Which way to the united front?
The latest politician to throw his hat into the ring was boxer-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao, who now hopes to parlay a stellar—and lucrative--boxing career and a lackluster track record as a legislator marked by habitual absenteeism into a successful presidential run. Pacquiao did not start out as an opposition figure and allied himself with the President—until doing so ran against his personal ambitions. His desire to run, in fact, has created a rift in the ruling PDP-Laban, the other half of which supports Mr. Duterte’s absurd and cynical run for the vice presidency as a way to sidestep the constitutional ban on a second presidential term. This faction of the ruling party has elected to support whoever Mr. Duterte picks to be his running mate—a position that has fueled all sorts of speculation that involve, among others, his daughter and a former senator whose very name evokes memories of martial law from 49 years ago. In the meantime, the 1Sambayan coalition of anti-administration forces has been quiet. Early on, it had ruled out supporting Pacquiao, while Senator Panfilo Lacson, who has also declared his intention to run for president again after failing twice, has declined a nomination from 1Sambayan. They may yet agree on who among six nominees named in June will be their standard bearer—but with so many other candidates outside of the coalition in the running, this will by no means be a unified front capable of overwhelming the administration ticket. But then, the notion of a united front in Philippine politics—with the notable exception of a few cases—seems illusory.