A spineless party
With President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte setting a record 91% trust rating according to a recent survey conducted by Pulse Asia, all attempts or even posturings of a “vigorous” opposition in Congress by members of the former ruling Liberal Party have all melted away.
Political observers have been primed to watch Davao del Norte Congressman Pantaleon Alvarez, stalwart of PDP Laban and President Digong’s handpick lieutenant in the House battle with former House Speaker and LP leader Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte but as it turned out, Belmonte didn’t have the guts to spar with Alvarez who easily secured the support of the grand coalition in the House.
Also known as the super majority, the new coalition includes the Nationalist People’ Coalition, National Unity Party, Nacionalista Party and the partylist bloc and most LP members.
It maybe recalled the Liberal Party had 115 members out of 297 at the peak of its power in 2013 after the party consolidated its forces 3 years into the Aquino presidency. The number has since whittled down to a measly and feeble 30, with 10 allies from Akbayan partylist, thanks to the unrelenting poaching of LP ranks by the new House leadership under Congressman Alvarez.
Of course, these political developments are no longer surprising in the context of weather-weather politics, but what is interesting is that despite a reported plan by former Speaker Sonny Belmonte to withdraw from the race and bring whatever remained of the ragtag LP to the PDP Laban fold, updates in the House merely demonstrated the weakness of the LP and Belmonte’s lack of political savvy.
Reports have it that Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez of United Nationalist Alliance has become a serious contender in the minority leader race after Alvarez committed some 50 members from its own majority allies to support Rep. Suarez. The plan to install Suarez as minority leader was reportedly confirmed in a meeting between Alvarez and Suarez with former vice president Jejomar Binay. Suarez is known as a staunch ally of former president and Pampanga Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
I will not be surprised if the House would be tagged as a rubber stamp of the administration, but if there’s anyone to blame for this unfortunate state of affairs, it will be the Liberal Party who gave up its claim to be the voice of the minority, all for the sake of expedience.
After Belmonte failed to get the second prize of the House leadership race, he and the LP are now having second thoughts about their plan to join the super majority, but after what happened last week, it has lost all credibility.
In the Senate leadership race, at least the LP was more forthright about its role to dance with the music.
Right after the elections, Senator Allan Peter Cayetano was eyeing the Senate leadership with a moist eye. Supporters of Digong’s defeated vice presidential candidate were saying the post was Cayetano’s for the asking, but apparently Digong wants congressional leaders to come from Mindanao.
There were no fireworks in the Senate race. PDP Laban Senator Aquilino Pimentel III came out the runaway winner, this after Senator Franklin Drilon and other LP senators junked the opposition role expected of the former ruling party. It remains to be seen though if LP stalwarts Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros will renounce their anti-Duterte sentiments.
In the end, Drilon even had to beg off challenging Pimentel, thus paving the way for Senator Ralph Recto to carry the mantle of the minority in the Upper Chamber.
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Cebu is hosting this week (July 28 and 29, at the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu City) the 1st Exhibition and Convention of leading Philippine companies engaged in semi-conductor and electronics industry including allied and support groups organized for Cebu electronic companies suppliers and industry stakeholders.
This important gathering will tackle what industry leaders call the 2nd Industrial Revolution, that is, the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) and its impact in business especially in semi-conductor and electronics industries.
Main organizer of the two-day event is the Cebu Semiconductor and Electronics Exhibition and Convention (CSEEC) in partnership with Mitsumi and Teradyne.
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