Thursday, February 21, 2008

LAKAS to endorse VP Noli De Castro for 2010? A story of a fading party's survival.

Here's a bit of news from the Philippine Daily Inquirer which shows a political party's struggle to maintain its existence:

Executive Director Ray Roquero of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) Wednesday told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the stage was being set for (Vice President Noli) De Castro to be endorsed by Ms Arroyo as her presidential candidate in 2010.

News of De Castro topping an SWS survey on who Filipinos prefer among 'Presidential Candidates' for 2010 is riding on the tail of the NBN investigation in the Senate. LAKAS-CMD's avowal of an endorsement comes at a time when De Castro's 2004 running mate, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, seems to be barely maintaining her white-knuckled hold on the reins of power by sheer dint of will as opposition personalities fire broadsides at her administration with charges of corruption amounting to tens of billions of pesos. The impending endorsement from the so-called ruling party may be a minus, instead of a plus for De Castro and the former top rating newsreader, radio commentator, and public affairs TV host will have to math with integers - where the impact of the positive value of De Castro's SWS survey may be weakened by the negative value of an endorsement from either LAKAS-CMD OR Macapagal Arroyo.

LAKAS-CMD and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo are two separate entities as political parties and the politicians who declare their membership to it often become diametrically opposed on certain issues sometimes leading to break away factions under the same name. As in the case of the Liberal Party when it came to the crossroads of the 'Hello Garci' scandal, thereafter splitting itself into the Atienza wing (allied with Macapagal Arroyo) and the Drilon wing (opposed to Macapagal Arroyo).

We have to remember, also, that in the 1998 Presidential elections LAKAS-CMD (then fielding Jose De Venecia as Presidential Candidate) joined up with KAMPI (who fielded Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as Vice Presidential Candidate) to form the RAINBOW COALITION against LAMP (which held up Joseph Estrada and Edgardo Angara as its standard bearers). De Venecia lost to Estrada in that Election where as Macapaga Arroyo was elected as Vice President. The LAKAS KAMPI coalition however had all appearances of continuing on through Estrada's impeachment which ended in his ouster and Macapagal Arroyo's assumption to power in 2001. In 2004, Macapagal Arroyo ran for President under the a broader coalition (K-4 as it was called, this time including the Liberal Party and other parties) but as early as 2005 the seams of the coalition seemed to give way with Macapagal Arroyo declaring herself being more KAMPI (her real party, who also had former Tito Sotto as Macapagal Arroyo's Vice Presidential Candidate in 1998 before he was linked to drug dealer Alfredo Tiongko) than LAKAS.

In anycase, LAKAS is no longer the ruling party it used to be when former President Fidel Ramos was in power. It's endorsement virtually has no real strength when it comes to the number of party members and is probably trumping up to the media that it holds influence over Macapagal Arroyo, suggesting that it can convince her to bestow her endorsement on De Castro.

What will LAKAS' endorsement mean with Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's endorsement? Nothing, at best.

The ruling political party, for the past several elections, is the party of the elected President. Local officials and so called 'political operators' immediately join the party of the winning Presidential candidate. There is no real support for political parties from the citizenry, all it actually is can be likened to an IPO -- when it is hot, people buy and when it is going south, people sell their shares. Right now, the ruling party is not Lakas but KAMPI and without a winning Presidential candidate in 2010, Lakas will probably just fade away.

And one more thing, VP Noli De Castro's belongs to one of the most powerful political parties -- the Lopez Group of Companies.

In the final analysis, it is LAKAS who needs to De Castro more.

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