The battle for control of the Philippine Senate is for both political and economic necessity.
The Administration wants related bills (particularly connected to the General Appropriations Act) to the “Build Build Build” effort to pass unscathed. In order to win its GDP Goals and reduce poverty by 2022 (sic) to 16%.
Politically, the final impeachment battleground has always been the Philippine Senate, two important personalities could be facing impeachment cases soon: Supreme Court Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales- both president Noynoy Aquino appointees.
Right now, there are 22 performing senators after Allan Cayetano’s promotion to the Department of Foreign Affairs post and the incarceration for “alleged criminal culpability” of Leila De Lima.
One can say, the Administration holds just a “precarious” political edge in the Senate today- something like an 11-8-3 ratio.
Generally, the following are perceived as Administration supporters: Pimentel, Sotto, Binay, Ejercito, Escudero, Gordon, Pacquiao, Villar, Honasan, Legarda, and Zubiri. (11)
The hard-core LPs and Yellow Band are said to be Recto, Drilon, Angara, Aquino, Gatchalian, Hontiveros, Pangilinan, and Villanueva. (8).
Considered “fiercely independent” are Grace Poe, Trillanes and Lacson (3). Anytime, these 3 swing votes move to the LP side, an 11-11 Stalemate ensues.
From the 17th Congress, four senators will no longer be allowed to run for reelection in 2019: Trillames. Legarda, Honasan and Escudero. Koko Pimentel is still facing a legal hurdle if he is eligible to run for 2019 since he only performed a partial first term (resulting from the dislodging of Zubiri) in 2011.
Consider, that of the 5, four of them are pro-Administration- making the latter lose equilibrium for Senate control in theory.
That is why Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez (and secretary-general of the ruling PDP-Laban) is echoing a “12-0” slogan for the Senate 2019 to ensure the Majority rules the Upper House.
Be aware, however, that there are six (excluding Pimentel) re-electionists in 2019 which, from history, are hard to beat being incumbents and would likely be reelected. They are: Angara, Aquino, Binay, JV Ejercito, Grace Poe and Villar.
Three: Villar, Ejercito and Binay are considered Pro-Administration while Aquino, Angara are LPs and Poe very independent.
From those facts, one can glean why the 2019 Senate Election will be a fiercely fought one for Upper House Control.
Already, the Administration (Pimentel and Alvarez) are uniform in endorsing six to the Administration ticket: Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez (head of the powerful House Visayas Bloc), Bataan Rep. and first Transgender legislator Geraldine Roman (of the powerful Roman family), Davao Rep. Karlo Nograles (of the pervasive Nograles political family);
MMDA former Chair Francis Tolentino and House Majority Leader Rudy Farinas (of Solid North).
Alvarez has named three others: Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque (“I don’t have P500-M), Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson (5.4 million blog followers) and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre (to pass laws quickly).
Speaker Alvarez had named the present Senate as a” Slowpoke” reportedly approving only 10 of the 100 House-recommended bills.
So far, LP has named LP stalwart Erin Tanada and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguiat-both of who have name recall power. Added to reelectionists Aquino and Angara.
If the Opposition is short of names, they can tap nationally-recognized names like Dingdong Dantes (actor), Robert Jaworski or legal luminaries like ex-chief Justices Reynato Puno and Hilarion Davide or former Comelec Chair Christian Monsod plus the popular Joey Concepcion.
And why not Kris Aquino and /or Sharon Cuneta? If there is so much at stake in the control of the Philippine Senate?
And last, but not the least- do not forget Ronaldo “Bato” De la Rosa who always had moist eyes for the Senate.
Watch out then for the Big 2019 Classic Senate Elections for 12 senatorial slots.
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