Third Force eyes 2010 polls

New ‘Reform Coalition’ to give options

By Efren L. Danao, Senior Reporter

A third force called “Reform Coalition” is now being organized so as not to limit voters to just administration and opposition candidates in the 2010 elections, Senate Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan said Sunday.

“This coalition will build a reform constituency so that public-sector groups for reforms can join hands with church groups, non-government organizations, civil society and students,” he told The Manila Times.

Pangilinan would not say if the Reform Coalition would merely adopt a presidential candidate in 2010 or field its own. It also was not clear if the coalition would seek accreditation from the Commission on Elections, or Comelec.

“We haven’t discussed those issues yet,” the Senator explained.

He said he has been going around the country trying to cobble up the “Reform Coalition,” and that he has been receiving an encouraging response.

The Senator identified Pam­panga Gov. Ed Panlilio, Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca, Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, the Movement for Good Governance, some local officials and the Bayan Muna party-list as among those that are also actively pushing for a coalition of reformists.

“The victory of Among Ed, Mayor Robredo and Gov. Padaca showed that people looking for reforms look beyond the candidates of the traditional political parties,” he said.

He also cited a recent survey on perceived presidential aspirants by the USAID, the American government’s aid agency, showing that 45 percent of the respondents picked “none of the above.” Pangilinan said the survey results were not made public, but he was shown a copy.

Among those eying the presidency in 2010 are Vice President Noli de Castro, Senate President Manny Villar Jr., Mayor Jejomar Binay of Makati City and Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd. Even former President Joseph Estrada, who was booted out of power and later convicted of plunder, said he might run if the opposition fails to rally behind one candidate for the Palace.

Pangilinan took this to mean that an increasing number of people are getting disenchanted with political parties as instruments for reforms. He added that the people’s hopes for reforms after EDSA 1 and EDSA 2 were all dashed mainly because leaders and political parties had pursued the politics of accommodation. EDSA is Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, where bloodless revolutions ousted the late President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and Estrada in 2001.

“Our per capita income has not increased in the last 20 years,” Pangilinan added. “The issues we were raising 20 years ago when we were still students are still being raised by the students today. This means nothing has moved.”

People were seeking guidance and direction from national leaders that would take the country “out of the mess we are in,” but got no response, the Senator said.

“If we leave things as they are, I am not optimistic of genuine reforms after 2010. There will only be a change in administration but no reforms. The Reform Coalition will give a message of hope in getting the country out of this mess,” he said.

Genesis of reform

Pangilinan said the idea of a “Reform Coalition” was hatched during the 2007 senatorial elections. The coalition was supposed to be composed of candidates who were neither opposition nor administration. He identified them as then re-electionists Villar, Ralph Recto, Joker Arroyo and himself, along with Sonia Roco and Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd, with Roxas as campaign manager.

“We were close to making it happen,” Pangilinan said. “That attempt failed because there was no reform constituency formed around it. Things will be different in 2010.”

Sen. Arroyo and Recto joined the administration ticket. Villar was nominally in the opposition ticket, while Pangilinan campaigned as an independent. Roco and Aquino sided with the opposition.

After the 2007 elections, Pangi­linan rejected any executive post in the Liberal Party after it identified itself as opposition.

The Liberals had endorsed the impeachment of then-President Estrada, Pangilinan said, adding that he did not want the party to join the group led by the former president.

End personality politics

Pangilinan continues to describe himself as “independent,” although he officially remains a member of the Liberal Party.

He said he believes that creating a reform constituency would end personality-oriented elections in the country. He added that elections had been personality-oriented because the political parties had defaulted on their obligations to the electorate.

“The raising of issues is not the voters’ function but the candidates’, and the candidates’ message had always been the same—vote for me,” the Senator said.

He also noted that people are no longer being swayed by huge television advertisements during an election campaign.

“In 2007, only four of the 12 big spenders won. Television exposure alone will not make a candidate win,” he said.(ManilaTimes)


My Take:

Well, as usual, the political outcast, babbles for the formation of a political third force.  Pangilinan surely is putting is best foot forward to take his chance for the Presidency.

Well, I must admit, its a good strategy, specially now that both administration and traditional political opposition are not looking so handsome in the eyes of the Filipino people.

But surely, im not praying for him to win.  Because my pray will surely get a “noted” response to this mega-senator.

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