Thursday, June 28, 2007

Political Horse Trading in the Senate

Welcome to the Republic of the Philippines’ prostituted democracy. Political horse-trading has shifted in high gear after the polls. Politicos have sold their souls to protect their interests. Malacanang is sabotaging the opposition’s victory in the senate. The real opposition becomes the minority. JUDASAN is the name of the game. Losers take all! It makes me puke.

Filipino old proverbs say: “Ako ang nagbayo ako ang nagsaing saka ng maluto'y iba ang kumain“. Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and Miriam Santiago are feasting like hungry vultures in the disintegration of the opposition. Divide and rule tactics at work. This is the real politik in the quest for senate presidency. The GO-UNO is a coalition of different political parties. Malacanang operatives are exploiting GO-UNO weakness’ point via compromise and horse trading. The opposition should not fall onto Gloria Arroyo’s sinister plan. She wants a tame Senate and feels safe under Manny Villar leadership.

A peek at Senate committee chairmanships under Villar


SEN. Manuel Villar will endorse Senators-elect Alan Peter Cayetano and Francis Escudero to head the Senate committees on education and on ways and means if he wins a second term as Senate President, a Senate source said yesterday.

Cayetano is secretary general of Villar’s Nacionalista Party. Escudero is a stalwart of Eduardo Cojuangco’s Nationalist People’s Coalition.

The education panel became vacant after Sen. Franklin Drilon relinquished the Senate leadership to Villar under a term-sharing deal.

The ways and means panel was chaired by Sen. Ralph Recto who lost his re-election bid.

Cayetano said he and Escudero would not mind if they fail to get the major committees. He said he believes the committees are still subject to consultation.

"Meron o wala (committee), okay lang sa amin. Sanay kami ng walang committee," Cayetano said.
Escudero and Cayetano are the outgoing minority and deputy minority leaders of the House of Representatives.

The source said Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, an ally of the administration, would get the Senate committee on finance previously occupied by Drilon.

The source said as of last week, the Senate blue ribbon committee is deemed "vacant" after the chairman, Sen. Joker Arroyo, reportedly agreed to pass the torch to his colleagues in the opposition. Arroyo could not be reached for confirmation of the report.

The source said opposition senators would still pick among Pimentel, Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Sen. Francis Pangilinan on who should chair the Blue Ribbon committee.

Pimentel will likely remain as minority leader.

The source said Sen. Jinggoy Estrada would be the incoming Senate pro tempore, last held by Sen. Juan Flavier.

Sen. Eduardo Angara has expressed preference to chair the committee on agriculture in exchange for supporting Villar. The post was previously held by Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr.

Villar has declined to confirm reports that he has already the support of 14 senators, which would seal his second term as Senate president.

He said anything can happen before the 14th Congress convenes on July 23.

He said even the distribution of Senate committees would still be subject to consultation.

Enrile said Villar is expected to keep his position as 14 senators will certainly vote for him.

There are only 22 senators as Alfredo Lim won the mayoralty race in the city of Manila.

Genuine Opposition spokesman Adel Tamano said Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay, president of the United Opposition, and GO campaign manager Sen. Sergio Osmeña would host a "dialogue" to unite the Villar and Pimentel blocs.

Tamano said this would serve to remind opposition senators of the importance of fielding a common candidate for Senate president. "Hindi pa tapos ito. Each group has to reach out," Tamano said.

Osmeña blamed Pimentel’s backers namely Lacson, Loren Legarda and Manuel "Mar" Roxas II for creating "fissures" in the opposition bloc by picking on Villar.

"It’s a wrong motivation. Ano masasabi nila kay Manny, na nakikipag-usap sa admin? C’mon, hindi ba sila ang unang kumakausap sa admin, kaya di nila masisisi si Manny to react that way," Osmeña said in a radio interview.

Osmeña said the opposition leadership could also not blame Villar for not reaching out to the three senators.

Lacson is said to be pushing for Pimentel in exchange for the Blue Ribbon committee. Legarda hopes to reclaim the post of majority leader. Roxas reportedly wants the finance committee.

At the Kapihan sa Senado, Pimentel also took to task Roxas, Lacson and Legarda for complicating the race for the Senate presidency.

"The reason they want me to take a crack at it (Senate presidency) is that at 73, my eyes do not moist for the presidency anymore," Pimentel said.

Roxas, Lacson and Legarda reportedly have presidential ambitions in 2010.

Pimentel said the Senate president is entitled to many legal perks useful to any presidential ambition, including chairmanship of the Commission on Appointments.

He said Villar’s Senate presidency is "a little controversial" because he has aligned with administration senators.

But the choice of Senate president remains a numbers game, he said.

"It is reported that 14 senators are backing Villar. If that is true, congratulations to Manny," he said.

Asked if he considers Villar, who ran under the Genuine Opposition, to still be with the opposition, he said: "He has always said that he is with the opposition. Subject to proof to the contrary, I will take him at his word."

He maintained that the incoming Senate should be an opposition Senate. "That was the message of the people during the last elections," he said. – With JP Lopez
MALAYA 06/29/2007

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