Desperate times call for desperate measures.
They apparently do, just like in the case of Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, an independent vice presidential candidate in the 2016 elections, who seemed to have decided to sleep with the enemy.
Escudero, running mate of Sen. Grace Poe, was reported to have recently forged an “unholy alliance” with two perceived Left-leaning groups in exchange for P70 million, which would bankroll a demolition job against a top rival for the second-highest post in the land.
The target Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is supposed to be brought down by “any form of propaganda” (the blacker, the better, thank you very much) to stop the former governor of Ilocos Norte province in the “Solid North” from knocking at the gates of Malacañang.
A source named “Heart” has told The Manila Times that Escudero approved both giving around P50 million to the Koalisyong Makabayan or KM and around P20 million to Sanlakas, thus, the total of P70 million for the smear campaign against Marcos, who, as of this week, is “statistically tied” with Escudero in at least one survey as the voters’ preferred Vice President.
KM takes charge of party-list candidates of the so-called reaffirmist or RA in the Philippine Left in the May polls this year.
RA sides with the views, analysis and strategy and tactics mouthed by the “reestablished” Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), whose alleged chairman is Jose Ma. Sison, a.k.a Armando Liwanag, who has long been on self-imposed exile in The Netherlands.
The CPP was “reestablished” by Sison in 1968 supposedly in Pangasinan province to shake off the “revisionism” of the “old” communist party founded in 1930 and led by Jose Lava.
Sanlakas, meanwhile, is the voice of the so-called rejectionist or RJ in the local leftist movement.
Headed by Lidy Nakpil, it opposes the views, analysis, strategy and tactics of the CPP under Sison.
For one, it considers passé the Maoist line of encircling the cities from the countryside, believing that parliamentary struggle can actually be pursued simultaneously with guerrilla warfare.
The law does not prevent Escudero from doing political business with any group, but, in apparently risking it by resorting to what “Heart” called a ”desperate move” to buy off electoral support from the leftist radicals, he may just have shot himself in the foot.
The reason why he would bleed for nothing is that the Koalisyong Makabayan and the Sanlakas and the votes that each group’s masa will have cast are going to cancel each other out in the 2016 elections.
The two Left-leaning groups will use the coming polls as nothing more than a platform for hitting at each other, not “politicizing” the masses, at the expense of Poe’s running mate, leaving Escudero in the cold.
Ang mamangka sa dalawang ilog, tiyak na lulubog (literally, “He who rows in two rivers, will surely sink”), or so a Filipino saying goes.
Conspiracy theory: This may be too much for a Yale alumnus to fathom or Escudero is just pretty naïve about the “united front” strategy and tactics of the Philippine Left.
Or, worse, he may just have been had for a cool P70 million.
The senator has neither confirmed nor denied the claim of “Heart.”
But Nathaniel Santiago, the secretary general of the Koalisyong Makabayan has denied and vehemently so the source’s story, calling it “pure lie.”
Santiago, who is described by RA sources as a “key person” in the pro-Sison camp, did not offer to tell what the unadulterated truth is.
When he was much younger, he was the chairman of the League of Filipino Students or LFS, and therefore should know his way around in the post-RA or post-RJ world.
Like Santiago, Leody de Guzman, national chairman of the labor organization Bukluran ng Manggagawa, and the first nominee of Sanlakas to the party-list elections, also denied knowing about the P20 million supposedly handed to Escudero’s camp.
That amount, according to “Heart,” was the product of negotiations between the senator’s men and the Sanlakas made possible by someone who has been an “activist” since the “First Quarter Storm” or FQS, as radicals of yesteryear referred to the first three months of 1970.
FQS was envisioned as a series of student-led uprisings that, with the help of the New People’s Army (NPA) streaming from the rural areas to the urban centers would culminate in a “people’s revolution” whose ultimate aim is the capture of the seat of power of the “bourgeoisie”– Malacañang.
Wishful thinking and it did not happen for various failings of “higher organs” in the communist hierarchy.
The “unholy alliance” is expected to stop Bongbong from easing Escudero out of the race for Vice President, unleash a campaign machinery that will steamroll that of Marcos and capture the supposedly wide base of voters of the Koalisyong Makabayan and Sanlakas.
For Escudero to realize these three objectives, he may need to raise the ante like he needs a hole in the head.