Wolves, Hyenas and Jackals at the Door: UNA’s Possible Strategies in the Run Up to 2016

wolves02Guest Article by Andrew Lim

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA)  is a political party that aims to gain power in 2016 and beyond. Just like most parties in the Philippine landscape, the partnership is based on political opportunism: join forces with those who have the resources, the crowd pull and the organization to obtain power.  The triumvirate of Jejomar Binay, Juan Ponce Enrile and Joseph Estrada head it.

The Napoles-PDAF scam snared two of UNA’s biggest pooh-bahs: Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, son of the former President convicted for plunder.

Since the Napoles-PDAF scam exploded in 2013, UNA still has some breathing space left of less than three years to try fix things and find ways to reinvent itself, secure its bases and still win in 2016.

We explore the possible options and strategies that UNA may employ in dealing with its political fortunes in the run up to 2016 and beyond.

UNA’s LIKELY STRATEGIES

For Vice President Binay:

1.Stay as Small as Possible in the Short Term

Who’s heard from him lately?  Since that Zambonga faux pas where he kept re-inserting himself into the negotiations resulting in an erroneous announcement of a ceasefire, he has been relatively quiet, preferring to do things on the ground, maximizing his remaining opportunities like his position as PAG-IBIG Fund housing czar. Recently, he has been going around Zamboanga, offering moratoriums to housing loan borrowers and giving away relief goods (see pictures of  loot bags with the seal of the Vice President in Pro-Pinoy Project blog).

Apparently, he’s taught his son (the current Makati mayor) his own techniques in building a national support base despite holding a local government position: he brought him to Zamboanga with relief goods. With Makati’s budget surpluses, it can afford to help out “sister”cities experiencing difficulties, e.g. Zamboanga.

Staying out of the two-week news cycle can do wonders, considering the forgetfulness and fickle-mindedness of many Filipino voters.

2. Mine his personal friendship with President Aquino and the family

Binay has maintained a long standing personal relationship with the Aquinos, dating back to the Marcos era, when he was a human rights lawyer. During his long stint as Makati mayor, he has cultivated this continuously and it can be hard to expect the Aquinos to turn against him.  It is the card that he has kept all these years.

However, the elections in 2016 will pose a problem for President Aquino: as LP head, he is expected to endorse his successor-candidate for the party; and with Binay having declared his run for president as well, they will be on a collision course by 2016.

If President Aquino can be convinced to pummel him like Gloria Arroyo or Renato Corona during the election campaign of 2016, then Binay’s political prospects diminish.

3. Court the support of the Catholic Church

Though UNA has no specific stand on the Reproductive Health law, many of its members voted against the measure:  Johnny Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Gringo Honasan, Mitos Magsaysay, JV Ejercito, Toby Tiangco, etc.

wolves01

The narrow-minded among the clergy actually advocated voting for UNA members who ran in the recent 2013 elections, just on the sole criteria of their opposition to RH.

UNA may present itself to the Catholic hierarchy as the political party which will de-fund RH. (assuming the Supreme Court upholds it)

4. Distance himself from Enrile, Estrada, etc.

Don’t expect Binay to have photo ops with the embattled senators in the near future.

For Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and other UNA stalwarts:

1. Keep finding new distractions.

Jinggoy’s “we are all sinners, others more so”  speech unexpectedly created a giant distraction: the DAP issue. At the very least, it took them out of the headlines, and gave the public something to fuss about.

It blurred the issue,  since the undiscerning public now see everyone as tainted, even if  DAP did not result in funds being pocketed for personal gain.

With the help of  a supporting cast of journalists and their own chattering class (more on this below) they can keep diverting  the attention from their crimes.

2. Keep out of the spotlight.

Who has heard of  Enrile or Honasan since the scandal erupted?

For other politicians involved in the Napoles-PDAF scam like Bong Revilla, etc :

Join forces with UNA.

Self-explanatory.

THE SUPPORTING CREW OF UNA

UNA has a set of enablers, helping them secure their political objectives. They can be classified in two:

1. Remnants of the Marcos, Arroyo and Estrada regimes

Politicians and former government officials like Kit Tatad, Prospero Pichay, Augusto Syjuco, Hermogenes Esperon, Renato Corona.  Kit Tatad, infamous for his role in the martial law years,  continues to write fairy tales in his column. Syjuco has filed cases left and right. Esperon and Corona were at Manila Hotel during the Luneta anti-pork rally, where Corona got booed.  Oh, and you have the President’s tita, Tingting Cojuangco, who attempted to detonate a bombshell without a single gram of proof about the 2013 elections, but no daily carried it except one.

2. Journalists

Writers and bloggers whom the larger public wisely ignores due to credibility issues: Bobi Tiglao, Belinda Cunanan, Gary Olivar, Jojo Robles, Alex Magno. As journalists, they have wasted the only currency they have: integrity.

OTHER OPTIONS FOR OPPORTUNISTS

Assassination of the President.

It’s a neat solution. By law, the successor would be Vice President Binay. But this is very messy and highly unlikely.

THE SCENARIO IF BINAY WINS THE PRESIDENCY

In the event Binay wins the presidency in 2016, one can expect that he will appoint new heads for the NBI and Department of Justice.  He will also appoint new justices to the judiciary to replace retirees. What will happen to the Napoles case?

Binay has never been known to be a graft buster and he has never made anti-corruption a major plank in his poltics. Do you think he will go against his buddies Johnny Enrile and the son of Joseph Estrada?

SOURCES:

  1. “Pag-IBIG to assist Zamboanga residents in rebuilding homes”, by Jerome Aning, Phil Daily Inquirer, October 4, 2013.
  2. “Binay’s Binaying”by Cocoy, Pro-Pinoy Project blog September 15, 2013.
Comments
21 Responses to “Wolves, Hyenas and Jackals at the Door: UNA’s Possible Strategies in the Run Up to 2016”
  1. ella says:

    Oh Dear God please delivers us from all these UNA animals. Please, let us educate all the Filipino Voters not to vote for these creatures.

    • Jo says:

      Agreeing with Ella. The people MUST be educated, and SOON. We might as well head back to the Spanish Era once Binay wins.

    • andrew lim says:

      Thank heavens we already have social media aside from traditional ones. But reaching out to the masses require more creative approaches- and it will have to involve NGOs, people’s organizations, and even traditional political parties.

  2. Jo says:

    It’s too early for Halloween, Andrew. Evil, evil Andrew.

    I find it interesting, though, that Zamboanga is a Makati sister city. Is it, really? Adds more credence to the rumor that Binay et al instigated the crisis there–not only to try and divert attention from the failings of his compadres, but also to allow him and his son an opportunity for papogi. The ceasefire-of-the-almighty-VP failed but in the reconstruction of Zamboanga, not only can he extol his ‘generosity,’ he can extol that of his son’s, too.

    This looks like a Villain Alliance–Arroyos, Estradas, Marcoses, Binays… and the Catholic Church. The new Axis of Evil. I don’t want to imagine where we’ll find ourselves come 2016.

    • andrew lim says:

      @Jo,

      I’m not certain if Zamboanga has sister city relations with Makati. What I know is that the elder Binay certainly did establish a lot of sister city relations with other cities in the past when he was mayor, and this is cited as a huge factor in his electoral victory as VP.

      If this piece creates a fear that spur people into action, then it will have served its purpose.

  3. The title is pretty unfair to wolves, hyenas and jackals.

    Most of the educated populace already know about these things. I hope you or someone can translate, and publish this on a tabloid so it could reach the masses. HAHAHA.

    So what if tabloid writers use degrading language and bad style? The important consequence is that the message reaches the masses.

    My professor in college, who worked for NGOs which educate the poor on wise voting, said that traditional voter education methods don’t work well. On election day, it’s the hungry stomach that matters.

    MY SUGGESTION: Go down the tabloid, gossip route and assassinate Binay’s character. I’m sure he has mistresses and does other moral misconducts. Also, do that to his immediate family members.

    • andrew lim says:

      Binay has admitted to having at least one affair in the past. It was brought into the open last election, but it didn’t affect his campaign much.

      While it is easy to become despondent on how to convince the masses not to vote for UNA, I am not pessimistic about it like in 1998 when Estrada was elected. Linking Binay to his partymates who are engaged in thievery is a pretty strong argument against them.

  4. Joe America says:

    I think your likely strategy for UNA will hold pretty true. I did not know that there was a connection between Aquino and Binay families. That would explain some things to me, like why Binay was so easily give P200 million in pork and why President Aquino did not publicly blast him for going on his own to try for a cease fire with Misuari.

    Binay got to where he is by high-skill favor trading and making lots of friends in all the right places. He works out of the public eye, so his achievements actually speak well for his talents. That a no-skill like Nancy Binay so easily got to the senate over old timers like Magsaysay and Gordon says a lot.

    Much will be determined by who LP selects as their candidate. I think Roxas is a born loser on the grand public scene because he is not a friend of the masses. Are there any around who could undercut Binay’s strength?

    I like the ticket of Poe and Aquino, if President Aquino can run for Vice President. Or Escudero/Aquino. Using the President’s mighty respect and popularity to counter Binay’s. Aquino’s role could be senior statesman and international gadabout.

    • andrew lim says:

      But Pnoy and LP should fix the pork and DAP issue first, and come out with a definitive solution to it. UNA’s PR handlers are succeeding in throwing grenade after grenade, which effectively diverts attention and gives the impression they are all the same. That favors UNA, since it doesnt make them look that bad anymore.

      If Pnoy goes against Binay in the campaign season, it will be harder for them to win.

    • cha says:

      Not a fan of Escudero. Reeks of trapo stench as far as I’m concerned.

      Roxas can be a hardsell at the moment but saying he’s a born loser is a little harsh, methinks. I really do think the guy is trying to do his job. But it seems some in media can’t help putting him in a bad light (intentionally or not).

      Is it genuinely because the guy can’t really do anything right or does he just refuse to play according to the rules set by those in media? Was President Aquino a media darling when he was in rhe Legislative?

      Escudero on the other hand gets lots of media coverage and I could be wrong but it seems he never really gets flak from media at all. But what has he really contributed thus far other than his opinion it seems, on everything?

      • Joe America says:

        Ah, thanks, Cha. I appreciate the observation on Escudero, and I agree my characterization of Roxas was harsh. He is not a “born loser”. He is a decent man. I do think the loss to Binay for VP was a very hard blow, and combined with what is apparently a widespread view that he is of the privileged class, apart from regular people, his candidacy would be “born to lose”. I wouldn’t know how to posture him as the second coming of Pnoy, who was launched on the historical poignancy of his mother. Now I can see how to launch Grace Poe on the historical poignancy of her father, and her common decency and purposeful work on important things, like FOI. She just plain thinks good, to me. I’ll look more closely at Escudero to see if he is indeed more puff than substance. I confess that I too don’t know what he has done, if he has done anything at all.

        • bobot says:

          I have high regards and expectations from Escudero until i heard him interviewed by Al Jazeera a few years back. He was a rising star in Philippine politics during that time and foreign news agencies took notice of him. There were four people interviewed by Al Jazeera from different countries. They were asked regarding their views on current events going on in their respective countries. While the other interviewees gave relevant answers, Escudero only rant against GMA and nothing else. He was cut-off the first time because the question was not about GMA. On the next question, he still ranted against GMA and was cut-off again. I was very disappointed with him because he showed no vision for the Phils. just politics.

  5. Luke says:

    I like Grace Poe to run. PNoy must decide now (PNoy’s choice already made a pass). Poe has a lot of catching up to do.

    • Joe America says:

      FOI might give her the platform, but she needs to push it. I know her committee is actively working on it.

      • Luke says:

        Both Team PNoy and UNA carried Grace last elections. Her No. 1 finish is also attributed from UNA’s endorsement especially on ground. Will she be able steal some UNA votes from UNA’s standard bearer when they go head to head? Those UNA votes still has FPJ’s mark, she might, how much or how many?

        • Joe America says:

          Excellent observation. I hadn’t considered the UNA component of her vote. I do know that as a marketing guy, I’d leverage her father’s aura to the hilt. Action oriented, tough, smart.

          • David Murphy says:

            “Grace Poe: She’s only been in politics for 4 years.” How’s that for a campaign slogan for a presidential candidate?

          • Joe America says:

            @ David, “Unstained by politics”.. She has had a position of responsible leadership, and handled it well (Movie Ratings Board). She is respected by everyone, and was on both UNA and LP tickets. US President Ronald Reagan had a similar path upward, President of the Screen Actor’s Guild, Governor of California, President of the US. He was reasonable and charming. Rather like Grace Poe. Plus they have that mass name popularity than can’t be bought with advertising.

  6. I hope the President can read this so his team can prepare for 2016. I also hope his team is smart and wily (in a good way, haha) enough to secure a win for the next election.

    • Joe America says:

      “His people” are known to stop by now and then. I’m personally looking forward to the election, even though as a foreigner I have to shut my yap during the electioneering period. Would’t want us influencing things . . .

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