GMA presiding over Lakas-Kampi-CMD national convention

We have entered what a recent American visitor (who briefed us on the vagaries of campaign finance and the implementation of electoral laws in the US) termed as the ‘silly season’ in the electoral campaign period.  The time when campaign messages take on a darker tone and when ‘rats’ start deserting ‘sinking ships’.

A clear casualty here is the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD party what with all the defections, internal wranglings about the lack of campaign funds, and a lot of talk about the First Couple’s “secret candidate(s)”.

The ruling party’s travails is to be expected and is reminiscent of its fortunes in 1998.  Then, Lakas’ presidential bet was Jose de Venecia (JDV) but the obvious man to beat was Erap.  Then, the Lakas electoral campaign paled in comparison (in terms of reach and therefore of expenditure) to that waged by Erap’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

Common sense knowledge stipulates that money flows to the survey leaders and as the election day nears and leads are defined, then survey laggards get starved of resources.  So, if Dick Gordon wants to sue survey firms for conditioning minds, he has to do so on the premise that financiers based their ‘investment’ decisions on survey standings.

Lakas’ strength in 1998 was reduced by the defection of Renato de Villa and the formation of the Reforma party in support of his own presidential bid.  This after RDV failed to win the outgoing FVR’s endorsement.

But did the ruling party really go all out for JDV’s candidacy?

There are grounds to believe that not all of the ruling party members did so.  After all, they may reason, why throw good money for an unwieldy cause? Why support a losing candidacy? Better to keep the money and run!

The ruling party’s current travails stems from an earlier attempt at an ill-advised merger between Lakas-CMD and Kampi.  Lakas-CMD was perceived to be an FVR-JDV bastion while Kampi was supposed to be a GMA strong-hold.  The merger was not smooth and some big-time feathers were seriously ruffled, especially that of FVR, JDV (who was unseated as House speaker in the aftermath of the NBN-ZTE corruption scandal), and Kampi president Luis R. Villafuerte.

Afterwards, its weaknesses surface with the limitations of of its national line-up for the 2010 elections.  As in the 2007 elections, its senatorial slate (save for Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla and Lito Lapid) is populated by sure-losers.  It cannot even field a complete 12-person senatorial slate.

Then party presidential bet, Gibo, continues to register single-digit numbers survey after survey and VP bet, Edu Manzano, is a practical non-entity in these polls.

Again, if we go by recent history, who ever gets to be president by July 1 this year will determine the fate of all political parties.  Given current trends, Lakas will get relegated to the wings.  What strongly suggests such a fate are the signals emanating from GMA–signals which do not undoubtedly indicate support for Lakas’ presidential bet or that she has abandoned plans to stay on top of the political heap even after June 30, 2010.

If the Comelec denies Lakas’ bid  for dominant majority party status due to the numerous defections ahead of the May 10 polls, then that may be the proverbial last nail on its coffin.

I may have to qualify that last statement though since political parties in the Philippines have exhibited great resilience.  Lakas may weaken but it may not yet be on its way to the grave-yard.


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