004 broke that dominant pattern of post-martial law national elections. In 2010, Jejomar Binay, the guest candidate of losing candidate Estrada, won as Vice President, and was given the post of chairman of the Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council.

Did this mean that our system worked, that presidents and vice presidents of opposing parties worked harmoniously? Certainly not, it was more of that Machiavellian keep-your-enemies-close-to-you idea. Worse, it lulled us into thinking that nothing’s wrong with our system of choosing the highest two officials of the land.

What all these meant was that for the winning Vice President, it didn’t matter who won the Presidency. Something’s deeply wrong with that, a prescription for continuous infighting at the highest levels of our government.

This is especially so as celebrity politics – the power of name recall – without the gauntlet of a party system to expose their idiocy, now tends to make it easier for demagogues and celebrities to get votes in national elections. We may yet see the day when the likes of Kris Aquino, Vice Ganda, or Yaya Dub become Vice President.

After all, their “pakiusap” will not be for you to vote them to the presidency, but “just” to the vice presidency, which is what Marcos, Cayetano, and Trillanes, and Leni Robredo are really all asking you to do.

The three ronins have taken the post-martial law pattern to its most absurd level: They’ll run for Vice President, the heck with whoever wins the presidency.

Isn’t it so pathetic for Cayetano and Trillanes – who served Aquino well as his attack dogs against Binay – to be rejected by him, and then run for Vice President without a presidential running mate? For Marcos it is a tragedy: Obviously he hasn’t got the political smarts his father had.
FB: Bobi Tiglao


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  1. VP candidates ChizwEz, LeniRob, Cayetanas andTrliling lump together will share the stray votes. Bongbong Marcos will capture the solid vote of a winner.

  2. Please for once, let us stop the politics of crab mentality. The yellows have practised this evil crab mentality technique since 1986 and look at where it brought our country. Leni Robredo must be elected for her achievements and not based on necropolitics as has been the practice of the yellows. If we want to promote Leni Robredo, let us just explain why she is qualified for the job and not put down the other candidates. The choice must be based on achievements and not on crab mentality-putting-down-opponents technique which is the oldest and most boring trick in the book. It has been done since 1986. Tama na! Sobra na! Itakwil na ang style na bulok!

  3. Do we still have distinct political parties?

    As,far as I know, almost all of the parties we have were allies of LP. Even the self-proclaimed “opposition party” like UNA also teamed up with LP in raiding the public coffers. They did not oppose PNoy when they’re got bribed. They even allow themselves to be bought to convict CJ Corona, and to railroad BBL.

    Even some “independent” parties get their funding from larger and more powerful parties like LP

  4. Poe and Binay are would be President that has 95% chance of just staying in the office for two years, Chiz, BBM, Cayetano and Trillanes are all thinking the same thing, it would have been easier if Rody decides to run for President or if our media gave Bongbong a fair chance but they already shut the door on a fourth Presidential candidate.

  5. A ronin is a samurai without a master. So what do you call a master like Binay who cannot whom no samurai wants to serve?

  6. BBM saw the opportunity to win considering that the 4 Bicolanos will be fighting it out for the region’s votes. Honasan’s candidacy was probably made to further dilute the Bicolano vote. I won’t be surprised if this was Binay’s plan all along.

  7. Rotten political system. The good has no chance, the bad and the ugly will win. May be Duterte has a chance if the voters are not blinded by the almighty Pesos. But ultimately the Pecos and the pesos will determine the winner. Good God help the Filipino people.

  8. baka manalo si llamazares. tapos ma impeach dahil sa falsified birth cert. eh di yung nanalong vp ang magiging pres.

  9. Among klaseng liderato kamo meron ang NP? Que horror. Tama bang katwiran na lahat sila may layang tumakbo? Dyan pa lang makikita mo na walang unity ang partido nila. Mga panggulo lang sa laban tong tatlong itlog na to!

  10. The three “National Prostitutes” coming from the Nacionalista Party (NP) are CLOWNS and not samurais.

    They are unfit as akin to “ronins.” They bring dishonor and national shame to their party (which allowed them to be PROSTITUTES) – that is all there is to it.

  11. Your article mentioned that in a democratic system of gov’t , ” that in case a President becomes incapacitated where he cannot perform his duty which what exactly happened to the late former President Marcos who was very sick with kidney failure if we follow what the P)hilippine Constitution says, then Vice President Arturo M. Tolentino should have been installed to take the position as President of the Philippines , instead of Cory Aquino, when she was not democratically elected by the majority of Filipinos but dictated by 1% selected few powerful influential elite rich and oligarchs. Asking why that was not followed, instead it was violated ?

    • to correct that anomalous situation, the yellow army declared a revolutionary gov’t. and replaced the marcos constitution with the cory constitution which is the one creating all our problems today.

  12. I’d like to correct Leodegardo’s statement that “dialect-related” voting will matter in 2016. He seems to believe that Bicolano, Bisaya, and Ilokano are “dialects.” Obviously they are separate LANGUAGES, not “dialects.” This piece of misinformation comes from the false idea propagated by so-called “Filipino Nationalists” that we have only one language and the other incomprehensible speech are just debased dialects. Unfortunately tens of millions of Filipinos have been raised up believing in this lie. We have eight major languages, of which Bisaya-cebuano has the largest number of native speakers

  13. basta kami solid ang support kay bongbong marcos dahil alam namin na sya ay isang mabuting tagapaglingkod ng ating inang bayan…..trillanes,honasan?, mga mapanlinlang lang ang mga yan.kunwari napakamakabayan nila pero sa kislap ng salapi ay nalulusaw ang pagkamakabayan nila.

  14. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Then comes the block and dialect related voting where we have the Ilocanos, Pangasinenses, Tagalogs, warays, etc. weighing in. If Bongbong can still muster the Ilocano votes or the solid north, then he has an edge over the rest who are not having a solid base the Bicolanos, as the four of them will be trying each to cut a big slice. Well what a way to elect even the head of the state with a plurality not a majority. This is the result of putting in an incompetent and inexperience president. God bless the Philippines.

    • Apart from Ilocanos, majority of the 10 million OFWs are for Bongbong Marcos for his concern about the balikbayan boxes being opened in the customs and taxes imposed to them. Above all, he is the best among the candidates performance wise. Marcos will surely win !

  15. There is a saying that:”the filipinos deserved the government that they have” But of course, this refers to the majority that decides the outcome of an elections. A society that deserves a good government in a democracy must have a majority of well educated voters. Not only be able to read or write, but must possesed with a critical mind to confont its government,its leaders, the business, the newspapers, and columnist as well. We have not yet attained that degree of social stage. The realities of politics in the Philippines need these young men who ave the stature and resources demanded by the majority.Our columnists who articulate our most ideal dreams are being awaited to run for an elective position to test their thoughts.

  16. If and when Trillanes or Honsasan wins, the President elect (whoever he is) should double his security. These 2 are thugs and either may stage a coup or arrange the assasination of the President. If successful, that would make them the President.

    • Jose A. Oliveros on

      I disagree. If either Trillanes or Honasan wins, the winning presidential candidate will have peace of mind. Reason: both of them led unsuccessful coup d’etat. To borrow the picturesque language of Manila Times columnist Bono Adaza, Trillanes and Honasan are “geniuses for failure.”

  17. Ang masakit kay Marcos,naghahanap siya ng partido na susuporta sa kanya ngunit,masyadong mga sigurista ang mga ito,kaya kahit sarili niyang partido ay iniisnab siya.makakapit lang mga ito sa popularidad ni grace poe, Mga wala talagang maaasahan sa ating mga politiko,puro pangsarili lang nilang pakinabang,dahil bawat isa sa kanila ay may negosyong pinoprotektahan.Kitang-kita mo sa kanila ang pagkagahaman sa pakinabang hindi para sa bayan.

  18. “As an excuse to get funds from businessmen, a big part of which they’d just use for their own personal savings.” Nahihibang at naive na lang siguro ang mga businessman na magbibigay ng pera kina Trillanes at Cayetano. Parang kumuha ng martilyo ang businessman na pinukpok sa sariling ulo.

  19. I can understand your your ‘dislike’ for BBM as I was not born yesterday. But, realistically, who among those your mentioned tops as far as leadership and qualifications are concerned. His namesake might have had many ‘enemies’, but here’s one who had no choice for parents, just like anyone else. He has been an executive and legislator, as Vice-Governor, Governor, Congressman and Senator.

    Whether we like it or not, the called ‘solid north’ still exists in his favor; he has strong family and political ties in the Visayas, and, he has the support of ‘strongman’ Duterte in Mindanao. He has LuzViMinda!

    Veep BBM 2016!

    • I agree to you Mr. P. Akialamiro. Ferdinand, Jr. will win. He deserve to win. He’s been in service to the Filipino for many years. His ability, knowledge and love for the Filipino has already been tested.

    • Nonesense. He could have not landed into any government position had his surname is not Marcos. Last time I recall, he cannot even present his college diploma.

    • and I agree of you both, guys…

      i’m from leyte… and maxadong malakas dito ang DUTERTE-MARCOS tandem..

  20. that only shows how rotten the filipino people are as an electorate. an independent country since 1898, we are never as matured as we think we are. we keep reinventing the wheel to no avail by voting the same people over and over again. the same family over and over again. the same corrupt individuals over and over again. sure, there’s more fun and more money in the philippines. but guess what. we let these same people whom we elected slice the cake among themselves. and the filipino people? they are left to feast on the crumbs left behind.

  21. Ronaldo Valdes on

    How about this.. Pacquio is now running for Senate… What a joke …He is non existence as a Congressman.. and What did he accomplished as a congressman… Please name just One…Does he really believe he is qualified…or he thinks we are all morons and will vote for him..I do respect him as a boxer, please tell him just retire from his profession as a boxer and enjoy his Millions..If he really wants to help filipinos he can create foundation and contribute… Anybody that vote for him is either a moron or stupid.

    • I agree and they who voted for him as congressman in his province shows how moronic they are. the guy is also illiterate. he has a fake college diploma and worst of morons is the AFP made him as a reserved officer in the army without any training or diploma. morons still a lot in our population. lol.

    • You’re right Mr. Tiglao. Madaling maintindihan ng mga tao at sino man ang pagtakbo ng tatlo. First to protect their interest, 2nd is testing the water – for their ambition to become president one day and good opportunity to make money not to mention it will make their CV look impressive. This is no different from other countries. I would rather have this kind of system than dictatorial state like North Korea. The good thing about being a democratic country is exactly what you see that everyone is free to comment and/or criticize candidates. I am sure these people when elected are accountable. Our government system is not perfect but you’ll see politicians getting charged and jailed for wrong doing. For sure our system and candidates or leaders are getting better and we need to spread the words that we are indeed getting better as a country and people because there are a lot of negative impressions spread out there which is not good for the entire nation.
      On Manny running for Senate, that’s his right and he is qualified. We should not be judgmental on his capabilities. He’ll have people around him to give advise. For a high school graduate and hearing his responses from Karen Davila I am impress. He knows BBL and what it takes to lift the standard of living in Mindanao.

    • Really, I hate to say this, but majority of our kababayans are idiots when choosing their leaders. Serve the people? Honestly? Pakyaw, hanggang boxing lang alam mo.

  22. Forget about the romantic notion of ronins. The three seem more like the Tatlong Itlog than anything else.

    • Correct! but reserve that other itlog to their companion senator in the Binay (balut/penoy) investigation!