Espinoza: Our current politics is like a poker game

·3 min read

IN 1972, two days after I celebrated my natal day, Martial Law (ML) was proclaimed by the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. I was second year in the College of Criminology, University of the Visayas, when that happened that I have to go home to my hometown in Cagwait, Surigao del Sur since classes were suspended then.

The then Philippine Constabulary (PC), the implementor of ML, was mighty and authoritative. I sported long hair, which was then the vogue that my classmates even call me "Tepepa." But long hair was banned then that in one occasion, a PC soldier ordered me to have a haircut, or else he'll cut it himself. That is one of our simple freedoms that was curtailed during ML. The worst part of ML was the total suppression of the freedom of speech and expression when the press was shut down. That is now part of history. The Cebu Press, spearheaded by the eminent Atty. Cheking Seares, now celebrates the Press Freedom Week every September 21.

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With few days left before the filing of the certificates of candidacy for those seeking the presidency and the rest of the elective posts down to the municipal level, social media is flooded with posts as to who would run for president and vice president. If one notices, some of the probable presidential bets are keeping their cards secret just like playing the game of poker. Are we to understand that some of them are only bluffing?

The latest to formally announce his candidacy for president is Senator Manny Pacquiao, although his name was already floated before in social media of his intention to seek the top post. Bongbong Marcos (BBM), the scion and namesake of the late strongman Ferdinand Sr., is playing his card well with the Dutertes. BBM's friends have said many times that he wouldn't run against the Dutertes. He is certain to run either for president of VP.

Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, after months of touring the country for her presidential bid and signing agreements of support from the local officials in Mindanao, suddenly said she would not run if her father, President Digong, would run for vice president. But it seems funny that if Sara is not seeking the presidency, which she strongly announced before her father's decision to run for VP, why would she nominate Liloan Mayor Cristina Garcia-Frasco as her spokesperson in Cebu? Perhaps, part of the drama.

Partylist Representative Mike Defensor, in a TV interview, said that a BBM-PRRD (President Rodrigo R. Duterte) tandem is possible because, he said, they have not hurled hurting statements against each other unlike in the other camps. Obvious is the fact that BBM, through his supporters in Quezon City, has started the campaign by distributing bags of goodies to the residents.

Recently posted on social media is the Sara Duterte and BBM tandem, humorously coined as Sa-Bong. Therefore, the likely administration bets for president and vice president are reduced to Sara, BBM and PRRD. Of course, PRRD could only run for VP. If the BBM-Sara or Sara-BBM tandem would push through, PRRD would just sit back and relax. I bet Senator Bong Go will not run for president.

If Senator Pacquiao, Senator Lacson, and VP Leni Robredo would run for president in their own party, it would be an easy win for a Duterte-BBM, or vice-versa tandem plus the fact that President Duterte still wields power on election day. Pacquiao, Lacson and Robredo should better rethink their position if they would want change.

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