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ROUGH CUTS | The admin’s substitution is no strategy?

Vic N. Sumalinog

NOW, who are those supposed political analysts who still believe that the substitution made by some personalities identified with the administration is not part of a grand strategy to attain the objective of retaining the tenancy of Malacanang by anyone of those allied with the incumbent administration?

     We do not know how they could have missed taking into consideration in their analysis the events that transpired during the days within which aspirants to top national positions were to file their certificates of candidacy. That was, between October 1 to 8, 2021. Who were those who made their immediate pilgrimage to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) office to file their COCs for President and Vice President as well as senators? A handful has names and faces. Others were virtually unknown although some sport degree prefixes in their names. And there were also others who barely had the minimum qualifications needed for one to run for either the Presidency or the Vice Presidency. But of course running for the offices mentioned is their right guaranteed by the Constitution. No one can argue with that.

     What we believe however, that is seemingly unusual is the guts – if we may call it that – of some neophyte politicians to suddenly aspire for the top positions. Of course we do not doubt their educational background and their mental capability to harbor such ambition. But knowing the elections in the Philippines and the voter’s behavior since the election process was introduced in the country we started to doubt their motives. We also could not help but tinker the idea that knowing their lack of experience as well as national exposure, their decision to file their COC could have been influenced by one bigger party or may be personal objective.

     Knowing the personalities involved it is easy to deduce not only by us but most specifically by the so-called political analysts if they are worth their salt, that every action they took are dictated by a baton they could not go against. Otherwise they will be creating a disharmonious political music.

     Substitution scheme though being a vehicle for an unquestionably legal strategy is shrewdly maximized by the administration to make sure that if there is or are unexpected incidents that may derail the over-all plan a ready fallback can immediately be resorted to.

     Isn’t it highly suspect for the President to claim that he was not aware of the decision of Mayor Sara’s filing her candidacy for Vice President under the ticket of Lakas-CMD? We are totally convinced that the Presidential daughter’s jump to the Lakas-CMD and not to the PDP-Laban Cusi faction is one of the unexpected derailments in the grand plan. Remember that on the same day that Sara withdrew her bid for reelection in Davaso City, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go who carries the PDP-Laban as his party, also withdrew his candidacy for the Vice Presidency. That was clear indication that every big wig in the administration would not want another Davaoeno will be one of the humps in Mayor Sara’s route. And who is the one person who can make neophyte senator Go blindly follow his instructions?

     Then another Davaoeno Presidential aspirant in Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa subsequently withdrew his candidacy whereupon Senator Go simultaneously substituted. Surprisingly though he used another party as his vehicle for the substitution, a move that may consume the opposition’s time and further diminish their resources if they have to question its legality.

     And while the President is hinting that he cannot support Bongbong Marcos’ bid because of reasons he is still to disclose, he is far from his usual acidic tongue when hitting his political enemy or whoever he intends to be one.

     Then there was this latest show in the circus called substitution. The controversially-brought to national limelight Army General Antonio Parlade of the Task Force EL-CACT filed his COC for President and immediately issued an abrasive statement against Senator Go. Would any political analyst be not intrigued with such Parlade tirade against somebody that closed to the President? Besides, does Parlade have any iota of a chance of even getting into the circle of 3 or even 4 top bets after the elections?

     What about the pre-substitution deadline call of Presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao on the President in Malacanang? Common sense will tell all those who may have assumed that their agenda could only be possibly about CoViD or the implementation of the 10-year driver’s license renewal.

     On the other hand a Go or Parlade Presidential run is very unlikely to break the Ilocano speaking people’s traditional regionalism as past elections involving an Ilocano candidate to a national position had shown. The President knows very well that the two substitute candidates will only succeed in dividing the Mindanao and Visayas votes, and possibly an insignificant dent in the NCR and Southern Tagalog votes as well. So, it’s still BBM and daughter Sara win in the Ilocos region in his mind, is not it?

     Hence, for some political analysts to insist that the substitution scheme being manipulated to the maximum by the administration is not a strategy, we believe, is showing their being bias in some way; and probably even their being ensconced with the thought that they could not be wrong in their perception.



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