The Liberal Party must play its cards right
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-06-03

Being the official political party of soon-to-be-proclaimed president Noynoy Aquino, the Liberal Party (LP) must plot its moves and political maneuvers very carefully. The LP members may think that they are in an enviable position but the reality is they could be more vulnerable than they are willing to accept.

The Aquino victory is largely owed to the people’s organizations, more than a victory of the LP. In fact, in many areas, the LP almost placed Aquino in jeopardy by insisting on fielding lightweights when the local heavyweights belonging to other parties or affiliations were already willing to support Aquino.

One such area where this happened was in vote rich Pangasinan province. Pangasinan governor Spine Espino was already set to support the Noynoy Aquino-Mar Roxas ticket after meeting with Noynoy’s relatives. But the LP leaders decided to field an LP candidate against Espino and his mayors. They did this mainly because they were pursuing accreditation by the Comelec (Commission on Elections) as the Dominant Minority Party.

The LP attempted to field as many candidates that it could. That would have been advisable if the LP candidates were competitive. But if their candidates happen to be lightweights, sure losers who will likely end up as sore losers, then it would have been better to ally with the stronger local force in order to ensure the two top national posts.

Having been challenged by the LP, Governor Espino was reportedly irritated and thus felt that he was no longer bound by his previous commitment to support an Aquino-Roxas ticket. It was then that Espino was convinced to opt to carry an Aquino-Binay (Noy-Bi) ticket in Pangasinan by the Noy-Bi promoters. Aquino won in Pangasinan by a big margin but Mar barely won by a whisker over Binay.

During the campaign, the big people’s organizations, notably the Noypi inspired by Conrad de Quiros, the NAPM (Noynoy Aquino for President Movement) and the PiNoy, found themselves at odds several times with LP planners in coordinating the sorties and other campaign activities. It came to a crucial point when the decision was finally reached that the Aquino campaign is first and foremost people-led — that the LP should just take a supporting role. That was one of the key moves that arrested the ratings slide of Aquino — from 60% to 36% — and allowed him to win the 2010 presidency.

Going into the next administration, the LP is a minority in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate. If the LP behaves like a bull in a china shop, then Noynoy Aquino will be seriously threatened and his reform agenda will be blocked. The LP must support Noynoy and avoid having to compel Noynoy to undertake damage control for LP blunders.

The power of the presidency is immense and Noynoy should be using this power to attract wide support for his reform agenda. It would be a waste of this power of the presidency if the main objective is diverted to merely promote the LP. It is Noynoy’s reform agenda that the people voted for. It is not to make the LP into another Marcos KBL (Kilusang Bagong Lipunan) super political party.

In both houses of congress, the LP must be reaching across the aisle for Noynoy Aquino. They should be avoiding friction with the other political groups which will distract Noynoy from his reform agenda in order to ease tensions and mend fences. The LP must work to facilitate for Noynoy and not be the cause of more Noynoy worries.

Like that of Cory Aquino, the Noynoy presidency is saddled with high expectations at a time when many Filipinos could not have been more desperate. The Aquino presidency cannot even look forward to the so-called First One Hundred Days Honeymoon Period where the new Chief Executive is allowed some slack to get to know the ropes.

The recent media bashing emanating from calls for Aquino to set the example in the anti smoking campaign is a good indication of how much pressure his presidency will be undergoing. Noynoy’s smoking habit was not even an issue during the election campaign and yet it had recently generated a lot of flak.

Can you imagine how much toxicity will be generated if the peso value sinks by 10% or if the prices of basic commodities suddenly rise by 15%? Can you imagine how Aquino’s political foes will jump at the opportunity to take advantage of the social unrest which diminished consumer purchasing power tends to spawn?

Can you imagine how the vultures who have plundered our country will take political advantage of the soon to mature CODE NGO Bonds where some of the Hyatt 10 members are known to be involved? The daughter of the late patriot Jose Wright Diokno made a documented expose of this CODE NGO Bonds issue. Go check whose names are listed on that document.

With all the plundered money that his political foes have at their disposal, Aquino will find the political ground under him undergoing liquefaction should Filipinos begin to perceive that are still corrupt public officials around.

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