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Post-mortem

"Upon this depends the moving-on decision, the alternative options, the next-time strategy, the giving-it-all-up or goodbye world ending. "

 

The dictionary defines this column’s Latin title as “an examination of a dead body to determine the cause of death.”

But in a larger sense, post mortem could be any post-event analysis of the whys and what ifs of defeat, or even victory.  A sensible politician, a military strategist, even a businessman must always analyze the whys of any major event.

So it is with electoral defeat.  So it must be with victory.

Upon such a post-mortem depends the moving-on decision, the alternative options, the next-time strategy, the giving-it-all-up or goodbye world ending. 

The Estrada dynasty is gone.  The patriarch can no longer reinvent himself given his age and the recent electoral defeat of everyone in the clan.  Will there be a next-time?

Probably for Senator JV Ejercito, who lost by a whisker.  What if the INC chose him instead of his brother Jinggoy? Clear by the numbers he would have won reelection.  Clear by the three-million vote difference also, Jinggoy lost in spite of the INC inclusion.

Ergo, if there is anyone in the Estrada clan who could yet be resurrected politically in the next electoral round, it would have to be JV.  It could mean going back to where it all began—San Juan.  Or it could be keeping himself highly visible for the next two years doing something of service to the national public and getting himself into the senatorial ticket of a major candidate for the presidency come 2022.

The same can be said for the LP’s Bam Aquino.  Had the INC carried him, he would have been the only defined opposition candidate in the win column.  I say “defined” because there are two independent winners allied with the administration as of February 2019 but may switch to being oppositionist, not soon, but eventually.  There are also two winners who will likely stay away from the fray, thankful that celebrity stardom still has residual value among the “masa.” For the next three years, expect them to stay “safe” in the politics of the nation.

The amazing Doc Willy Ong, without a party and with very little resources spent, eschewing even the contributions of the usual donors, should plan his next campaign for the Senate.  He deserves another crack, perhaps less independently, and the chances of winning the next time around are very high.

As for the “Otso Diretso,” which started off on the wrong foot, with plenty of elitist idealism but little else, a surprising imperviousness to public opinion surveys, and so many other mistakes by any objective political rule book, is dead as a group.  A group post-mortem is of no purpose.  Individually, they would have to re-assess their political options.

Senate President Tito Sotto who is assured of keeping the leadership of the chamber is correct when he assures everyone that the Senate will remain independent.  Twenty-four “republics,” with shifting alliances and personal ambitions according to the political temperature, which starts percolating in 2021.  Exceptions to these obviously would be Bong Go, Bato de la Rosa and Francis Tolentino, whose loyalty to the President will be expected come hell or high water.

For those who won or lost congressional or local government seats, a post mortem should include planning how to keep the seat come the elections of 2022, or where to “move on” if term limits dictate, or even how to totally annihilate all threats to the office.

Theoretically, good performance in the new or reelected office is the answer, but in practice, one has to go beyond that and into the realm of being one-step ahead of the competition or perceived competition at all times.

The new king-slayers, Isko Moreno of Manila, Vico Sotto of Pasig, Francis Zamora of San Juan, Benjie Magalong of Baguio among others, will have to “hit the ground running” so to speak, as that would be the best insurance the ancient regime will be put to rest and new pretenders will bide their time.

A good post-mortem, properly post-victory analysis will identify the priorities that will “mesmerize” the electorate.  Three years is such a short time to deliver, and in truth, the third year is already election season.

For Malacañang, a good post-mortem should start with a proper listing of who There were LGU officials and congressmen who were virtually without competition in the last elections.  How did they “deliver” to Bong Go, Bato, Tolentino?

However, in tight contests such as Cebu, the President’s favorites landed safely in the win column.  In a province like Tagalog-speaking Rizal and Cavite, the president’s favorites did well, but in so many other provinces outside of Mindanao, how did they fare? 

That should be the political determinant of who to anoint to major positions in the House of Representatives, especially the all-important speakership which in Philippine political praxis is determined by the presidency, especially by a president who has won an overwhelming support on his mid-term.

A speaker-to-be speaks to an audience of One, not to a multitude of three hundred.

Neither does the “party” leadership determine who it will finally support.  

Would the PDP-Laban for instance hold a straw vote among its winning congressmen to determine who to support among dynasty-slayer Bebot Alvarez, Marinduque congressman Lord Velasco, Pampanga representative Dong Gonzales, San Juan City’s Ronny Zamora, y quien mas?

Or would all ears be on the whispers (the President calls it “murmurings”) around the Palace?

The Nacionalistas, the NPC, the NUP are virtually “owned” in varying degrees of liberality or control, by their funders.  These funders will try to gauge the opinions of their members, but in the end, have their ears on the hallowed grounds of Jose P. Laurel upon the Pasig River.

The Hugpong obviously will as well.

In the next two months leading to the opening of the 18th Congress, the center of political gravity will be in Malacañang, not the Batasan, until the audience of one makes known his decision.

And one can only hope that the advisers of that audience of one is doing a proper post-mortem.  These are the last three years.

Topics: Lito Banayo , Post-mortem
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