Side Notes on the Reformists' Unity

This is a news story I got from about the beginning of the unification of the reformists presidential aspirants. You can read this article in this link.

Reformists seen to back Aquino bid
By TJ Burgonio, Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:13:00 09/03/2009

Filed Under: Benigno Aquino III, Mar Roxas, Inquirer Politics, Eleksyon 2010, opposition

MANILA, Philippines—Reform-minded presidential aspirants are prepared to rally behind a Noynoy Aquino candidacy, but Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., says unification of the opposition is “as distant as Mars is from Jupiter.”

Moved by Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II’s decision Tuesday to sacrifice his ambitions and give way to Aquino, Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca is now calling on fellow “reformist” aspirants to follow Roxas’ lead.

Padaca, who is being pressed to run for the highest post in the land by the farmers’ group Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka but has not declared her plans, said Wednesday that she had rejected such a call to make way for Aquino.

“After giving up so much, none of us can do less,” Padaca said of Roxas. “He has put so much into this, and yet he has backed out. We can’t even measure up to what he has done. Can we do less?”

But Pimentel, the Senate minority leader, was not too sanguine. “The LP (Liberal Party) isn’t the opposition. Unification is still as distant as Mars is from Jupiter.”

Padaca, Pampanga Gov. Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio, Bro. Eddie Villanueva of the Jesus Is Lord Movement, environmentalist Nicky Perlas and Councilor JC delos Reyes of Kapatiran are seen as the reformist candidates.

Until Roxas’ announcement of his support for Aquino’s candidacy, nobody thought the reformist candidates could come together, and field a single candidate in what is potentially a crowded presidential race.

Padaca, herself a member of the LP, said the reformist candidates should seize this occasion, and join forces behind Aquino’s candidacy.

“The LP has taken the lead. And the sincerity of Mar should be a magnet for the reformists [to come together] and rally behind Noynoy,” she said in a phone interview. “The fact that Mar gave up a lot for Noynoy should be a factor.”

Aquino magic

The Isabela governor noted that the “Aquino magic”—referring to the popularity of President Corazon Aquino and her assassinated husband Benigno Aquino Jr.—would work better if the reformist candidates came together to back Noynoy’s candidacy.

“The Cory, Ninoy magic, Noynoy doesn’t have that totally. We should allow people to add their magic. And to complete it will be the magic and sacrifice and good intentions of all reformists,” she said. “Many people have magic; let’s put these all together.”

In his Aug. 18 blog, Harvey Keh, who founded the Kaya Natin! movement for good governance with Padaca and Panlilio, among other people, voiced hopes the reformist candidates would be able to field a common slate.

“Imagine if all of these groups can come together, set aside their personal differences, work toward a common vision for a better Philippines and eventually field a common slate for the 2010 elections then I would think we can have a strong fighting chance of finally electing effective, ethical and empowering government leaders for our country,” Keh wrote.

Who is the opposition?

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, an LP stalwart who is aspiring to become vice president, said Roxas’ “sacrifice will strengthen LP.”

“As for uniting the opposition, with all due respect, who is the opposition?” Pangilinan asked, pointing out that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s critics joined forces as the Genuine Opposition in the 2007 elections.

“What happened right after the victory? They all went their own separate ways,” he said. “If unity is to mean anything, it must be for the broadest unity of forces rallying behind an agenda of change and reforms.”

Pangilinan said he was willing to give up his vice presidential ambitions if necessary to “rally all forces committed to genuine change behind Aquino’s campaign.

He called for a “people’s army” that would wage an “electoral revolt against trapo (traditional) politics.”

“It’s not about the opposition and administration, not about them, me or us,” said Sen. Francis Escudero, who is seeking the presidency as standard-bearer of the Nationalist People’s Coalition of businessman Eduardo Cojuangco.

“It’s about you ... the Filipino! It’s about uniting for a common cause for the good of the country,” he said. Escudero commended Roxas for “being selfless for the sake of unity in his party. I wish Noy, Mar and the Liberal Party the very best.”

Villar to slug it out

Former Sen. Ernesto Herrera expected Sen. Manuel Villar, the Nationalista Party standard-bearer, to slug it out with Aquino.

He described Villar as a “credible opponent” whose “track record as an entrepreneur and able leader speaks for itself.”

“Owing to his integrity, Noynoy offers real hope for change, especially in ensuring honest and upright governance, just like his mother,” said Herrera, a former senator who is secretary general of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines.

“What we are witnessing now is the up-and-coming revival of the great rivalry between the LP and the NP, and the renewal of the system of two parties dominating our political affairs,” Herrera said.

He said organized labor was counting on Aquino “to usher in a whole new era of fearless clean governance and trustworthy public service.”

Never underestimate

Malacañang said Roxas’ move strengthened the Liberal Party.

But Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita doubted whether it would translate into victory in the May elections.

“It’s still premature for anyone to ever say yes it’s an assurance because I don’t think it is,” he said.

House Speaker Prospero Nograles, vice chair of the administration Lakas-Kampi CMD, said his party would not dismiss lightly Aquino’s rise.

“In the art of war, you can never underestimate or take your political opponents for granted,” Nograles said. With a report from Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.

Still, I am pushing for UP for Noynoy (United Presidentiables for Noynoy). If you want to know why I am enthusiastic of the fact that the mainstream politicians and reformists blocks can unite to rally behind Noynoy, just send me an email. Thanks!


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Side notes from a first time blogger but long time political observer...