Tuesday, September 25, 2018
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The Long View

Kilusang Bagong Hugpong

If you visit Binisaya.com, it has an interesting list of synonyms to explain the meaning of hugpong: “(noun) cabal, camarilla, faction, junto; a clique (often secret) that seeks power usually through intrigue; faction, sect; a dissenting clique; (verb) bind; stick to firmly.”

When President Marcos, taking a cue from the days of his youth during the Japanese occupation, proposed the abolition of parties and subsuming them into a broader movement to be called the New Society Movement, former speaker Jose B. Laurel Jr. asked that their party, the Nacionalistas, be allowed to “sleep.” Marcos acquiesced.

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The major opposition party, the Liberals, divided over whether to recognize and participate in the rigged martial law plebiscites, was inactive. This led to the creation of opposition alliances, such as Laban, and the growth of regional ones such as the Mindanao Alliance and Pusyon Bisaya. The trend to regionalize retail politics, and retain national parties as mere wholesale branding, began nearly two
generations ago.

As the metropolis coped with the recent rains and floods, Hugpong ng Pagbabago inked a pact with three national parties and six local ones. The three national parties are the Big Three of the corporate subsidiary parties: the Nacionalista Party of the real estate magnate Villars; the Nationalist People’s Coalition (itself a former wing of the NP) originally of Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., but now more realistically under the ambit of Ramon Ang; and the National Unity Party of port and gambling tycoon Enrique Razon.

The local parties are the Alyansa Bol-anon Alang sa Kausaban of Bohol of businessman Norris Oculam, the Aggrupation of Party for Progress in the Zamboanga Peninsula region of the Jalosjoses, the Ilocano Timpuyog of the Marcoses, the Kambilan in Pampanga of the Pinedas, the PaDayon Pilipino in Northern Mindanao of the Elipes, and the Serbisyo Para sa Bayan Party of the Belmontes.

Some of these party leaders, of course, straddle both the national and local stages, such as Imee Marcos, who is also a Nacionalista, and Joy Belmonte (whose father most recently joined the Liberal Party in 2010).

The group announced that it will put forward a slate of eight senators plus four guest candidates for the midterm elections next year. Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, however, told the press that her father, the President, has “nothing to do” with the party, since he remains chairman of PDP-Laban (though on Aug. 17, the President will attend the oath-taking of new Hugpong members in Davao).

Hugpong, of course, was originally a city party, but as Mayor Sara puts it, it became a regional party because of interest from Mindanao leaders during her father’s presidency. It gained national attention when disgruntled national and regional players offended by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President Koko Pimentel’s party decisions made the irritated political players gravitate toward Mayor Sara, who had her own bone to pick with Alvarez.

Perceptions of having been instrumental in toppling Alvarez from the speakership made members of the ruling coalition want to formalize the new management. Within a couple of days of the political quake in the House of Representatives, which led to the speakership of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Ace Barbers of NP and Winston Castelo of PDP-Laban both told reporters their parties were, of course, eager to coalesce with Hugpong. Yesterday, the NP did it; for PDP, some housekeeping seems to be necessary.

PDP-Laban met with the President last Aug. 10, with the chief executive telling them to unite and so on. One faction is identified with a lawyer named Rogelio Garcia, often described as a classmate of the President (who convened an assembly that removed both Alvarez and Pimentel from their party positions and made Bong Go party auditor last July 27); another faction is with Pimentel. There were, of course, the factions that mattered in the news, under former speaker Alvarez, and new Speaker Arroyo. The President will meet PDP-Laban again on Sept. 1.

The Davao mayor also announced she would not run for the Senate. Which makes sense. No one else is trusted by the President to mind the shop at home; the risk of leaving the home turf in someone else’s hands is too great. And it is entirely possible that, if the leading lights of the ruling coalition—the Marcoses, Estradas, Arroyos—are any guide, the presidency may come and go, but the home base must remain eternal.

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mlquezon3@gmail.com

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TAGS: Ferdinand Markos, HNP, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, imee marcos, KBL, Kilusang Bagong Hugpong, Manuel L. Quezon III, pdp-laban, political alliances, political parties, Sara Duterte, The Long View
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