Is UNA feeling an impending doom?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-07-19
UNA (United Nationalist Coalition) senatorial candidate JV Ejercito, currently San Juan City Representative, floated a proposal last Monday to forge a super coalition with the administration for the 2013 senate race. To me this is nothing more than a manifestation of UNA feelings of impending doom in the 2013 midterm elections.

Six weeks ago, the UNA was being heralded as the new super party. All that changed when the NPC (Nationalist People’s Coalition) and NP (Nacionalista Party) decided to coalesce with the administration instead of UNA. The NPC and NP have at least four strong senate contenders — Senators Loren Legarda, Chiz Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano and Representative Cynthia Villar.

Your Chair Wrecker’s early fearless forecast, as expressed in my July 12 column (“Suddenly, the admin senate ticket looks awesome”), predicted that there would likely be at least 8 administration senate winners in the May 2013 elections. Other than the 4 strong bets from the NPC and the NP, former senator Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay, Bam Aquino, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Sen. Koko Pimentel are also seen as having excellent chances of winning. MTRCB (Movie and Television Rating and Classification Board) Chairman Grace Poe, Representatives Lorenzo Tanada and Jose Edgardo Angara are considered as viable contenders to land in the 9th to 12th senate slots.

Over at UNA, your Chair Wrecker sees only Sen. Gringo Honasan, Representatives Jack Enrile and JV Ejercito as competitive to the administration senate lineup. Thus, it’s not surprising that we earlier heard of Sen. Honasan being a possible UNA-Admin “adopted” candidate. This new proposal from Rep. JV Ejercito is an expanded version of that. If Honasan and Ejercito know their politics 101, they have good reasons to fear an admin landslide victory in the 2013 elections.

Of course, a popular administration’s midterm senate bets would always enjoy big advantages. There’s the advantage in machinery but more important than that — majority of Filipinos like what President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) has been doing and would likely support his senatorial candidates. P-Noy is expected to appeal to the 2013 voters to elect public officials who would share and support the nation’s aspirations for DAANG MATUWID (straight path).

Weighing down the UNA senate ticket is the garbage that they’ve collected — people closely allied with the unlamented president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) — in the persons of ousted senator Migz Zubiri and Rep. Mitos Magsaysay. The memories of the scandals of the GMA regime and its climate of impunity are still too fresh for Filipino voters to forget. In a way, the tremendous public support for the impeachment of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona is a manifestation of public sentiment that GMA must be held accountable for the way she mismanaged the country during her watch.

The reckless UNA decision to recruit Zubiri and Mitos Magsaysay injected the white knights (the administration and its DAANG MATUWID campaign) versus the black knights equation to the 2013 senate race. DAANG MATUWID is seen as the road to meaningful reform while UNA is seen as the threat to return to the days of plunder and impunity. This regrettable UNA recruitment policy is slowly undermining the 2016 presidential plans of Vice President (VP) Jojo Binay. The irony of Jojo Binay’s situation is that he was never allied with GMA and in fact was targeted by the GMA regime for removal as Makati City mayor.

Most of the Noy-Bi campaigners of 2010 are deeply disappointed to see the garbage that UNA had collected. Even if the recruitment of Zubiri and Mitos Magsaysay were the decisions of Pwersa ng Masa’s Joseph “Erap” Estrada, Jojo Binay could not avoid the negative fallout. It reeked of the “win at all cost” mentality of traditional politicians. You’ll read their sentiments being expressed all over social media. Per a recent report, social media is now enjoying over 50 percent national tracking, facilitated mainly by Internet cafes and mobile phones.

The deadliest force in Philippine politics is when the issues of a national election are summarized into an ideological battle. In the 1986 Presidential Snap Election, the battle was fought along the lines of good versus evil, democracy versus dictatorship — more than a choice between Ferdinand Marcos and Cory Aquino. In the phenomenal ascendancy of Noynoy Aquino to the presidency in 2010, people saw the equation as the Aquino brand of good governance versus the GMA climate of impunity. The recruitment of Zubiri and Mitos Magsaysay into UNA rekindled people’s sentiments during the 2010 presidential elections.

Your Chair Wrecker had warned VP Jojo Binay in past columns to immediately correct this sorry turn of events in UNA. Instead of thoroughly addressing it, he allowed it to fester and create wider fallout. Sen. Koko Pimentel’s principled stand to refuse running under UNA with Migz Zubiri reinforced the white knights versus the black knights perception that puts UNA at a great disadvantage.

VP Jojo Binay should assemble a political coalition that transmits an aura of being the high road to progress and meaningful change. UNA has impressed on the public mind that it’s the low road to the bad habits and cause trading of traditional politics that have brought our country down.

* * *

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

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