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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Ideology, anyone?

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“New coalitions, new alliances, new movements, new parties — all flags of convenience camouflaging personal ambition, ideology and principles be damned”

In one of the regular weekly lunches I attend with friends from all stripes of the political spectrum, a debate between two members ensued.

One repeated what he has always been saying in the many talk shows he is current darling of — that the UniTeam is now all but dead except for the burial rites.

The reason he advanced was that the “alliance” between PBbM and ISZDC in 2022 was not based on any ideology or common principles, but was purely for purposes of electoral victory.

To which an incumbent governor, our lunch group’s resident “pilosopo” who always has something to say about anything, mostly street smart quips though based on a good reading of political history, retorted: “Meron bang ideology sa Pilipinas? Komunista lang ang may ideology.”

Almost everybody in our lunch group agreed with undisguised glee to his quip.

Looking back, was there any real ideological debate between Bonifacio’s Magdiwang and Aguinaldo’s Magdalo, other than the “educado” faction belittling the abilities of the plebeian founder of the Katipunan?

For a while, Juan Sumulong thought that becoming a state of the US of A was the way to go when the Americans hijacked our revolution. Manuel Luis Quezon however staunchly advocated independence.

But, later, Sumulong found common cause with Quezon in disapproving the Hare-Hawes-Cutting bill which the Osmena-Roxas faction brought home after their Washington sojourn.

His party “coalesced” with Quezon’s Nacionalista, although in 1941, when Quezon ran for re-election, Sumulong broke the alliance, ran for president, and lost.

After the Pacific War, just before the Americans “granted” us our “independence,” the election pitted Nacionalista Pres. Osmena against the newly formed Liberal Party’s Manuel A. Roxas who won.

Roxas died while visiting Clark in Pampanga, and VP Quirino succeeded him, but when he clamped down on corruption, his party-mate, Senate Pres. Avelino balked, and in 1949, formed an Avelino wing of the LP. Again, where was ideology?

To stem the growing Hukbalahap uprising, Quirino appointed a neophyte LP congressman, Ramon Magsaysay of Zambales, to the defense portfolio.

In 1953, when Quirino sought re-election, Magsaysay bolted the LP, and became the Nacionalista candidate against his patron. He won overwhelmingly, “with a little help from the Americans” who hated Quirino’s nationalistic bent.

History soon repeated itself when Magsaysay died in a plane crash, and was succeeded by his vice president, Bohol’s Carlos P. Garcia, who in the 1957 election, prevailed in a four-way contest over Jose Yulo of the LP, Manuel Manahan of the PPP, and the great Claro M. Recto of the Nationalist Citizens’ Party.

When he sought re-election in 1961, Garcia was up against his vice president, Diosdado P. Macapagal who won, bringing the Liberals back to power.

But in 1965, Senate President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. bolted the LP, and became a new member of the Nacionalista Party, went on to be its candidate, and was elected president.

Once again, no ideology, only ambition was the singular goal.

In 1969, Marcos was re-elected, defeating Liberal candidate, Sergio Osmena Jr., son of the former president, a staunch Nacionalista.

Marcos declared martial law in 1972 and reigned until 1986, though he supposedly “lifted” his authoritarian rule in 1981, where a sham election was held. He then proceeded to “unite” the NPs and LPs in a monolith called the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.

EDSA Uno cut him short, and a “forced” marriage of convenience again sans “ideology” (other than regaining democratic order) preceded the Cory-Doy “uniteam” of UNIDO, Liberals, PDP, etc., which broke two years after.

In 1992, the first presidential election was held under the 1987 Constitution, with the huge Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino fielding Speaker Ramon V. Mitra, while a few short ribs disengaged and formed Lakas, which coalesced with the NUCD, and won with Fidel V. Ramos, Cory’s choice.

In 1998, another new alliance was formed, with then VP Joseph Estrada’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino, Eduardo Angara’s LDP, and Eduardo Cojuangco’s NPC, called Laban ng Makabayang Masang Pilipino (LAMMP).

EDSA Dos brought the Lakas VP, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who reigned from Jan. 23, 2001 till June 30, 2010, the second longest-running presidency in our history.

Ninoy and Cory’s son, Noynoy Aquino, an LP, defeated new NP Manny Villar, PMP’s returning Joseph Estrada, and GMA’s Lakas candidate Gilbert Teodoro in the 2010 election.

Then in 2016, the PDP-Laban was tapped to become Rodrigo Duterte’s vehicle to victory, following which, his daughter Inday Sara, not of PDP but a newly-formed Hugpong, coalesced to give birth to another “Uniteam” in 2022 with Bongbong Marcos’ also newly-formed Partido Federal.

New coalitions, new alliances, new movements, new parties — all flags of convenience camouflaging personal ambition, ideology and principles be damned.

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