POSTSCRIPT / October 24, 2021 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Mixing candidates can confuse voters

THE SENATE that will emerge after the 2022 national elections may just start looking like a parliamentary patchwork of scattered loyalties arising from the overlapping of some of the nominees of rival parties and coalitions.

The residual 12 members of the Senate who have three more years to serve will be joined by a fresh crop of 12 newly elected senators. There may appear a majority mongrel from the mix of political parties and alliances fielding some common candidates.

As of yesterday, only the group led by Vice President Leni Robredo has formed a complete national ticket. She is running for president in tandem with Sen. Kiko Pangilinan for vice president, and a complete senatorial lineup.

The Robredo Senate team consists of Sonny Trillanes, Risa Hontiveros, Leila de Lima, Chel Diokno, Teddy Baguilat, Jojo Binay, Dick Gordon, Migz Zubiri, Francis Escudero, Joel Villanueva, Alex Lacson, and Sonny Matula. Last to be added Friday was Matula, president of the Federation of Free Workers and chair of the NAGKAISA Labor Coalition.

Although Robredo chose Matula over Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares, the latter earned points when he said: “My non-inclusion in her slate does not preclude us from continuing engagement and cooperation with her campaign on urgent issues that concern our people.”

The most urgent of these issues, he said, is “to prevent the family of the late dictator Marcos from returning to Malacañang and a possible extension of President Duterte’s rule amid the pandemic which continues to batter the country.”

 Substitution is part of poll tricks

A FEW other parties were still bogged down yesterday in negotiations that are expected to see party migrations and substitutions (by fellow party-members) allowed until Nov. 15 for candidates who withdraw, die or are disqualified.

Last-minute substitutions are even allowed under Comelec Resolution No. 10695 until noon of May 9 – that’s the Election Day itself! – if a candidate dies or is disqualified with finality, provided the substitute has the same surname as the person being replaced because the candidates’ names would be already printed on the ballots by that time.

The Partido Federal ng Pilipinas chaired by Bongbong Marcos who is running for president still has no nominee for vice president and a 12-man senatorial slate. He has until Nov. 15 to produce a ticket.

The central point of Bongbong’s running in 2022 is that it is their last train back to Malacañang. His mother Imelda, now 92, must see the family back in the Palace in her lifetime, gain his presidential pardon for her crimes, and revise history’s verdict on the Marcos regime.

Besides, the Marcoses must have thrown unexplained billions already in a bid to buy back respect and the presidency. From where we sit, it looks like they would go for broke.

In the coming elections, who will be Bongbong’s vice presidential partner? The slot is still open for either President Duterte himself or his daughter Sara, the Davao City mayor. But if Marcos hitches on the PDP-Laban wagon, he may have to settle for Sen. Bong Go as VP bet.

He could also proceed with his being a nominee of the PFP, which Duterte formed some three years ago, and just endorse whoever he chooses as his VP partner, although a Marcos-Duterte combination with a bulging war chest would be quite formidable.

But suppose Sara, the headstrong Duterte daughter, decides to go for it herself as she originally was saying before shifting down to the mayorship (because, she said, she and her father had agreed that only one of them will run for a national post and he had announced his aiming to become VP to enjoy immunity from lawsuits).

At some point, many of us might decide to stay safe and just watch with overpriced face shields on, the unfolding scenario from a distance. That would be a big mistake as somebody could snatch the narrative and dictate how the story ends.

 Senate bets are spread out

HERE are some of the major candidates (their titles and parties omitted to save space) being fielded by parties and groups other than by the Robredo coalition:

* The Duterte faction of the PDP-Laban Party has Bato dela Rosa as its candidate for president, Bong Go for vice president, and Gringo Honasan, Mark Villar, Salvador Panelo, Greco Belgica, Rodante Marcoleta, Robin Padilla, and Rey Langit for senator.

* The group led by Ping Lacson and Tito Sotto, candidates for president and vice president respectively, has 13 (only 12 needed) candidates for senator – Dick Gordon, Migz Zubiri, Joel Villanueva, Francis Escudero, Jojo Binay, Loren Legarda, Honasan, Win Gatchalian, JV Ejercito, Herbert Bautista, Manny Piñol, Monsour del Rosario, and Powee Capino.

* Another group has Manny Pacquiao and Lito Atienza as presidential and vice presidential candidates and 10 others as senatorial bets – Gordon, Zubiri, Villanueva, Escudero, Binay, Colmenares, Lutgardo Barbo, Elmer Labog, Raffy Tulfo, and Legarda.

* The group of Isko Domagoso for president, and Willie Ong for vice president, has only three senatorial nominees so far—Samira Gutoc, Carl Balita, and Jopet Sison.

* The group led by Leody de Guzman and Walden Bello, presidential and vice presidential candidates respectively, has as senatorial bets Labog, Matula, and Colmenares. They also endorse Diokno, Hontiveros, and De Lima.

Note that many names appear on the list of nominees of the different groups. If the common candidates make it to the Senate, we hope their presence will contribute to more efficient legislation and a clearer focus on things that really matter.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of October 24, 2021)

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