Will it be P-Noy plus V-Nay or P-Noy vs V-Nay?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-06-17

TJ Manotoc of ABS-CBN should take a bow for that V-Nay inspiration he suggested for Vice President-elect Jojo Binay which complements President-elect Noynoy Aquino’s P-Noy. P-Noy and V-Nay will make the two top executives of the country seem more familiar and closer to the people.

Political analyst Ramon Casiple had warned last weekend about the developing tension between P-Noy and V-Nay owing to pressures emanating from P-Noy’s Liberal Party (LP). Mon Casiple cited the LP pressure on P-Noy not to allow V-Nay to assume the post of DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) Secretary which V-Nay had earlier requested.

As of this writing, P-Noy has not ruled out V-Nay for the DILG post. To appreciate this issue, we have to see it from both the side of the LP and V-Nay.

For the LP, the DILG post is too powerful a political department to give to the leader of another political party. Setting aside the pressure against V-Nay that is reportedly being exerted on P-Noy by the embittered Mar Roxas camp — the LP apprehension about giving the DILG post to V-Nay is valid. The LP has to protect the party’s interests in the forthcoming political battles of 2013 and 2016. V-Nay in DILG would be a tremendous boost for the PDP-Laban and Pwersa ng Masa coalition.

For V-Nay, the DILG post is his comfort zone. It was as a Makati City local government executive where he made his bones and carved his name in Philippine political history. Makati City had catapulted him to the Vice Presidency. V-Nay has a good reason to feel uncomfortable in another cabinet post where he does not have the necessary preparation. He did express willingness though to accept another portfolio.

The attraction in putting V-Nay in the DILG post is that it is a vital development spearhead agency and few can match V-Nay’s credentials for the post of DILG Secretary. His “Ganito kami sa Makati (This is how we are in Makati)” campaign theme had caught the imagination of the nation. V-Nay as DILG Secretary will further excite Filipinos as to what are in store for them in the P-Noy presidency. Few will argue that V-Nay will be a big asset as DILG Secretary to the P-Noy administration.

P-Noy finds himself in a very difficult situation when he decides whether to appoint V-Nay to the DILG post or to follow the wishes of his party. P-Noy is pressured from so many points, as follows:

1. There is the pressure of how his defeated running mate Mar Roxas will feel about the V-Nay appointment. Being the good friend that he is, P-Noy has been bending over backward for Mar since Mar’s defeat became evident.

2. There is the pressure from the LP. As a good LP man, P-Noy feels obligated to promote LP political interests. If P-Noy accommodates V-Nay’s request, it will be like going against the wishes of your family when filling a key top management position in the family corporation.

3. There is the pressure from the many who voted for a Noy-Bi (Noynoy Aquino-Jojo Binay) tandem. Many of the Noy-Bi voters are Coryistas and it will be politically counterproductive for P-Noy to ignore them.

4. There is the pressure that will be created if V-Nay is pushed to being an opposition to the P-Noy administration, instead of being an ally. If this happens, it will be a political tragedy because V-Nay has been a long time friend and ally of the Aquino family. It’s bad enough to have political enemies. It’s tragic when a friend and an ally becomes your political opponent.

V-Nay as a rallying figure for the new opposition will pose a serious threat to P-Noy for the simple reason that the Vice President is second in the Constitutional line of succession. During President’s Cory’s time, the coup attempts became more intense after her vice president felt alienated and became adversarial. It has never been established if Doy Laurel was ever a coup conspirator but the intensity of the coup threats did escalate after Doy shifted to being in the opposition.

Setting aside the political reasons and ramifications, perhaps P-Noy should simply focus on what is in the best interest of the Filipino people when he finally decides how he will deal with his vice president. National interest should take top priority over the political interests of the Liberal Party and the personal feelings of Mar Roxas.

In deciding how to deal with his vice president, P-Noy may want to ponder on the following:

1. How will the nation react to a decision that accommodates V-Nay’s request or denies it?

2. Will Filipinos be better served if V-Nay sits as DILG Secretary or if V-Nay is assigned to another department?

3. Does it advance the reform agenda of the P-Noy administration or hinder it if V-Nay is kept as an ally or transformed into an opposition rallying point?

The LP, Mar Roxas and V-Nay should undertake soul searching when they determine their courses of action in this looming political showdown and be guided by what will truly best serve the Filipino people. The irony of their situation is that they’re all supposed to be friends of P-Noy.

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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