May 2009

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz

It seems to me that Charter change (Cha-cha) is going nowhere in the House of Representatives because of the infighting between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s henchmen Speaker Prospero Nograles and Congressman Luis Villafuerte. They’re the respective leaders of Lakas and Kampi which will soon merge under a new name: Lakas-Kampi-CMD. The merger would boost Gloria’s control of the House of Representatives after the 2010 elections assuming that she would still wield power in her party after she steps down from the presidency. But the prospect of losing power is something that would be horrifying to Gloria. I wouldn’t be surprised if she already has a plan on how to stay in power beyond 2010. And if she does, we can only speculate at this early stage in the game.
 

But in politics — like a game of chess — speculation is developed in the way the players make their moves. And in the 2010 political chess game, Gloria’s opening gambit — if she plays it masterfully — could possibly lead to a checkmate of the opposition. But who would be the pawn that she would sacrifice in her gambit?

Recently, Vice President Noli De Castro said that Gloria has “no plan and no intention to extend her term beyond 2010.” But De Castro was talking only about “term extension” which could only happen if the constitution was amended to extend her term. And that’s not going to happen. Not while Gloria’s House boys are at each other’s throat. However, if the constitution was amended to change the form of government to parliamentary system prior to June 2010, it would open the door for Gloria to run as a member of parliament. In that capacity, Gloria would be in a position to lead the majority party — presumably the Lakas-Kampi-CMD — in forming a government with her as the Prime Minister.

With the Cha-cha train derailed, is Gloria going to pursue another elective political office in the 2010 elections? If she does, then we know what she is up to. I doubt, however, that she would admit it at this time. However, many people believe that she is going to run as congresswoman of her Pampanga district which is currently represented by her son, Mikey Arroyo.

If that would be the case, Gloria would make sure that Lakas-Kampi-CMD will emerge from the 2010 elections with absolute control of the House of Representatives. As a congresswoman, Gloria could easily muster enough support to become the Speaker of the House. She could then maneuver to pass a resolution to convene a Constituent Assembly (Con-ass) or Constitutional Convention (Con-con) to amend the constitution to adopt a parliamentary form of government.

And the end game would be during the mid-term elections in 2013 when a referendum would be placed on the ballot to approve the constitutional amendments. Once approved by the electorate, the new parliamentary government would be established and the sitting president, who would have been elected in the 2010 elections, would lose his governing power and transform to a “ceremonial” president and head of state. The Prime Minister would be the one to run the government… and wield power.

Last April, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, LAKAS secretary-general, said that five candidates were included on the party’s short list: Sen. Manny Villar (Nacionalista Party), Sen. Loren Legarda (Nationalist People’s Coalition – NPC), Sen. Richard Gordon (independent), Vice-President Noli de Castro (independent), and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro (formerly of NPC).

Among the five “presidentiables” on the LAKAS short list, the most popular is De Castro. In a survey by Pulse Asia last February, three of them were on the top five on the list: De Castro (19%), Villar (15%), and Legarda (12%). Gordon and Teodoro were not included in the Pulse Asia poll. The other two were: NPC’s Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero (17%) and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada (16%).

By process of elimination, Villar would most likely run under a Nacionalista-led opposition coalition. Gordon would most likely run under the banner of Bagumbayan Movement which endorsed him a few weeks ago. And Legarda would most likely stay with NPC and compete against Escudero for the party’s nomination.

That leaves De Castro and Teodoro as the two strong contenders for Lakas-Kampi-CMD’s presidential nomination. Incidentally, De Castro and Teodoro were invited to Lakas-Kampi-CMD’s first executive meeting on May 28. However, it remains to be seen if De Castro would accept to head the ticket. But like the legendary Amang Rodriguez once said, “Politics is addition.” Why would De Castro refuse such an offer when he doesn’t even have a party to stand on today?

How about Teodoro? When he announced his candidacy several weeks ago, he said that he would not accept anything but a presidential nomination. Between De Castro and Teodoro, De Castro has experience in national politics and also high name recognition. Teodoro lacks both. However, De Castro is perceived as a weak “do nothing” politician. Unless he can change that perception… well, on the other hand, that might be his strong point: a weak “do nothing” politician. The country had strong “do things” politicians before and they ended up being despised by the people because they did a lot of things for themselves and did nothing to alleviate the plight of the powerless poor.

The question is: would De Castro kowtow to Gloria? If he does, he will be taking a great risk of losing his base of support because Gloria’s “anointment” might turn out to be a “kiss of death” which could put an end to his political life.

And what would happen to Teodoro? I would not be surprised if Gloria would use him as a pawn to sacrifice in her opening gambit… unless he changes his mind and settles as De Castro’s vice presidential running mate. At his young age, he has all the time to wait until his calling comes.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz

It seems to me that Charter change (Cha-cha) is going nowhere in the House of Representatives because of the infighting between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s henchmen Speaker Prospero Nograles and Congressman Luis Villafuerte. They’re the respective leaders of Lakas and Kampi which will soon merge under a new name: Lakas-Kampi-CMD. The merger would boost Gloria’s control of the House of Representatives after the 2010 elections assuming that she would still wield power in her party after she steps down from the presidency. But the prospect of losing power is something that would be horrifying to Gloria. I wouldn’t be surprised if she already has a plan on how to stay in power beyond 2010. And if she does, we can only speculate at this early stage in the game.
 

But in politics — like a game of chess — speculation is developed in the way the players make their moves. And in the 2010 political chess game, Gloria’s opening gambit — if she plays it masterfully — could possibly lead to a checkmate of the opposition. But who would be the pawn that she would sacrifice in her gambit?

Recently, Vice President Noli De Castro said that Gloria has “no plan and no intention to extend her term beyond 2010.” But De Castro was talking only about “term extension” which could only happen if the constitution was amended to extend her term. And that’s not going to happen. Not while Gloria’s House boys are at each other’s throat. However, if the constitution was amended to change the form of government to parliamentary system prior to June 2010, it would open the door for Gloria to run as a member of parliament. In that capacity, Gloria would be in a position to lead the majority party — presumably the Lakas-Kampi-CMD — in forming a government with her as the Prime Minister.

With the Cha-cha train derailed, is Gloria going to pursue another elective political office in the 2010 elections? If she does, then we know what she is up to. I doubt, however, that she would admit it at this time. However, many people believe that she is going to run as congresswoman of her Pampanga district which is currently represented by her son, Mikey Arroyo.

If that would be the case, Gloria would make sure that Lakas-Kampi-CMD will emerge from the 2010 elections with absolute control of the House of Representatives. As a congresswoman, Gloria could easily muster enough support to become the Speaker of the House. She could then maneuver to pass a resolution to convene a Constituent Assembly (Con-ass) or Constitutional Convention (Con-con) to amend the constitution to adopt a parliamentary form of government.

And the end game would be during the mid-term elections in 2013 when a referendum would be placed on the ballot to approve the constitutional amendments. Once approved by the electorate, the new parliamentary government would be established and the sitting president, who would have been elected in the 2010 elections, would lose his governing power and transform to a “ceremonial” president and head of state. The Prime Minister would be the one to run the government… and wield power.

Last April, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, LAKAS secretary-general, said that five candidates were included on the party’s short list: Sen. Manny Villar (Nacionalista Party), Sen. Loren Legarda (Nationalist People’s Coalition – NPC), Sen. Richard Gordon (independent), Vice-President Noli de Castro (independent), and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro (formerly of NPC).

Among the five “presidentiables” on the LAKAS short list, the most popular is De Castro. In a survey by Pulse Asia last February, three of them were on the top five on the list: De Castro (19%), Villar (15%), and Legarda (12%). Gordon and Teodoro were not included in the Pulse Asia poll. The other two were: NPC’s Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero (17%) and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada (16%).

By process of elimination, Villar would most likely run under a Nacionalista-led opposition coalition. Gordon would most likely run under the banner of Bagumbayan Movement which endorsed him a few weeks ago. And Legarda would most likely stay with NPC and compete against Escudero for the party’s nomination.

That leaves De Castro and Teodoro as the two strong contenders for Lakas-Kampi-CMD’s presidential nomination. Incidentally, De Castro and Teodoro were invited to Lakas-Kampi-CMD’s first executive meeting on May 28. However, it remains to be seen if De Castro would accept to head the ticket. But like the legendary Amang Rodriguez once said, “Politics is addition.” Why would De Castro refuse such an offer when he doesn’t even have a party to stand on today?

How about Teodoro? When he announced his candidacy several weeks ago, he said that he would not accept anything but a presidential nomination. Between De Castro and Teodoro, De Castro has experience in national politics and also high name recognition. Teodoro lacks both. However, De Castro is perceived as a weak “do nothing” politician. Unless he can change that perception… well, on the other hand, that might be his strong point: a weak “do nothing” politician. The country had strong “do things” politicians before and they ended up being despised by the people because they did a lot of things for themselves and did nothing to alleviate the plight of the powerless poor.

The question is: would De Castro kowtow to Gloria? If he does, he will be taking a great risk of losing his base of support because Gloria’s “anointment” might turn out to be a “kiss of death” which could put an end to his political life.

And what would happen to Teodoro? I would not be surprised if Gloria would use him as a pawn to sacrifice in her opening gambit… unless he changes his mind and settles as De Castro’s vice presidential running mate. At his young age, he has all the time to wait until his calling comes.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

by Perry Diaz

The most important act of the President of the United States is the appointment of Supreme Court justices. And the reason is that once appointed to the High Court, a justice, like the President, can only be removed by impeachment by the House of Representative and conviction by the Senate. However, the big difference is that the President serves no more than two four-year terms of office while a Supreme Court justice serves for life. It is not uncommon for a justice to serve 25 years or more on the Supreme Court.

With the announcement by Associate Justice David H. Souter a few weeks ago that he will be retiring after 18 years on the High Court, President Barack Obama will have his first opportunity to appoint a justice on the Supreme Court. However, Souter’s replacement would not change the political make-up of the High Court because Souter — who was appointed by President George H.W. Bush — is pro-choice and had consistently voted with the liberal bloc on the High Court. In other words, the Supreme Court would continue its centrist course with the departure of Souter.

The senior member of the Supreme Court is 89-year old Associate Justice John Paul Stevens who was appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1975. He was against affirmative action and racial quota system early in his tenure. However, he started moving to the left on issues such as abortion rights and gay rights. In 2003, a statistical analysis of Supreme Court voting patterns has placed him in the liberal bloc and the High Court’s “most liberal member.”

The junior member of the Supreme Court is 59-year old Associate Justice Samuel Alito who was appointed by President George W. Bush in January 2006. Alito is considered a “fairly conservative” justice with a “libertarian streak” which he has demonstrated with his votes on First Amendment issues.

The youngest on the bench is 54-year old Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. who was appointed by President George W. Bush in September 2005. Known as a “judicial conservative,” Roberts could be on the High Court for the next 25 years and lead the conservative bloc in a court that could swing to the left during the Obama presidency.

Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, 72, has been on the High Court for 21 years. Appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, Kennedy has become the “swing vote” on the High Court. His vote has became pivotal in a lot of high-profile 5-4 decisions in which he sided more with the liberal bloc. Known for his judicial independence, Kennedy once said, “The law makes a promise — neutrality. If the promise gets broken, the law as we know it ceases to exist.”

The Supreme Court’s most conservative jurists are Associate Justices Antonin G. Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Scalia, 73, was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. He is considered to be a “core member” of the conservative bloc.

Thomas, an African-American, was appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 at the age of 43. Thomas, the other “core member” of the conservative bloc, replaced Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall, also an African-American and was one of the most liberal justices on the High Court. At 60, Thomas could be on the High Court for another 25 years.

 

The two other Associate Justices are Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer who were both appointed by President Bill Clinton. Ginsburg, 76, was appointed in 1993 and is the first Jewish woman to serve on the High Court and currently its only woman. Ginsburg has supported abortion rights and consistently voted with the liberal bloc. She is often called the “liberal voice” on the Supreme Court.

Breyer, 70, was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and is identified with the liberal bloc. However, he is known as a “judicial moderate.” Breyer is perceived as a “coalition builder” because he has the knack for positioning himself in the political center and then convince his peers to his way of thinking.

 

With four liberals (Breyer, Ginsburg, Stevens, and Souter) and four conservatives (Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito), Kennedy continues to be the crucial swing vote on the High Court. Assuming that Obama’s replacement for Souter would be another liberal, the bench would continue to stay in the center with the pendulum of justice swinging slightly between left and right.

Would the pendulum swing to the far left during the presidency of Obama? Assuming that Obama would be reelected to another four-year term in 2012, Stevens would be 97 years old by the time Obama leaves office in 2016. However, it would be likely that Stevens would retire within the next eight years; thus, giving Obama an opportunity to appoint another justice with liberal credentials. But the political composition of the Supreme Court would still be 4-4 with Kennedy still holding the swing vote.

The only time that the liberal bloc would increase in number would be when either Scalia, Thomas, Roberts or Alito would leave the bench. Well, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts would still be in their sixties while Scalia would be in his early eighties together with Kennedy.

So by just basing it on age and not life expectancy or longevity, all the remaining justices would still be on the bench during Obama’s first term. Assuming that Obama would be reelected to a second term in 2012, Scalia and Kennedy will be in their late seventies by then. If Scalia or Kennedy would leave and Obama would appoint a liberal justice, the pendulum of justice would swing to the left with a slim majority of five liberals. However, if both of them would leave and be replaced by two tried and tested liberal jurists, the liberal bloc would have a safe 6-3 majority over the conservatives and would follow a liberal course just like the Warren Court did in the 1950s and 1960s.

On the other hand, if a Republican president wins in 2012, the Supreme Court will swing to the right and could pursue the repeal of Roe v. Wade. Thus, the presidential elections in 2012 would be crucial on how the pendulum of justice would swing: to the right if a Republican wins and to the left if a Democrat wins.

It is no wonder then that the Republican Party has not let up on its attack on Obama particularly on his stand on abortion. The recent commencement exercises at Notre Dame was the first salvo in the pro-life movement’s assault on Obama. And the Senate confirmation hearing of Souter’s replacement on the Supreme Court would be the first battle against the pro-choice forces during Obama’s presidency.

by Perry Diaz

With President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s approval ratings plummeting like balls of fire into the Pacific Ocean, presidential wannabes are sprinting to the starting line of the 2010 presidential derby. Assuming that Gloria is not going to declare martial law — which a lot of people say she might — it’s going to be rough and tumble politics in a crowded field.

 

Election cheating has been around since the Philippines adapted the democratic system of government after gaining independence from Uncle Sam in 1946. In my column, “It’s ‘Open Season’ Again” (January 26, 2007), I said: “I remember in the 1950’s, the term ‘flying voter’ became the buzzword during elections. A ‘flying voter’ is a person who has the ability to ‘fly’ — like a bird — from one precinct to another to vote for the same candidate; thus, giving the candidate a numerical edge over his opponent. Mathematically, whoever has the most ‘flying voters’ would have a better chance of winning.”

In some instances, candidates provide some sort of “home service,” that is, they would send someone to your house and have you fill out the ballot in favor of their candidates. In some cases, ballot boxes were hijacked and replaced with ballot boxes containing ballots favoring certain candidates. And in other cases, particularly in remote barrios, armed goons were used to intimidate the voters to vote for their candidates. It was not uncommon for a precinct to show 100% vote for a certain candidate. Another method used was vote-buying. The poor were always fair game. The three G’s — guns, goons and gold — were the most effective way to win an election. As someone once said, “There were no losers in an election, only the winners and those who were cheated.”

After the People Power Revolution of 1986, a new system of election cheating evolved. Known as “dagdag-bawas” — add and subtract — it involves a cunning method of tallying the votes by adding a number of votes to a candidate and subtracting the exact number of votes from his or her opponent. However, this kind of cheating involves the collusion of Commission on Elections (COMELEC) officials.

During the presidential elections in 2004, the celebrated “Hello Garci” election cheating was exposed. It was alleged that the taped wiretapped conversations between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and COMELEC official Virgilio “Garci” Garcillano were proof that fraud was committed to rig the election results in favor of Gloria’s reelection.

Impeachment was filed in Congress against Gloria. However, Gloria survived the impeachment. But the “Hello Garci” scandal cracked COMELEC’s façade as an independent government body.

It was also during the 2004 elections that another scandal surfaced — the P1.7 billion bidding scam of the Automated Election System (AES) awarded to Mega Pacific Consortium. It was alleged that three COMELEC officials — then Chairman Benjamin Abalos and members Florentino Tuazon and Resurreccion Borra — were involved in the anomaly. Corruption charges were filed against them in the Ombudsman’s Office but the Ombudsman, to date, has not made any progress in its investigation. However, the Supreme Court ruled the contract null and void due to irregularities in the bidding process.

This year, COMELEC is once again pursuing the automation project. However, with the 2010 elections just a year away, COMELEC has yet to award the whopping P11.3 billion AES contract. Recently, the bidding process hit a snag when the seven consortiums vying for the contract failed the eligibility requirements. I wonder what the “eligibility requirements” included? A “padrino” perhaps?

According to Rick Bahague, the National Coordinator of the Computer Professionals’ Union (CPU), “The initial result of CPU’s investigation in the bidding process of COMELEC revealed that the COMELEC is dealing with questionable and unreliable vendors.” He said, “The COMELEC is even more subjected to a triple degree of difficulty to win the trust of Filipino people especially on its effort to automate the national election in 2010.”

But COMELEC officials said that the situation is not hopeless and that a contract could be negotiated with a provider as a “last recourse” to install 80,000 automation machines in time for the 2010 elections.

And this is where the problems would begin. First, a “negotiated contract” implies a “sole bid process” in which only one bidder is selected. This reminds me of the controversial ZTE-NBN contract exposed by Jun Lozada. A “negotiated contract” circumvents the competitive “multiple bid process” in which two or more bidders would compete for the contract primarily based on a low-bid rule. And since there is no competition, a “negotiated contract” is vulnerable to overbidding. Oftentimes overbidding is done in order to accommodate under-the-table commissions — or “tongpats” — to influence peddlers and corrupt government officials. In the end, the “negotiated contract” could increase the contract amount to as much as twice its cost.

The second — and more serious — problem would be the integrity and accuracy of AES. In a press release issued by CPU, it says: “Cheating and fraud in the 2010 election will be swift and simple for the likes of ‘Garci’ through the automated election system (AES) the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is striving to implement. In 2010, ‘Garci’ will return and will be more sophisticated in his cheating schemes with his expertise in computer technology. ‘Garci’ will operate far better than the fraud he performed last 2004 national election.”

 

Indeed, if AES is going to be hastily implemented in 2010, an electronic “dagdag-bawas” cheating scheme which might have been surreptitiously programmed in the system will virtually be impossible to detect. There would not be enough time to fully test the system and incorporate all the necessary verification and security routines in the system to ensure that data integrity is maintained. As computer professionals would say, “Garbage In, Garbage Out,” the system is only as good as the input. It is said that most computer systems work, it’s people who don’t make them work. And that is the danger of a computer system that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles installed to prevent it from being tampered.

If COMELEC pushes through with AES in 2010, the next President may not necessarily be the fittest, but the cheatest. Indeed, the 2010 elections could very well be the survival of the cheatest.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

by Perry Diaz
Sun Tzu, the ancient master of the “Art of War,” said 2,500 years ago: “When torrential water tosses boulders, it is because of its momentum. When the strike of a hawk breaks the body of its prey, it is because of timing.” With that in mind, what the Evil Empire did in the past few weeks couldn’t have been more timely.

First, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo consolidated her political power by taking over as interim president of her political parties, KAMPI and LAKAS. Second, her allies in the House have accelerated the Charter change (Cha-cha) train to full speed. Third, Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada, Jr. was arrested for alleged “perjury.” And fourth, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Alexander Yano stepped down 44 days before his scheduled mandatory retirement. Indeed, with just a year to the 2010 presidential elections, Gloria has got all her ducks in line and all the bells and whistles in place that she would need in the event she decides to stay in power beyond 2010.

On April 13, 2009, LAKAS President and Speaker Prospero Nograles, and KAMPI President and Congressman Luis Villafuerte simultaneously resigned as leaders of their respective parties to give Gloria a “direct hand” in merging the two parties into a powerful political machine.

The House has a small window of opportunity to pass a resolution to convene Congress as a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) for the purpose of amending the constitution. However, if the House fails to pass the resolution by the end of the regular session on June 5, 2009, Cha-cha will be as good as dead. But with the four Arroyos — First Sons Juan Miguel and Diosdado, and the First Gentleman’s siblings Ignacio and Lourdes — in the House acting as Gloria‘s “whips” to keep their party members in line, it is highly probable that Gloria would get it any which way she wants.

The question is: What if Cha-cha died in the House? Many people believe that in such an event, Gloria would go for “Plan B” — martial law. She would then need the military to get behind her just like it did when she took over the presidency in 2001 when Erap Estrada was forced to resign amidst the EDSA II “people power revolution.” But this time around, her main concern would be how to prevent another “people power” should she decide to stay in power beyond 2010.

Had Gen. Alexander Yano remained in his Chief of Staff post until he reached his mandatory retirement age on June 13, 2009, Gloria would have lost the momentum and timing she needed to put her “Plan B” in motion. Many people believe that the four remaining weeks of the regular session of Congress would be crucial should Gloria and her House allies make a final push for Cha-cha. I am pretty sure that if that came to pass, Gloria would need an AFP Chief who would support her up to the hilt. And Yano was not the man to do that.

It did not come as a surprise then when Yano stepped down from his post last May 1. Whether he voluntarily stepped down or not would be speculative at this point. However, as a face-saving gesture, Yano was appointed as ambassador to Brunei.

In his place, Gloria appointed Gen. Victor Ibrado who was the Chief of the 80,000-strong Philippine Army. And taking over the Army Chief post was Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, the South Luzon commander, who is perceived as an Arroyo loyalist and her “Man Friday.” Bangit used to be the head of the Presidential Security Group, a position which requires absolute loyalty to the President.

But here is the stinger: Ibrado would reach his mandatory retirement on March 10, 2010. And guess who would most likely be his replacement? Bangit. The timing would be perfect because Bangit’s promotion to Chief of Staff would happen before March 25, 2010 when the 45-day ban on appointments to new positions or promotions was to take effect. And he would be the perfect man to quell any public disturbances protesting the push for Cha-cha.

As to Lozada’s arrest, why? He’s already been “neutralized” since the NBN-ZTE Senate investigation collapsed. In my opinion, Lozada was arrested for any or all of the following reasons: (1) he would be the dog that Gloria would wag to distract the people as she maneuvers for Cha-cha; (2) he would be prevented from campaigning for the opposition candidates; and (3) he would also be prevented from running for Senator or any other elective office.

But there could be a Machiavellian twist to all these. Cha-cha could be the ultimate “wag the dog” scheme to distract the public from her real objectives which are: (1) bankroll her hand-picked candidate for President; (2) make sure that her KAMPI-LAKAS congressional candidates would win overwhelmingly; (3) she would run for Congress herself; (4) she’ll lead the move in the new Congress to change the form of government to parliamentary system; and (5) the newly elected President whom she bankrolled would appoint her as Prime Minister of the new Parliament. The elected President would then become the ceremonial head of state and Prime Minister Gloria Macapagal Arroyo would reign.

This scheme worked a few years ago in Russia when then President Vladimir Putin ran for Member of Parliament. His protégé, Dmitry Medvedev, ran for President. After both of them won in the elections, Medvedev appointed Putin as Prime Minister.

I would not be surprised at all if Gloria would hand-pick Vice President Noli de Castro as her party’s candidate for President. De Castro is the perfect candidate: he is popular and non-controversial, he has no money, he doesn’t have a political base, and he is perceived as a weak leader. He wouldn’t mind becoming a ceremonial President, after all that’s what he was accustomed to when he was a ceremonial Vice President under Gloria.

The only thing that could stop Gloria would be a strong and united opposition. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gloria would secretly bankroll another candidate to weaken the opposition. And this brings to mind Erap Estrada’s plan of running for President, which reminds me of what happened in the 1992 presidential elections. When Imelda Marcos ran for President, it weakened the candidacy of Danding Cojuangco. But Imelda didn’t have any money then because all her assets were sequestered by the government. I wonder who bankrolled her candidacy? It’s funny but history has a way of repeating itself.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)