Political Tidbits is the prestigious column of Belinda Olivares-Cunanan that ran for 25 continuous years in the op-ed page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the newspaper that she helped put up with its multi-awarded founder, the legendary Eugenia Duran-Apostol, in December 1985, just two months before the EDSA Revolution.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gifts Congress members gave to one another; Binay/Kris in 2016 vs. Bongbong Marcos?

What did the members of Congress give one another in this season of gift-giving?

We recently got an insight about this from Cebu City Rep. Cutie del Mar, who was elected to the congressional seat her father, former Rep. Raul del Mar, vacated last May. I shared a table with Cutie and UE Law Dean Amado Valdez and his wife Nellie at the breakfast that neophyte Pangasinan Rep. Gina de Venecia, who also was elected to the seat her husband, five-term Speaker Joe de Venecia, vacated last May, tendered in commemoration of the 6th death anniversary of their daughter, KC de Venecia, yesterday.

Unusual Christmas gifts

As expected, many representatives gave away products from their province or region, such as dried mangoes from Cutie herself and Carcar chicharon from Cebu Rep. Eddie Gullas. Perhaps in keeping with the times, a good number of politicos stuck to giving pastries and goodies, but a party-list
representative from the north surprised colleagues when he gave away big baskets laden with imported goodies. Neophyte Rep. Monique Lagdameo hewed to the goodies-from-one’s-district principle by giving away gift baskets from her constituency, Rustan’s Supermarket on Ayala Avenue.

Undoubtedly the most unique gift to House members came from Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, who had customized replicas of his World Boxing Council champ’s belt made in green leather, each with the name of his “esteemed colleague” at the back of the buckle.

Christmas gift list rundown

Here’s what other representatives and senators gave their Congress colleagues:

Speaker Sonny Belmonte: Ham and cheese
Cebu City Rep. Tommy Osmena: Flash cards with the names of his colleagues printed on them   
Rep. Bongbong Marcos, Ilocos Norte: sea salt in a big see-through glass jar
Sen. Kiko Pangilinan: Sans rival without rival (each year, he gives the same giftg, made by Sharon?)
Sen. Chiz Escudero: What else but cheez curls galore
Sen. Bong Revilla and Rep. Lani Mercado: Umbrellas
Rep. Imelda Marcos: Mini X’mas trees
Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo: Shawls from Adora
San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito: Modernistic Nativity scene on kapiz
Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco: Personalized cakes
Rep. Freddie Tinga: Reusable bags
Makati Rep. Abbey Binay: Potted pink poinsettias.

Kris as governor

During the necrological services for the late President Cory Aquino last September 2009, former US Ambassador Kristie Kenny was reported to have said, after listening to Kris Aquino as she held the Manila Cathedral crowd in the palm of her hand in an interminable speech, that the nation was watching a future president. Yesterday, Kenny’s prediction may have taken a first foothold when media reported the plan of presidential sister Kris to start her political career in the province where her father had decades ago launched his own political career---in their home province of Tarlac.

Kris reportedly plans to run for governor of the populous province in the local elections of 2013, in the same way that Ninoy did. It is said that of all the children of Cory and Ninoy Aquino, Kris is most like her father. Now she’s aping his political footsteps.

VP in 2016?

Political pundits speculate that she will thereafter run as the vice-presidential candidate of Vice President Jejomar Binay, who expected to take a crack at the presidency in 2016. Then, in 2022, some pundits opine, Kris will then run for the biggest prize of all---Malacanang. Thus, they calculate, it will be an 18-year uninterrupted reign of the Aquinos.

The game plan

For those about to suffer heart attacks or fainting spells at the very least from reading this item, here’s how it will work, according to some political speculators. Where last August there were rumblings of a
falling out between President Noynoy and VP Binay because of the latter’s dissatisfaction with having failed to get the Interior and Local Governments portfolio (that went to former Mayor Jesse Robredo), now everything is patched up between them, so much so that the Veep is now talking about sweeping Malacanang in 2016.

The speculation is that it will be with P-Noy’s blessing, especially if Jojo Binay gives him his full cooperation in the next six years, and not try to launch any coup d’etat against him, and if his kid sister would be Binay’s runningmate.

Binay's 2016 run

In fact, some pundits note that a merger between Lakas-CMD elements close to P-Noy and the old PDP-Laban, which is chaired by VP Binay, is being worked out, in preparation for the bigger event of Binay’s 2016 run. I wouldn’t be surprised at this development at all, for last May there was a real collusion between some Aquino forces which deserted Mar Roxas, and the Binay forces, which deserted candidate Joseph Estrada. If you believe the pundits, Binay really worked hard to make LP candidate Noynoy win through fair or foul means.

A natural choice

If Kris Aquino is serious about running for higher office, her choice would naturally be VP Binay, not only because he’s the father of a guy she’s being linked with romantically. This will stem from the realization that Jojo Binay won’t be another Noli de Castro, who was content with being a symbolic figure of power in his time.

Binay has always demonstrated that he knows how to wield true power and this the local politicians know only too well, judging from the way governos and mayors all flocked to the oath-taking of PDP Laban in Club Filipino late last month, which surprised a lot of pundits as it was standing room only. Besides local pols, PDP has a good hold on NGOs and those who are not elected.

On the international stage

Binay is now also acting out his VP status to the full on the international stage. Earlier this month he was recently elected vice president of the Centrist Asian Parties Democratic International at its huge gathering in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Moving his PDP-Laban into this centrist group means that it will have the backing of 89 political parties around the world.

Binay/Kris vs. Bongbong Marcos?

It may be a trifle too early to speculate how a Binay/Kris Aquino tandem would impact on the elections five years away, but one can hardly help it, especially since at the opposite end will predictably run Bongbong Marcos, who will feel he has the right to the Restoration. Moreover, how will the rise of the PDP Laban impact on the Liberal Party which doubtless feels it is the chosen political race? Read it next here.

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