‘Same same’By Conrado de Quiros
Philippine Daily Inquirer
It gets weirder by the minute. To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, north is north and south is south, and ne’er the twain shall meet.
So it is at least for the “common candidates” of the Liberal Party (aka “Team PNoy”) and UNA, who are Chiz Escudero, Loren Legarda and Grace Poe. Both parties, such as they might be called that, are holding their proclamation rallies on Tuesday, Feb. 12, near enough to Valentine’s Day to suggest the candidates’ impending romance with, or wooing of, the voters. Except that the LP will hold its activity in Manila and UNA in Cebu.
In the case of UNA, the problem is just distance, however formidable that already is. Maybe if you chartered a Lear jet? UNA has invited all three “common candidates” to its proclamation; it’s just up to them if they want to go, or can manage to bridge the geographical divide. The LP/Team PNoy is more prissy, or jealous, and says it will not abide the “common candidates” falling into the arms of its rival. They may not, in the proclamation rally or any other rally, appear onstage with the UNA bets. On pain of being rendered uncommon.
They can’t, says LP spokesperson Erin Tañada. That was an agreement they had with P-Noy before they became common candidates. Miro Quimbo agrees: “It’s not a matter of someone being prevented from appearing in the activities of both sides or not. There was a specific agreement between adults, between mature political leaders. We need to be consistent on the message—the message of ‘matuwid na daan.’”
Can anything be more ridiculous? You want to be consistent about the message of “matuwid na daan,” which means you want to highlight the divide between those who hew to the honest path and those who don’t, which means you want to ram home the fundamental difference between the candidates of Team PNoy and those of UNA, why in God’s name have “common candidates”? How mature and adult can that be? That is its own refutation.
In fact, it’s just one of the things that highlight the fact that there’s really little, or no, difference between Team PNoy and UNA. It’s just one of the things that highlight the fact that except for the Communist Party and Kapatiran, we really do not have any real political parties in the sense of political organizations that command allegiance on the basis of philosophy or ideology rather than expedience or convenience. It’s just one of the things that highlight the fact that three years after an election that pitted good vs. evil, that pitted the corrupt vs. the honest, that was really an Edsa masquerading as an election, we’re back to traditional politics, or what is more aptly called “trapo.”
JV Ejercito hit the nail on the head when he proposed early on the simple creation of one “supra party” housing the candidates of the LP and UNA since UNA was a loyal oppositionist, anyway. Which the administration party promptly scoffed at and dismissed. The concept of being a loyal opposition Jojo Binay continues to press, even if his camp has abandoned the idea of a “supra party,” insisting on it only recently in reaction to Edwin Lacierda dissing of it. In fact, he says, they are P-Noy’s “true friend,” being willing to criticize while supporting his agenda and not just acting like sycophants.
But if true, then there’s an even better idea than just having one huge party. That is having no party at all. In fact, you can just list the names of all the senatorial candidates in alphabetical order independently of their party affiliations and it wouldn’t matter at all. Not in any substantive sense, not in any essential sense, not in the sense of what they really stand for. Let the voters just vote for them on the basis of their popularity or name recall.
The LP’s decision to call itself Team PNoy doesn’t make any sense, or serve any purpose. At the very least, if the point is to drive home the ideological divide, then why have “common candidates”? It subverts the principle completely. How can you have candidates you presume to hew to the “matuwid na daan” belonging also to the side you accuse of hewing only to the crooked path?
Quite apart from that, how can you associate P-Noy with the wife of his chief rival in the last presidential election, the one presidential candidate his camp accused of being epically corrupt? Who is Cynthia Villar. You can’t get a more graphic or literal contrast with daang matuwid than the detours Manny Villar created on C5 to favor his subdivisions. How can you associate P-Noy with the one person who brought his presumably idealistic group, the Magdalo, to throw in its lot with P-Noy’s chief rival and had the most unsavory things to say about the quality of P-Noy’s mind, or indeed his mental state? Who is Antonio Trillanes.
How can you associate P-Noy with the politics of expedience, if not opportunism? Which is what adding Jamby Madrigal to the team means, because of name recall—she was a senator once—instead of someone like Erin Tañada, who’s far more eminently qualified except that the surveys apparently said he wasn’t “winnable.” And now, irony of ironies, look at where Jamby is. P-Noy isn’t just the President’s name, it is also a brand name, one that emerged from the smoke of the 2010 election, one associated with honesty, integrity, decency. “Team PNoy”? It doesn’t raise the team to lofty heights, it sinks P-Noy to lowly depths.
No, at stake in the coming elections is not the victory of the daang matuwid over the daang baluktot, it is only the victory of Jojo Binay or Mar Roxas in the next presidential election. Or the possibility thereof, a victory of UNA being a blow for Binay and a victory of the LP, aka Team PNoy, being a blow for Roxas.
Who the hell cares about that?
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