The big losers


Now that the grand circus that is Philippine elections is over, we know who won and who lost. Who are the big losers in this election?

1. The Enriles – The United Nationalist Alliance (or UNA) is composed of so-called three kingmakers – Vice President Jejomar Binay Sr., Senator Juan Ponce Enrile Sr., and former President Joseph Estrada Sr. Each of the kingmakers fielded their children in this year’s Senate race – Binay’s daughter, Nancy; Enrile’s son, Jack; and Erap’s son JV. We all know that Nancy and JV won, but Jack didn’t make it.

Framing this in terms of 2016, Enrile will have a hard time spending his political capital. This election proves that his name is not enough to bring his son to the Senate (though the negative propaganda against Jack and the Senate budget scandal last December may have helped cost him a Senate seat), and so his political capital might not be enough to influence the 2016 elections. It is now important for Enrile Senior to retain his position as Senate President in order to increase his political capital. Sure, he can make sure he’s relevant as leader of opposition, but with so many senators with political ambitions, he has to fight 22 of them – including the children of his pragmatic allies Binay and Erap.

As for Jack: he has a lot of options at this point. He can return to the House by 2016, or take another shot at the Senate, or run for governor of Cagayan. The House is the safest bet.

(Enrile has resigned as Senate President – a day before Congress adjourns sine die).

2. The Liberal Party – As much as most media people and pundits call this election as a victory for Team PNoy, I have to disagree a wee bit and call this a loss for the Liberal Party.

The 2010 elections was probably the first elections since 1986 where no major coalitions were formed to carry candidates. Each of the major political parties at that time fielded their own candidates on national level. This time, two major coalitions were formed to battle for 12 Senate seats. The Aquino Administration framed this election as a referendum on the current administration, banking on the unprecedented popularity of the President. The field of candidates was so thin that neither of the two coalitions could form a complete slate – both had “guest candidates.” However, due to pressure on both sides, the guest candidates were forced to exclusively join Team PNoy, while UNA had to make do with 9 candidates.

In the Team PNoy coalition, three candidates came from the Liberal Party, and only one made it to the winner’s list (all the Nacionalistas in Team PNoy won, BTW). As the majority party this is a blow to the Liberals. Bam Aquino will join Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto, and Teofisto Guingona III as the Senate, making 4 Liberals – definitely not enough to gain the leadership without coalescing with other parties. As these coalitions tend to be fragile, the Liberals cannot afford to antagonize its partners or else it loses control of the Senate.

If the NP decides to field a candidate for president in 2016, I don’t expect the current coalition to last.

3. Mar Roxas – While LP retains majority of the House, and its coalition about to take control of the Senate, Binay has one advantage against Roxas – Binay has made his daughter win. This election validates that the Binay brand is bankable and durable, and his grassroots network can deliver.

Roxas, on the other hand, seems to be drifting. He has nothing to show in his stint at the DOTC, and his performance at DILG lackluster. He tends to be slow, indecisive, and too careful, hence after three years all infra projects under DOTC have yet to be started. If this continue, and Binay becomes more aggressive, Roxas can kiss 2016 goodbye.

4. Isko Moreno and the city of Manila – Isko scored a landslide win against Lou Veloso for the post of Manila’s vice mayor, so why is he a big loser? Because once again he will have to break with the would-be incumbent mayor in order to fulfill his ambition to be mayor of Manila. Why? What made him think Joseph Estrada will honor his word that he will only serve one term? This, coming from someone who promised never to run again for any public office only to run twice? Erap can either run again or field one of his children (some are already salivating on the idea of Jake Ejercito as mayor of Manila).

The city of Manila is the biggest loser here, because it now has a convicted plunderer as mayor. Erap may be able to improve the physical condition of the city, but a single term will not have any long term effect on the development of the city. If Erap is seeking redemption, he did so at the expense of the city. If he is really sincere, then he has no choice but to seek reelection and continue with his plans to make Manila a great city. This convinces me that Moreno has no choice but to do to Erap what he did to Fred Lim. I wish both of them luck.

5. Echiverri and the city of Caloocan – It seems that any attempt to establish a dynasty in Caloocan always fails. Rey Malonzo tried it years ago, fielding his common law wife and his son for mayor and councilor, respectively, while he ran for a House seat. All of them lost.

Then Recom Echiverri tried to build a dynasty by making his son RJ run as congressman – RJ lost. And as Recom’s term limit came, he made RJ run as mayor this year. RJ lost again. Recom will return to the House to represent the first district.

Echiverri must be so pissed off. After Oca Malapitan was proclaimed incoming mayor, all the blue boys (the Reformed Department of Public Safety and Traffic Management) are gone from the streets of Caloocan, as if telling the residents of Caloocan that they made the wrong choice. Now the residents of Caloocan have to pay the price – just look what a mess of a traffic jam is Rizal Avenue Extension from 2nd Avenue up to Monumento. Temporary vengeance, but a cruel one.