Archive for manny villar

Noynoy Aquino Did Not Become A Hostaged President

Posted in Governance, Politics and Politicians with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2010 by Ruffy Biazon

Politics is a realm that neither political analysts nor fortune tellers can accurately predict the outcome. The reality is that the outcomes are determined by the interests of the politicians which they hold dearly to themselves as a poker player would his cards. Anlaysts can only do an educated speculation, fortune tellers can only do blind guesses.

Politicians’ interests and game plans may change as the seasons do, depending on the situations during a particular time, or the convenience at that moment. That makes them unpredictable, which is sometimes a necessity in the cut-throat world that they move around in.

I am happy to admit that one analysis I made while in the thick of the campaign of the last national and local elections did not materialize into reality. Yes, I’m happy that it did not materialize. That analysis, which I posted in my blog ( Noynoy Aquino Could Be a Hostaged President ), pictured a scenario where both chambers of the Philippine Congress are dominated by opponents of Aquino, with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo heading the House of Representatives and Manny Villar leading the Senate.

The basis of that analysis is the fact that both politicians had a good number of allies (at that time, at least) that should have been enough for them to take hold of the helm in their respective chambers. That, combined with the usual expectation for politicians of such stature to crave for the post of top banana and the craving to get back at political opponents, served as the foundation of the analysis.

But to my surprise, neither seemed to have exerted effort not exhibited the desire to make life difficult for the new president. Perhaps the overwhelming mandate and the people’s high trust and confidence in President Aquino was enough to dissuade them. Or they lost their allies to political expediency, each of them characteristically looking out for their own interests. Or, uncharacteristically for politicians, they both lost the desire for power and the need to get back at their rival.

I am thankful to Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Sen. Manny Villar for not acting like typical traditional politicians. Ordinarily, one would expect a typical trapo to use the situation to get back at the opponent who defeated him or do everything to use the position to protect herself.

Whatever it is, I am just glad that President Noynoy Aquino enjoys the goodwill and support of both chambers. Both Houses have super majorities that support the President, led by personalities who have expressed cooperation, if not complete support, to the new administration.

Indeed, President Aquino is a blessed man. Not just because he won the Presidency in a relatively easy manner (considering that he decided to run just 5 months before the campaign began), but because as he begins his term of office, he has a high trust rating from his constituency and the support of the two chambers of Congress.

I pray that those around him will not waste this golden opportunity for the Philippines to be great again.

Justice in Agrarian Reform Includes Going After Illegal Conversions of Agrarian Land to Residential Subdivisions

Posted in Governance with tags , , , , on March 22, 2010 by Ruffy Biazon

It is worrisome to hear stalwarts of a rival political party express their eagerness to see a rushed distribution of Hacienda Luisita, particularly because of the incidence of illegal conversions of CARP farmlands into residential subdivisions such as the one discovered in Iloilo where large tracts of irrigated farm lands were alleged to be anomalously converted into a residential subdivision owned by a presidential candidate.

Hacienda Luisita is a prime piece of real estate, very much attractive to developers of commercial and residential projects. It is not surprising for developers to have a lustful eye on the property, considering the value that it has and the potential for development.

While members of some political parties expressed their concern about the Hacienda Luisita not being subject to land reform under an Aquino administration, there is also a serious basis to be concerned about illegal land conversions under and administration led by a real estate developer who has been linked to activities which have undermined the agrarian reform program.

The next administration should not only promote genuine agrarian reform, it should also be committed to protect the gains of agrarian reform and go against greedy land developers and run after those who have bamboozled farmer beneficiaries into selling their rights and illegally convert agrarian land to commercial and residential projects.

Contrary to what others seem to believe, the pursuit of justice in agrarian reform does not end with the distribution of Hacienda Luisita. It includes the prosecution of those who have been engaged in illegal conversion and the prevention of such schemes which undermine the agrarian reform program.

Noynoy Aquino Could Be A Hostaged President

Posted in Philippines and the Filipinos, Politics and Politicians with tags , , , , on March 19, 2010 by Ruffy Biazon

The campaign for national candidates is almost halfway through as we near the start of the campaign for local positions. At this time, there is an indication of how the results will turn out, although the remaining half of the campaign period may still see changes in the ratings of candidates. Therefore, it is important that during this time, an assessment of the candidates’ ratings and political parties’ campaign strategies and direction is in order.

Focusing on my own party, the Liberal Party, both our presidential and vice presidential candidates have consistently topped the surveys ever since they first announced their intentions to run for the posts they’re now candidates for.

In the Pulse Asia survey done from Feb.21 to 25, Senator Mar Roxas’ lead over his rival is comfortable, and it seems that the 16 percentage point spread is too big for the other candidates to have a real chance of catching up with in the remaining days of the campaign period. Senator Noynoy Aquino led Villar with a 36% versus 29% margin. After months of spending hundreds of millions (possibly even more than a billion pesos) in the past several months trying to catch up, Senator Villar is still second place with only a month and a half remaining. It seems that only a major blunder will make people change their minds about who to support for president in the coming elections.

With the prospect of an Aquino-Roxas victory more real than imagined, it becomes necessary now to do a post-election scenario analysis of what awaits an Aquino-Roxas administration. Of course, the significant scenario is one that will pertain to the Legislative branch of government, because the plans and programs of the president can only push through if there is support from the Congress.

Let me emphasize that this is a worst-case scenario analysis. Of course, it may turn out differently, but one never really makes plans using the best case scenario. In order to be effective and relevant, you always consider the prospect of the worst situation you can face.

With this in mind, I would venture to say that the House of Representatives seems to most likely become an Arroyo stronghold. With Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself running for a seat in the House, cabinet members seeking both congressional and party list seats, many more incumbent pro-administration congressmen seeking reelection, it stands to reason that the future Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has a very good chance of getting the Speakership of the House of Representatives at the maximum, or come up with a major bloc in the lower chamber, big enough to be a significant threat to launch an impeachment which requires only a third of the House membership.

That significant bloc will also have a very strong influence in how legislation will pass or not pass in the lower chamber. It will be an excruciating and tedious effort to get bills through the legislative mill in the House.

An Aquino-Roxas electoral victory will only mean that Senators Villar and Legarda will go back as members of the Philippine Senate. It is therefore necessary to play out the scenario in the upper chamber, since under the bicameral system of government, legislation is passed by both chambers before it become law.
In the senate, there are twelve senators who are now in their mid-term, and they are either up for re-election or at the end of their term in 2013 (with the exception of Sen. Noynoy Aquino, who we are assuming to have been elected president in this scenario):

1. Sen. Miguel Zubiri
2. Sen. Edegardo Angara
3. Sen. Joker Arroyo
4. Sen. Alan Cayetano
5. Sen. Francsis Escudero
6. Sen. Gregorio Honasan
7. Sen. Panfilo Lacson
8. Sen. Francis Pangilinan
9. Sen. Antonio Trillanes
10. Sen. Manny Villar
11. Sen. Loren Legarda

Using the Pulse Asia survey referred to earlier, the possible winners in the 2010 elections are:

1. Sen. Bong Revilla
2. Sen. Jinggoy Estrada
3. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago
4. Sen. Pia Cayetano
5. Former Sen. Franklin Drilon
6. Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile
7. Former Sen. Tito Sotto
8. Former Sen. Ralph Recto
9. Former Sen. Serge Osmeña
10. Cong. Bong Bong Marcos
11. Sen. Lito Lapid
12. Cong. TG Guingona
13. Jose De Venecia III
14. Cong. Ruffy Biazon

Statistically, Cong. Marcos is ranked 9-12, Sen.. Lapid is 9-14, Cong. Guingona is 10-14, Mr. De Venecia is 11-15 and Cong. Biazon is 11-16.

Based on the senators serving their mid-term and the possible result of the 2010 senatorial elections, the composition and alignment of members of the Senate of the 15th Congress may be analyzed. The outcome in the Senate will also have a very significant effect on the success of the Aquino presidency.

From the foregoing information, a possible composition of the Senate may be drawn:

1. Sen. Miguel Zubiri
2. Sen. Edegardo Angara
3. Sen. Joker Arroyo
4. Sen. Alan Cayetano
5. Sen. Francsis Escudero
6. Sen. Gregorio Honasan
7. Sen. Panfilo Lacson
8. Sen. Francis Pangilinan
9. Sen. Antonio Trillanes
10. Sen. Manny Villar
11. Sen. Loren Legarda
12. Sen. Bong Revilla
13. Sen. Jinggoy Estrada
14. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago
15. Sen. Pia Cayetano
16. Former Sen. Franklin Drilon
17. Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile
18. Former Sen. Tito Sotto
19. Former Sen. Ralph Recto
20. Former Sen. Serge Osmeña
21. Cong. Bong Bong Marcos
22. Sen. Lito Lapid
23. Cong. TG Guingona
24. (vacancy left by Sen. Aquino, assuming he’s elected president)

Owing to the statistical tie in the survey, Mr. De Venecia and Cong. Biazon may land in the 12th spot.

From the above list, the alignment of senators may also be drawn, based on who will support an Aquino presidency:

Pro-Aquino:
1. Sen. Francis Escudero
2. Sen. Panfilo Lacson
3. Sen. Francis Pangilinan
4. Sen. Franklin Drilon
5. Sen. Ralph Recto
6. Sen. Serge Osmeña
7. Sen. TG Guingona / Sen. Ruffy Biazon (if either of them gets in )

Pro-Villar:
1. Sen. Manny Villar
2. Sen. Loren Legarda
3. Sen. Joker Arroyo
4. Sen. Alan Cayetano
5. Sen. Pia Cayetano
6. Sen. Gregorio Honasan
7. Sen. Antonio Trillanes
8. Sen. Ramon Revilla
9. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago
10. Sen. Bong-Bong Marcos

Unknown:
1. Sen. Miguel Zubiri
2. Sen. Edgardo Angara
3. Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile
4. Sen. Tito Sotto
5. Sen. Lito Lapid
6. Sen. Jinggoy Estrada
7. Sen. Joey De Venecia (if he gets in )

These projected alignments are based on party affiliation, alliances during the campaign, alignments during issue-discussions and other observed nuances.

Based on this projected alignments, it would appear that Sen. Villar will have a bigger bloc ready to support a bid for the Senate presidency. With a bloc composed of 10 senators who are members of his party, vocal supporters or known sympathizers, Sen. Villar will only need three more to gain the majority in the Senate and propel him to the Senate presidency.

Among the seven unknowns, if Joey De Venecia gets in (and both Cong, Guingona and Cong. Biazon are out), he will not make a difference if he joins the pro-Aquino side since he would have just dislodged either Cong. Guingona or Cong. Biazon who are sure to be with Aquino, but there is a possibility that he will join the Villar side due to the prospect of being with the majority in the Senate and get a chance at choice committees. With De Venecia, Aquino stands to either just maintain 7 allies or be reduced to 6, unlike Guingona and Biazon who are sure to stay with Aquino.

There is basis to believe that Sen. Enrile and Sen. Estrada will side with the pro-Aquino bloc, especially since both have been vocal against Sen. Villar during the campaign. That would give the pro-Aquino bloc 9 senators at best.

The crucial question is where will the Arroyo allies in the Senate, Sen. Zubiri and Sen, Lapid, go? It is highly unlikely that Arroyo will ask them to side with the pro-Aquino camp. The only remaining option is to go the other way and ensure that they get good posts in the new Senate while at the same time not digress from the interest of their party leader.

Such a move would then give Sen. Villar a solid 12 votes, with Sen. Angara and Sen. Sotto up for the grabs. As to where they will go, I will not venture to proceed with an analysis and prediction.

In conclusion, there is a possibility that the relationship between the 15th Congress and an Aquino presidency might be a hostile relationship at worst or a difficult one at best. Noynoy Aquino could be held hostage by an Arroyo House Speakership and a Villar Senate Presidency.

Experience has taught us that the dynamics in the legislature sometimes transcend those of national and even party interests. That when the individual perks and coveted positions are at stake, the decision on who to side with are made with the individual interests in primary consideration.

It is therefore imperative that the supporters of Noynoy Aquino, who have the desire to see him succeed as president, should give equal and committed support to his senatorial candidates in order to ensure that he has enough allies in the legislature to support his plans and programs. The senatorial elections must not only be an afterthought, but it should be considered a crucial part of the strategic plan in gaining leadership of this country and installing a government that will be able to work without the difficulties of an uncooperative legislature.

Let Them Come Out Now

Posted in Politics and Politicians with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2009 by Ruffy Biazon

It is exactly one year before the country once again goes to the polls to choose the nation’s next leaders. But unlike previous elections, there seems to be a heightened interest in the polls at this early time. Usually, it is just the politicians and aspirants who get excited about the elections one year before E-Day. But now, the entire country, cutting across all sectors, is buzzing with activity in preparation for the elections.

 

In way, it is good. The change in politics that we have been longing for in the past may actually happen in 2010. The people’s increased interest in the elections will hopefully lead to increased participation in the process, from voter education all the way to vote protection during the canvassing of votes.

 

It is about time we end the vicious cycle of voter-apathy-then-complain-about-elected-officials and move on to a higher level of national political maturity. We should stare the ugly monster in the face and slay it.

 

One good step in the right direction was the recently held Leadership Forum in the Ateneo and aired over Cable Television in the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC). The forum provided an opportunity for the people to get a glimpse of who the possible candidates are, what their platforms are, how they express themselves and many other facets that we need to know in order to make a wise decision.

 

I think with the one year left before elections, more of those forums should be held, and it should  be done even at the local level. Let the potential candidates come out of the woodwork and present themselves.

 

In the past, people frowned at such “early campaigning”. One of the changes we should do now is to shed that hypocrisy. What’s wrong with aspirants coming out in the open? Why do aspirants always have to lie with “It’s too early to talk about elections” when they are asked if they are running one year before the elections? Isn’t better that the people find out who are those seeking public office in order for them to know more about those who will ask for their votes?

 

The result of that pretentious practice is that people only get the information about the candidates during the official campaign period, which is actually superficial. For a national candidate, he only has ninety days to cover the entire country and present himself for voter scrutiny. That’s why the methods are mostly high-impact, attention-getting propaganda instead of having real depth.

 

We should take advantage of the heightened interest in change among the people and make this one year period an extended-getting-to-know-you pre-campaign activity. This will help the people make a sober, logical and well-thought out decision come 2010.

 

It is just too bad that not all the aspirants were present in the Leadership Forum. But this is just the first and it is hoped that there will be others that will be held. Perhaps those who shy away or purposely avoid appearing in such forums should already be stricken off the list by the electorate since they are not willing to subject themselves to public scrutiny. 

 

In addition, it would also be better if the forum is made available to a bigger audience. Perhaps the networks will consider airing the leadership forums on free tv instead of just a cable channel. The majority of Filipinos still do not have cable in their homes. They should also relax copyrights on those forums, so that it may be reproduced and further expand the viewership. Voter education advocates and civic groups can conduct screenings of those forums.

 

As I write this, one day has been deducted from the one-year countdown before E-Day. What we do with the remaining days may turn out to be more crucial than that one day when everyone is equal regardless of religion, ethnicity, dialect, income or sex —-each person with one vote each. IF change is going to happen on May 11, 2010, it has to begin now.