Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Eh-hum # 265

After the US elections, I haven't really been interested in watching the news. So imagine my surprise when I found out yesterday that Presidentiable and Senator Manny Villar is no longer the Senate President. He was replaced by 84-year old Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

This is all too bizaare to me since last time I heard, Villar and his supposed allies outnumbered those belonging to the administration. Fourteen senators, both from the minority and majority voted for Villar's ouster and supported Enrile's election to the Senate presidency. Meanwhile, six of them abstained from voting (Aquino, Arroyo, Cayetano siblings, Pimentel and Pangilinan). This most recent development in the Senate proves, without a doubt, that there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests. It's strictly politics, as one journalist in the Philippine Star opinion section said.

Villar's involvement in the C-5 controversy (hence, Senators Lacson and Madrigal voted "Aye") were said to be one of the main reasons for his ouster. Another is his bid for the Presidency in 2010; some say that he could use his position as Senate President to allocate Senate funds to his campaign (hmmm, now where have I heard THAT before?). In addition, the Inquirer reported that deposed President Erap Estrada "helped oust Manuel Villar as Senate president because he wants the latter out of the way of the opposition ticket in the 2010 presidential election". Of course, Estrada denied this. Similarly, Malcanang denied any involvement in Villar's ouster.

His resignation could work for Villar. One journalist said that "Villar can now cultivate an image of independence from both the administration and the mainstream opposition". He can also take advantage of Enrile's reputation as, excuse me, a serial "balimbing". Enrile was one of the enforcers of Martial Law (remember the assassination attempt that started it all), then became a "hero" of 1986 People Power revolution, and then was implicated in a series of coup attempts against the Aquino government staged by his former military aide and now Senator Honasan. Moreover, Enrile is part of the administration bloc but is still affiliated with the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, an opposition party. This is not funny anymore.

Of course, this is not to say that Villar has not switched sides (A Pinoy politician not switching sides is truly rare, or endangered), remember Estrada's impeachment and his current political affiliation. We shall see how long Enrile can stay in power; if he's not careful or if he fails to "please" the divas in the Senate, he could end up like another trapo, Representative Jose De Venecia. Moreover, can he salvage the reputation of the Senate from an "inquisitorial institution" (CONFESS YOU SINNERS!!! CONFESS!!! CONFESS!!!) to an establishment founded on justice, integrity and honor. Can he also effectively make the Senators (about a quarter of them already preoccupied with running for higher office), you know, WORK. Haaaay, indeed, where is the Senate going? More importantly, where is the country headed?

Dear Lord...

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