MANILA, Philippines – The midterm polls just ended but lawmakers are already looking ahead to 2016 in jockeying for posts in Congress.
Sen Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr said the presidential election is a vital consideration as politicians in both the Senate and House of Representatives lobby for leadership posts.
“That is the biggest factor. That’s why whoever is identified as a presidentiable, expect that the administration will not help that person,” Marcos said in the Kapihan sa Senado press briefing on Thursday, June 20.
Marcos said the polls complicate the selection of leaders, with senators negotiating in both the party and individual levels. He is a member of the Nacionalista Party (NP) of outgoing Sen Manny Villar.
“A lot of decisions on the majority and minority in both the House and the Senate will be impacted [by] who will emerge as candidates in 2016. The Vice President declared his intention to run for the presidency so clearly, his group won’t get any help unless they think there is still hope the Liberal Party will get him as a candidate in 2016.”
Sen Franklin Drilon of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) is seen as the likely incoming Senate President, with the administration coalition winning 9 out of 12 seats in the May polls.
The NP was part of the administration slate. It holds sway as the party with the most members in the Senate: Marcos, Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Senator-elect Cynthia Villar.
Despite Drilon’s pronouncement that the NP agreed to field a common candidate with the LP, Marcos said that “nothing is set in stone yet.”
He said the NP is constantly in talks, with the group meeting just two days ago about the Senate leadership.
“Sen Drilon is the leading frontrunner for Senate President. He will try to accommodate as many requests as possible but you can imagine, it’s the big committees that everyone is asking for. It’s a little bit of a juggling act for Sen Frank.”
Marcos said the NP already informed Drilon of its preferred positions and committees but there has been no final commitment yet.
“Everyone is trying to get the best situation for themselves and for their party. While the question is open, we won’t stop. We’ll keep trying to do the best for us, for our party,” Marcos added.
Alan, Pia for leadership posts?
Marcos also said nothing is definite despite reports that the NP is fielding the Cayetano siblings for leadership posts like Senate President Pro-Tempore and Senate Majority Leader.
“We are open to anything. We have not decided on fielding or not fielding. From our perspective, it is very early because many things can happen between now and July 22 (the opening of Congress).”
Marcos said his party is not just looking after its members in the Senate but also NP members in the House and local governments.
“It’s difficult for a party or a group to be in the majority in the Senate and be in the minority in the House, and vice-versa.”
He cited the case of Binay’s opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), that may join the House majority but is part of the new Senate minority.
“That’s the kind of complication I’m talking about.”
Bong-Bongbong in 2016?
With the senator mentioning 2016, does he have any plans for the election?
“Many. That’s why I’m confused because I have so many plans,” Marcos said, laughing.
“I’ll definitely be running for something. Good luck is being ready when the opportunity presents itself so baka swertehin ako sa 2016,” he quipped. (I might be lucky in 2016).
The son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and a former Ilocos Norte congressman, Marcos is reportedly eyeing the presidency.
Asked about the possibility of a Bong-Bongbong tandem with Sen Ramon Revilla Jr of Lakas, Marcos said, “That started in Ilocos. When he visited, he asked, ‘Is that possible?’ I said, ‘Why not?’”
He told reporters, “Anything is possible. You guys are used to politics. Never say never.”
Pressed about an Alan-Bongbong tandem with Cayetano or simply a Marcos presidential bid, Marcos just said, “Bahala kayo.” (It’s up to you.)
In considering options, Marcos said politicians must consider not what surveys say but whether or not they have a plan to change their survey numbers.
The senator though admitted that it will be tough returning to Malacañang.
“Life in the Palace is difficult. It was Imee (my sister) who said it’s like a snake pit. It’s not an easy position to be in. In the US, look at Barack Obama, he has a lot of white hair now.”
After another Aquino presidency, should Filipinos expect another Marcos in the Palace, too?
The Marcos scion said, “Parati niyo akong sinusubo sa alanganin.” (You are always getting me into trouble.) – Rappler.com