Koko crosses his Rubicon
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-07-03
Senator Koko Pimentel must have done his father Nene proud. Nene Pimentel never hesitated to take the inconvenient principled stand. Nene gained the image of a maverick because he will go against the majority if he thinks he’s right. Koko proved that he’s a chip off the old block.

Despite the pressures that old ties with the Estradas and the Binays imposed, with no certainty as to how he would now campaign for reelection — Koko opted to make a principled stand and refused to stand on the same ticket with ousted (pre-empted by resignation) senator Migz Zubiri. When Koko announced his decision, there was neither an accord nor preliminary meeting with the administration party. You can liken Koko to an employee with scruples who resigned from a dubious company even if there was no guarantee of another job.

In a letter sent to UNA’s (United Nationalist Alliance) Joseph “Erap” Estrada last June 28, Koko said: “My conscience says it would be inconsistent with my concept of what is right and wrong if I ran on the same ticket under UNA. I protested against Migz for cheating me in many parts of the country especially in Maguindanao.”

On Facebook, Koko became the darling of many Filipinos who crave for principled leaders, leaders willing to take a principled stand and face an uncertain future because of their choice. Several folks were even suggesting that Koko be developed as the successor of President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) in 2016. On the given that the Liberal Party (LP) is perceived as lacking a viable 2016 presidential candidate, that Vice President (VP) Jojo Binay might start losing ground because of these recent UNA developments and the fact that Filipinos reject perceived traditional politicians — the proposition of a Koko for 2016 president cannot be discounted.

Koko didn’t abandon his party, the PDP-Laban. His party abandoned him when they allowed Estrada to recruit Zubiri. If Koko runs with P-Noy’s 2013 senate ticket, that would carry the color distinction of black knights versus white knights, with the UNA seen as the dark forces of distrusted traditional politics and P-Noy’s coalition seen as the white forces seeking to undertake meaningful reform. Filipinos see traditional politicians as self-serving. They become richer in public office while the poor become poorer.

Individually, the UNA senatorial lineup may seem to have “better name recall” but name recall isn’t the only factor. If people recall your name because of an unsavory association with it, then name recall works against you. If your name is Mitos Magsaysay, linked with Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and all her transgressions, and Migz Zubiri, linked with alleged poll fraud — your recall is negative and you’ll likely fail to get the votes to win.

If P-Noy’s team, admittedly less known individually, are seen as the white knights of Philippine politics — their positive theme can overcome the name recall factor. The 1987 senatorial elections between the GAD (Grand Alliance for Democracy) and President Cory Aquino’s LABAN senatorial candidates proved that. Only 2 GAD candidates (Joseph Estrada and Juan Ponce-Enrile) won versus the 22 winning candidates of Cory. Many of the GAD senatorial were old names in politics.

The public distrust for traditional politicians is not a recent development. It may look like that to those who are 30 years of age or younger because in our country there is no appreciation of history, even our contemporary history. In China, the Chinese youth are aware of the trauma following the Boxer Rebellion of the early 20th century. Here, our youth hardly knows Ninoy Aquino and how his sacrifice restored democracy through his widow, Cory. We are constantly raped because we cannot remember the trauma and the person responsible for violating us.

When Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law on September 21, 1972, he was smart to promote it as the means to remove the oligarchy (traditional politicians). That’s one major reason why the New Society enjoyed public support during the first two years of martial law. Filipinos then were willing to try martial law if that’s what it took to remove the oligarchs. Alas, it turned out that Marcos was just out to establish his own set of oligarchs to replace the old. Our country went from bad to worse and the Marcos legacy of plunder and abuse of power haunts us to this day.

VP Jojo Binay should reevaluate the company he keeps and the forces that they have been recruiting in UNA. Some of his closest friends are very disappointed with this latest development regarding Mitos Magsaysay and Migz Zubiri, and how VP Binay had allowed old consistent allies like the Pimentels to be sacrificed for the garbage that they acquired.

This Mitos Magsaysay even had the gall and the temerity to say that former senator Jun Magsaysay was being drafted by the administration to scuttle her senatorial campaign. She does not hold a candle to Jun Magsaysay. She’s not even a Magsaysay and is just married to one while Jun is the son of beloved President Ramon Magsaysay — whose good name Jun preserved and added to.

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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