The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has a surplus of applicants for its 2013 senatorial slate with Jack Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Gwen Garcia, Dick Gordon, Ernesto Maceda, Mitos Magsaysay, Koko Pimentel, Joey de Venecia and Migz Zubiri being mentioned in its preliminary roster. UNA also boasts of a formidable troika composed of Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and former President Joseph Estrada. UNA may sense a 2013 victory at hand because, in stark contrast, the ruling Liberal Party (LP) has only four “senatoriables” so far—and they don’t possess the electoral assets of UNA’s prospective bets in terms of national exposure, name recognition and vote-delivery capabilities.
Why isn’t the “LP edge” drawing more “senatoriables”? It could be because 2013 isn’t a presidential election. Also, since Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas seems preordained as the 2016 LP presidential bet, candidates seeking inclusion must be acceptable to Roxas, discouraging many prospects. But some feel that Roxas isn’t destined to win. Others fear that leftist elements are too dominant in the LP coalition. All these suggest that the LP may not be able carry its 2013 or 2016 slates to victory.
Thus, many political dynasties gravitate to UNA to keep options open for 2016.
Still, this situation could be an opportunity for the LP. As more traditional politicians migrate to UNA, it can tap “clean” and credible personalities from the private sector and performing LGUs into its 2013 Senate ticket and thus gain momentum for the 2016 presidential race. A 2013 LP slate with business savvy and non-trapo credentials can attract voters, especially the youth: if the LP ruling coalition funds such a ticket, it can decisively win the 2013 contest against the UNA trapos.
Come 2016 the LP, as the party with the muscle of incumbency and the “Daang Matuwid” promise, can mobilize many uncommitted sectors alienated by the present political system to become more proactive in the electoral process.
Many sectors are beginning to realize that for evil to triumph, the good need only be inactive. The fact that most Filipinos support a Corona conviction is a clear sign that politics-as-usual may be reaching its long-awaited end. On the religious front, Christian sects, Catholic groups and Muslim believers are starting to coalesce and become politically proactive, either as a party-list or by supporting specific candidates. Businessmen express a growing appreciation of the palpably diminished corruption in government. There are also movements for OFW reintegration and rural entrepreneurship, which indicate a nation on the verge of major change. And if savvy operators can properly harness today’s converging computer and telecom technologies, Filipinos may rise to another level in the exercise of People Power.
Today offers a tremendous opening for change. Will the LP leaders grab it? If not, then the Philippines will surely see a 2013 victory for UNA because the LP will lose by default.