Bong on tandem with Bongbong: Why not?

Ayee Macaraig

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Is a 2016 tandem between Senators Bong Revilla and Bongbong Marcos in the works?

EYEING 2016. Sen Bong Revilla admits he is already preparing for 2016, including a possible tandem with Sen Bongbong Marcos but adds, "It's too early." File photo from Senate PRIB

MANILA, Philippines – Will it be Bong-Bongbong or Bongbong-Bong?

Sen Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr echoed Sen Bongbong Marcos in expressing openness to a possible 2016 tandem of the movie star-turned-lawmaker and the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

In a phone interview with Senate reporters, Revilla responded to the statement of Marcos welcoming a potential team-up in the presidential polls.

“That was asked of me when I went to Ilocos Norte. I was interviewed and asked if it’s true that there will be a Bongbong-Bong [tandem]. I said, ‘Why not?’ But it’s still too early to call,” Revilla said on Monday, June 24.

Revilla added, “Sen Bongbong is a good senator. I believe in his capabilities but it’s still too early. What’s important now is we work for the nation.”

In a press conference last week, Marcos expressed the same sentiment. “Why not? Anything is possible. You guys are used to politics. Never say never.”

Marcos also said the 2016 election is the biggest consideration as lawmakers jockey for leadership posts in the Senate and the House of Representatives. 

Revilla admitted that he is already preparing for the 2016 election. “They say it’s destiny so if fate will push us there, at least we are ready.”

The senator added that it is possible he will vie for president with Marcos as running mate, or vice versa.

“Pero wala pa kaming pinag-uusapan ni Senator Bongbong. Malay natin baka Bong-Poe or iba pa diba? Maraming pwedeng mangyari,” Revilla said. (But Sen Bongbong and I have not discussed anything yet. Who knows it will be Bong-Poe or someone else. Many things can still happen.)

Revilla was referring to Senator-elect Grace Poe, the frontrunner in the May 13 polls. The former censors chief is reported to be a possible presidential or vice presidential contender following her strong showing in the elections.

Marcos and Revilla have long been reported to be eyeing the presidency or the vice presidency but have yet to make categorical statements.

Marcos is a member of the Nacionalista Party (NP) headed by outgoing Sen Manny Villar while Revilla is the chairman of Lakas, once the ruling party under former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Only Vice President Jejomar Binay of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has openly declared his presidential ambitions.

Majority or minority for Bong?

Revilla also played coy when asked if he will join the majority or the minority in the 16th Congress.

“Well, let’s just wait for the right time. Whatever my decision will be, just stay tuned,” he said.

Revilla’s standing in the new Senate has been the subject of speculation after he got into a spat with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas over alleged police harassment against his family in the Cavite elections last month.

Roxas is the president-on-leave of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), which is expected to lead the majority in the next Congress. LP stalwart Sen Franklin Drilon will likely be the next Senate President.

Sen Jinggoy Estrada of UNA initially said Revilla will join the minority set to be led by resigned Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. Yet he later withdrew his statement.

“I do not want to preempt his decision but there are talks that are spreading that he just might join the majority. I cannot speak for himself. Nothing formal. We will know by July 22,” Estrada told Rappler in a previous interview. 

The 16th Congress opens on July 22, coinciding with the State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Aquino III. –  

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