Proxy wars in the 2013 elections

  • Philippines urges Southeast Asia to rally to halt China reclamation in …

    Philippines urges Southeast Asia to rally to halt China reclamation in …

    Reuters
    Philippines urges Southeast Asia to rally to halt China reclamation in …

    The Philippines on Sunday called on neighbouring Southeast Asian nations to push for an immediate halt to China's reclamation in the disputed South China Sea ahead of a regional summit. China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas, with overlapping claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in building an airstrip suitable for military use in contested …

  • Beijing poised for 'de facto control' of S.China Sea: Philippi …

    Beijing poised for 'de facto control' of S.China Sea: Philippi …

    AFP News
    Beijing poised for 'de facto control' of S.China Sea: Philippi …

    Beijing is poised to take "de facto control" of the South China Sea, the Philippines warned on Sunday as it called on fellow Southeast Asian countries to "finally stand up" to their massive neighbour. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic South China Sea, but Beijing claims nearly all of it and its increasingly strident assertions of its territorial ambitions have caused concern in the region and beyond. "(China) is poised to consolidate de facto control …

  • United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot

    United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot

    Reuters
    United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft, and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington's next phase in its Asia "pivot", deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia "pivot" has already seen U.S. Marines rotating through the …

  • Nepal hospitals overflowing, rural towns cut off: aid groups

    Nepal hospitals overflowing, rural towns cut off: aid groups

    AFP News
    Nepal hospitals overflowing, rural towns cut off: aid groups

    International aid groups and governments intensified efforts to get rescuers and supplies into earthquake-hit Nepal on Sunday, but severed communications and landslides in the Himalayan nation posed formidable challenges to the relief effort. As the death toll surpassed 2,200, the US together with several European and Asian nations sent emergency crews to reinforce those scrambling to find survivors in the devastated capital Kathmandu and in rural areas cut off by blocked roads and patchy …

  • Strongman Nazarbayev tipped for fresh term as Kazakhstan votes

    Strongman Nazarbayev tipped for fresh term as Kazakhstan votes

    AFP News
    Strongman Nazarbayev tipped for fresh term as Kazakhstan votes

    Millions of Kazakhs cast their votes on Sunday in the energy-rich Central Asian country in a ballot that is almost certain to re-elect the 74-year-old strongman incumbent Nursultan Nazarbayev. The marginalised opposition has not put forward any candidates for the election and Nazarbayev is standing against two candidates widely seen as pro-government figures. By midday local time (0600 GMT), 41 percent of the 9.5 million electorate had voted at over 9,000 polling stations across the country, …

In the aftermath of Malacañang’s six-month suspension of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia, a tenuous ruling coalition has started unravelling.

United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) stalwarts Vice-President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay (PDP-Laban), former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada (PMP), and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (PMP) went to Cebu to personally show their solidarity and support to the embattled Governor.

Reportedly, UNA’s Secretary-General Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco said that the suspension order is an act of “power grab and political persecution.”

Background: For Gwen, family,it’s Christmas Day in Capitol Building

The Liberal Party, leader of the opposing senatorial slate to UNA’s own, found it necessary to issue a disclaimer that it is behind the Garcia suspension.

Malacañang, for its part, advised Governor Garcia to just follow the rule of law and for the UNA leaders to advise her to do so.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has already sworn in Cebu Vice-Governor Agnes Magpale (LP), the sister of Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras.

The Cebu drama—which still unfolds—puts a severe strain on the Aquino ruling coalition. UNA has a dilemma of sorts.

Related story: Post-RH bill politics

Its member-parties are still a formal partner in the ruling coalition and it recognizes President Aquino as the head of the coalition.

Yet, it is the subject of what it perceived as LP maneuvers that weaken them or, more correctly, weaken Vice-President Binay’s support in the 2016 presidential elections.

In this sense, it perceives the Cabinet, the Executive agencies, and many of those in Congress and local governments as hostile forces.

It may even extend to President Aquino himself, since he is the LP Chairman and head of the Executive Department.

However, UNA cannot openly go against the president since this will effectively kick them out of the ruling coalition and straight into the role of the opposition to the Aquino administration.

In turn, they will lose a lot of political and material advantages they have at present.

Also read: Did politics distract Manny Pacquiao in the ring?


It is also politically dangerous—as the Arroyo opposition and the Makabayan political coalition found out—to openly go against a hugely-popular president.

However, as long as UNA pursues a course that does not draw a clear line of distinction between them and the LP, it is vulnerable to further offensives from the latter.

The Cebu suspension—and possibly, the investigation into the jueteng connections of Pangasinan governor Amado Espino—may politically damage their 2016 presidential ambitions.

The proxy war in the 2013 elections is heating up.

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Ramon Casiple is a well-respected political analyst. He is also the Executive Director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER).

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  • Philippines urges Southeast Asia to rally to halt China reclamation in disputed waters
    Philippines urges Southeast Asia to rally to halt China reclamation in disputed waters

    The Philippines on Sunday called on neighbouring Southeast Asian nations to push for an immediate halt to China's reclamation in the disputed South China Sea ahead of a regional summit. China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas, with overlapping claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in building an airstrip suitable for military use in contested …

  • President to appeal for Filipina's life at Malaysia summit
    President to appeal for Filipina's life at Malaysia summit

    The Philippine president said Sunday he would appeal for mercy for a Filipina who is due to be executed in Indonesia in two days' time. President Benigno Aquino said he would take the opportunity to seek clemency for Mary Jane Veloso, who is due to be put to death on Tuesday, while in Malaysia for a regional summit Monday. "Once I am there, I will try to speak to President Joko Widodo of Indonesia to appeal once more for her case," Aquino said. She was arrested in 2009 with 2.6 kilograms …

  • Beijing poised for 'de facto control' of S.China Sea: Philippines
    Beijing poised for 'de facto control' of S.China Sea: Philippines

    Beijing is poised to take "de facto control" of the South China Sea, the Philippines warned on Sunday as it called on fellow Southeast Asian countries to "finally stand up" to their massive neighbour. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic South China Sea, but Beijing claims nearly all of it and its increasingly strident assertions of its territorial ambitions have caused concern in the region and beyond. "(China) is poised to consolidate de facto control …

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