POSTSCRIPT / November 28, 2021 / Sunday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Marcos ‘KaPe’ brew attracts top dynasts

IT must have been a heady brew of “KaPe” that the Marcoses served the country’s top dynasts to gain their support of the presidential run of ex-senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in next year’s May elections.

“KaPe” is the intoxicating mix of “Kapangyarihan” (power) and “Pera” (lucre/money) that makes most politicos salivate at the prospects of consolidating and accumulating more power and wealth by casting their lot with the likely winner.

Among the top topics on the campaign trail this week is the PhilSTAR story on Friday on the forming of an alliance of the Marcos, Duterte, Arroyo, and Estrada clans to support Marcos for president and Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio as his vice-presidential partner.

The four dynasties in the alliance have produced each a president, if we take Sara Duterte as standing in for her father President Duterte, who still pretends to be keeping his distance from the Marcoses despite their having helped him in the 2016 elections.

This time, the late dictator’s son and namesake needs Duterte’s help in what could be his last bid to recapture the Palace that the family lost when they fled in panic to Hawaii at the height of the 1986 People Power Revolt. Marcos cannot afford to wait for the 2028 elections.

The alliance was forged Thursday in a meeting at a hotel in Pasay City of Marcos’ Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, Sara Duterte’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, and Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino.

The agreement was signed by the party presidents: House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez of Lakas-CMD, South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. of PFP, Davao Occidental Gov. Claude Bautista of HNP, and ex-senator Jinggoy Estrada of PMP.

The buildup to the May 2022 elections is at that stage when the power players, including business tycoons, are looking for the right horses to bet on – referring to the candidates seen as front runners based on the surveys and the parties’ own assessments.

The bandwagon effect of impressive survey reports is one of the reasons why candidates and campaigners publish supposed polls that show them leading. Another reason for surveys is that the data gathered help in planning campaign content, funding and direction.

Some poll watchers analyze the figures, noting the breakdowns into regional, ethnic, economic and other groupings, and look at them against data of past elections. It is much like looking for winning tips for a horse race or for horse-trading.

Motivations also come into play. Why do the political clans move in unison and appear to be going against the spirit of the 1987 Constitution that mandates the Congress to pass a law to prohibit political dynasties? (Art. II, Sec. 26)

But then, how do you convince lawmakers, many of whom are scions of dynasts, to commit political suicide by passing an anti-dynasty law? As we see it happening now, the powerful clans even consolidate as they reach for more of the addictive KaPe.

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PRESIDENT Duterte himself looks like he needs a large serving of extra-strong KaPe to make him stop playing the not-so-funny joke of pushing his long-time aide (now a senator) Bong Go to replace him as president of the Republic of the Philippines.

We are awaiting the expected announcement of Go giving up his presidential bid along the wishes of Duterte having changed his mind again.

We share here, meanwhile, what a Marcos insider has posted on Viber: (Edited for brevity and safety) “Last night (Wednesday) kasi pinatawag ni PRRD at Bong Go lahat ng governors para i-announce na hindi na raw siya tatakbo, aalagaan na lang daw niya si Digong dahil matanda na.

“(Deleted here mention of campaign funds having been received) Besides may tumimbre na sa kanya na mga kausap niyang mayors at governors who had promised him siya ang dadalhin dahil nasa kanya (xx xxx xxxx) pero yung mga nasa ibaba tutol.

“So comes election day ultimong mga mayor at governors baka hindi din siya iboto. Lugi pa siya dahil magbibigay pa siya ng pera kung itutuloy nya.”

(His post prompts us to ask: What happens to contributions or donations to aspirants or candidates who back out? Do the recipients have to report to the Commission on Elections the unused but retained contributions? Is this what they call running for the fund of it?)

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ON a related matter, it would be embarrassing, or even be a fatal failure, for a presidential candidate to run without a complete senatorial ticket. If he cannot even put together a 12-member team what is he capable of doing?

All these months, there has been no mention of who the senatorial bets of Marcos would be, but he is reportedly preparing to announce his choices this week.

One big question is: Will Marcos include President and wannabe senator Duterte in his senatorial ticket after he criticized Bongbong for being unprepared for, and undeserving of, the tough job of being president, not to mention some insinuations of drug addiction.

If Marcos includes Duterte, will the latter accept it – and in effect retract his claim that Bongbong is a weak leader and that he does not want his party (Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan) to ally with Partido Federal Pilipino because Marcos is there?

It would be interesting to watch Duterte’s contortions if/when he allows and explains his inclusion in Marcos’ senatorial lineup and stops making critical comments about him even after Go has withdrawn from the race.

How strong or how sweet will be the KaPe that Marcos will offer to Duterte to ensure his being reasonable and supportive throughout the campaign?

Btw, the Lakas-CMD which nominated Sara Duterte for president and later made her its chairperson has adopted President Duterte as its senatorial candidate and he did not object. Will the alliance between Bongbong’s PFP and Sara’s Lakas-CMD not bother him?

(First published in the Philippine STAR of November 28, 2021)

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