Philippine Palace expects political split

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - It may be true that Vice President Jejomar Binay really supports President Aquino and that the President finds Binay really cool as his No. 2.

But that is today. They have been serving barely two years and there is nothing to gore each other about in running the state.

Give it some time, though, and the two will go separate ways. That¿s in the stars.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigal Valte explained the ¿inevitable¿ split in an interview on dzBB radio on Sunday.

Valte pointed out that the President and the Vice President belong to different political parties with different platforms of government.

As such, they differ in their understanding of the country¿s numerous problems and approaches to dealing with these ills that both of them have sworn to solve.

Having been elected, however, both are working together and so far have not found their differing political ideals making harmony impossible for them.

Inevitably, however, the two will part ways over politics, Valte said, but did not offer a time frame within which the rapture will occur.

That may be sooner than expected, as Binay, though swearing support for the President, has been openly preparing to replace him in the Palace in 2016.

Not because as vice president, he will be the President¿s candidate for the Palace¿that¿s Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas, president of Aquino¿s Liberal Party (LP) and his vice presidential running mate in 2010.

Binay will run against Roxas, which means he must break away from Aquino¿s administration.

In preparation for that run, Binay has brought his Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party into a coalition with the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) party of former President Joseph Estrada. The coalition is called the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), now moving fast to capture electable candidates for its congressional and local tickets in next year¿s midterm elections.

Too early

The Liberal Party says the UNA is positioning too early, but it is quietly looking around for alliances to put together dominant tickets for both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The 2013 midterms will be a preview of the general election in 2016. The results can show which candidate is most likely to end up as the new Palace tenant in 2016.

At least two major political parties have reported being approached by representatives from the PDP-Laban and the Liberal Party about an alliance for next year¿s midterms.

The Nacionalista Party (NP) and the National Unity Party (NUP) said the overtures came with rival demands for support for Binay and Roxas in the race for the Palace in 2016.

Alliance efforts

NP Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla of Cavite, deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, and NUP Rep. Antonio Alvarez of Palawan both confirmed efforts by both the PDP-Laban and the Liberals to strike alliances for next year¿s elections but on condition that they commit to support Binay and Roxas in 2016.

¿They are turning the 2013 elections into a proxy fight for the 2016 presidential elections where Binay and Roxas are likely to run for the presidency," Remulla told the Inquirer in a phone interview.

¿What they are saying basically is that if you are not with us then you are against us. I think that is too drastic a demand for a political alliance when we should only be looking at 2013 and not 2016," Remulla said. ¿A lot of things can change in the next four years."

¿Even a month is an eternity in Philippine politics," Alvarez said in a text message to the Inquirer.

¿The basis of any alignment should not be one who¿s popular or the one with the most followers. There are more important factors to be considered in coalition building," he said.

Program of gov¿t

¿The most important, trite as it may sound, is the program of government," he said.

Alvarez said it was ¿unproductive and premature¿ for both the PDP-Laban and the LP to talk about Aquino¿s successor now when the Chief Executive still has four years left on his term.

¿The parties should just focus on the job at hand. There are so many problems confronting the nation," Alvarez said.

Remulla said the political parties¿ main focus should first be on the outcome of the Senate trial of the impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.

¿The voting results could well dictate the theme or mood of the elections," Remulla said.

Both the NP and the NUP have offered themselves as sanctuary for candidates not wanting to make a stand for the 2016 elections and the two parties have made exploratory talks for an alliance to form a third force.

The NP under Sen. Manuel Villar, who lost the 2010 presidential election, continues to have a major presence in the Senate with Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the Cayetano siblings as allies.

The NUP, a political party formed a few months after the 2010 elections by former Lakas-Kampi members who did not want to be identified with the Arroyo administration, has less than 40 members in the House, but is a key member of the administration coalition.

Both parties control a significant number of governors and mayors nationwide whose support could provide the winning margin in the elections.

Both PDP-Laban and LP camps have started the 2016 presidential campaign this early by soliciting support for either Binay or Roxas from representatives, governors and mayors in exchange for backing their reelection or their handpicked successors in the 2013 elections.

Those who refuse face the prospect of having a rival backed by either PDP-Laban or LP in the elections.

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