The Robredo-Lacson Talks enigma

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Until now, I just couldn’t understand the political logic behind the Robredo-Lacson-Sotto talks. For one, several years ago, a Nationalist People’s Coalition official referred to former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the “real VP” instead of Vice President Leni Robredo. That shows you that within the NPC, there are people there who does not like the Vice President. For one, the NPC is controlled by no less than RSA and his business interests surely run contrary to those people behind Robredo. Then, why talk?

Probably unknown to most, but RSA and the people behind Robredo are not exactly serious enemies. Back during the time of former president Noynoy Aquino, RSA is a frequent visitor of Malacanan–just like the others. RSA is pretty close to Noynoy’s business and political associates and rumors were at that time, that RSA had even partied with former Executive secretary Paquito Ochoa jr. RSA even had dealings with Ochoa’s brother in law, an owner of a big real estate firm.

So while NPC is one of the Hugpong political parties, a faction close to Senate president Vicente “Tito” Sotto III had announced their intention to support a Soto vice presidential run with Senate colleague, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson. Lacson says he will not back out, because he owes it to former defense secretary Renato de Villa whom he met and probably was the one who told him his desire to see a PMA’er become president by 2022. Unknown to many, Lacson and De Villa (who once ran and lost the presidency to Joseph Estrada in 1998) are very close–in fact, it was De Villa who gave Lacson a new lease of life when he appointed the young Lacson a post in Cebu after being in the freezer after EDsa uno. De Villa is like a father to Lacson who, in his credit, is really a gentleman and an officer. If you ask me, Lacson is really presidential material. In fact, Lacson may be the perfect head of state in a revolutionary government.

That explains why Reporma is now being headed by Lacson– I think De Villa already passed the torch to him. For those who don’t know, de Villa is sick, and evidently so because the former defense chief is now also in his eighties I believe.

Okey, going back to the Robredo-Lacson talks enigma. I think there is an oligarch behind this talk. I am not saying its RSA—let me be clear. Maybe another oligarch who hates Duterte so much. Anyway, such a coalition–the NPC and Reporma isn’t really an issue– it is the possibility of these political parties outmaneuvering the 1Sambayan coalition and eventually owning the opposition tag.

I agree with Lacson that there is a sizable portion of the voting population who hates both the Duterte and the opposition camps–and for good reason–the people suffered from the unfulfilled promises of both sides. Yes, the economy rose during the time of the yellows yet economic benefits did not trickle down to the lowest socio-economic rungs of society. That reality was the one story that Mr. Duterte brought with him to victory over a more decent and more presidential material such as a Mar Roxas.

The Robredo narrative is starkly similar to that of Cory Aquino during the pre-election days that led to the 1986 people’s revolution. I remember that Cory Aquino was the popular choice of civil society to pit against the dictator Marcos. Cory had to navigate herself through the political forest and eventually settled to a political modus vivendi with no less than the camp of Salvador Laurel, who was then already in talks with the defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile. Enrile wrote in his memoirs that as early as 1985, he was already convinced that his life and the lives of his associates within the defense establishment were under severe thr]eat from the Imelda Marcos-Ver clique. That explains why as early as 1982-1983, some of his RAM boys had been preparing for a power struggle with Enrile as their head and Imelda in the dictator’s camp. Enrile had been talking with Laurel that early, according to another witness at that time, Laurel’s associate Atty. Homobono Adaza.

So this script reportedly concocted by people within the US state department is now or again being followed in this Robredo thing–suspiciously. The thing is, the circumstances that created the opportunity for the opposition win against Marcos during those times are acutely dissimilar with the ones we are at now. First off, Robredo is not as popular as Cory. There are no myth on Robredo’s while during the pre-election days, favorable stories swirled around town about Cory that most of the middle class gravitated to.

Second, there is yes, fragmentation within the Duterte regime, similar to the one experienced during the Marcos later years. However, we don’t exactly know how serious this fragmentation is, but from the looks of it, it really seems there is a serious rift that exists between the Sara Duterte group and the ones of Senator and former SAP Go.

Unlike the Enrile-Imelda Marcos rift though, this Sara Duterte-Go divide is curable. The one thing that will eventually unite them is their love and concern for the President whose fate lies in a perilous state post-election wise. The solution is really for the Go clique to just give way to a Sara Duterte-BBM tandem. The thing is, the Go clique is entirely paranoid because the possibility of isolation remains for the good senator the minute his principal, President Duterte leaves office. Even if Sara wins, the fate of Go lies uncertain because Sara’s group reportedly hates the guts of close political and business associates of Go. What I am saying is this– balagoong o taya si Senator Go in a post-PRRD era. The good senator must prepare for his self-preservation.

Unfortunate for Senator Go, he has become that one identified person whom the Big Boys hate so much. The fact is– Go might become the sacrificial lamb after this administration. History has shown that the plutocrats and the oligarchs of this country often come to an agreement among themselves on who to train their sights at and most often than not, it is the likes of Go whom they pick and choose to fight. Ask me–is it possible for the Duterte family to come to the table and negotiate their way out of politics with these Big Boys and just allow the former Chief Executive to enjoy his remaining years under retirement? Of course, this is a possibility. However, like other monumental power struggles, there will be some people who will bear the weight of the sins of the previous dispensations and some people think it is Go.

Now, going back to Robredo–so if her campaign is following this script, then, is there a plan there that contemplates an action similar to the one that happened after serious accusations of electoral fraud surfaced? Again, in this aspect, there is a very eerie resemblance or possible repeat of another revolution but this time, I think, it would lead to an establishment of a revolutionary government composed of no less than young military officers backed by their political donors and economic benefactors. Such a script may even be a delicious proposition even to serious ideologues and Federalists who once allied with Duterte in the hopes of achieving their life-long objective.

So now it will be a struggle I think between Lacson and Robredo for this enviable role in the event that these elections turn bloody and fraudulent.


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