Sat. Sep 18th, 2021
Steven Pabalinas’ conceptualization of the 6% in recent surveys, that the opposition considers respectable performance. They only enjoyed 3% before.

By Serafin Ledesma Jr.

In science, both fission and fusion can have phenomenal results. 

Fission occurs when a neutron slams into a larger atom, forcing it to excite and spilt into two smaller atoms. Fusion occurs when two atoms slam together to form a heavier atom.

But in politics, fission can lead to disaster while fusion is much to be desired.

The surveys done by Pulse Asia and the Social Weather Station had been consistent. Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte had been leading the surveys.

The camp of Leni Robredo, who leads the opposition, considers the VP rating of 6% a respectable number as against Sara Duterte’s 28%. Atty. Howard Calleja, a convenor of 1Sambayan that imploded before it could take off is still hoping the rating of the presidential daughter will diminish in time. 

Well, hope springs eternal.

Let’s see how fission works against fusion on the political soil.

Sara’s significant milestone is that she inspired the rise and influence of the regional parties. That’s fusion.

But her row against Speaker Bebot Alvarez, a party mate of President Duterte, tested the true grit of the lady mayor. That could have led to fission.

Speaker Alvarez made the mistake of charging that Hugpong Ng Pagbabago which Sara organized is an opposition party, an absurdity which the nayor did not allow to pass.  The President had warned Alvarez to be careful with his daughter who he described as the “Alpha” in the family.

The feud did not last long and ended with the fourth most powerful man in the country being removed from his speakership. Better even, it demonstrated not only that she can perform independent of her father but also that she had a clout of her own.

The regional parties that worked behind Hugpong in the ouster of Alvarez has evolved a new turn in Philippine politics.

Today, they have fused with traditional political parties into an alliance supporting Sara Duterte as their common presidential candidate. 

This gives Mayor Inday Sara a bigger and formidable foundation devoutly wished by 1Sambayan and Liberal Party among others.

Yet there is a fly in the ointment, and this threatens another fission.

Koko Pimentel wants Manny Pacquiao to be the presidential bet of PDP-Laban. to the extent of arrogating that it was his family’s sweat and blood had built the party after it was founded by his late father, Sen. Aqulino “Nene” Pimentel.

But while the latter may be true, it was actually the late Jesus “Chito” Ayala, of Davao City who nurtured PDP-Laban to be a viable party organization.  Those who invested sweat and blood are actually the Davao boys, Rodrigo Duterte, among them. 

But who cares? Inday Sara had emphatically declared that she is not joining PDP-Laban and will stay with Hugpong, through thick and thin. In short, she will not be dictated by the outcome of the PDP-Laban general assembly one way or another.

Nonetheless, she won the vote of her father.

As chairman of PDP-Laban, President Duterte cracked the party whip, had the assembly declared all positions, except the chairmanship, vacant.

That included whatever positions Pacquiao and Pimentel were occupying.

The PDP-Laban assembly elected new set of officers, with Alfonso Cusi as the new president.

Pimentel’s threatened fission became Sara’s fusion.

Sara gathers, while Pacquiao scatters.

The unfolding of a grand alliance

It’s no-brainer, the number one campaign manager of Inday Sara will be her proud “tatay” or father, the one whose Trust and Approval Ratings are unprecedented worldwide – something the opposition would find discomfiting and could paralyze them to inactivity and defeat.

The Duterte detractors have been busy speculating on whether or not Rodrigo Duterte is running for Vice President, and cheering Senator Manny Pacquiao’s shotgun accusations of alleged corruption in the present administration. 

Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Dick Gordon however found Pacquiao’s charges ridiculously hollow. Most of the issues he raised were rehashed. Besides the senator was aimlessly accusing the wrong people.

On the other hand, Inday Sara was quoted last January saying that she would only run for president in 2022 if the opposition would also support her candidacy and help her win the election. She said then that with only a six-year term in office she cannot accomplish her goals if the political parties are fragmented. 

This sent unaligned political parties to wake up from deep stupor. Six political parties which were previously at odds with each other have now started to gravitate into a grand alliance to support Sara Duterte as their common candidate for president in the 2022 elections.

The Lady Mayor of Davao is suddenly overwhelmed by public clamor. 

I asked her about her reaction and her message was crisp and clear: “thank you to all the political parties who gave me their unqualified support”, adding that she “will need time to personally ask the people”.  

Let’s weigh these six parties. 

Lakas-CMD President and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez  formally declared “The Lakas-CMD will extend its full and unqualified support not only to the presidential candidate to be selected by Mayor Sara Duterte’s HnP but also to her chosen vice-presidential candidate.” This is the party of former presidents Fidel Ramos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Former President Joseph Estrada and his son, former Senator Jinggoy, have also announced that Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino is prepared to sign an alliance with Hugpong to cast their support for Inday Sara’s candidacy. 

People’s Reform Party of the late Sen. Miriam Santiago, through its member and Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, had repeatedly confirmed it is forming an alliance with HnP. 

The Nationalista Party led by Manny and Cynthia Villar has yet to come up with a statement on a possible alliance with HnP but the Marcoses who belong to NP and who still keep the solid north intact are solidly pro-Duterte.

Davao City Mayor Inday Sara and Sen. Imee Marcos outside of politics are best friends. 

It was Imee who told me that with the unprecedented the President’s Trust and Approval Rating can virtually dictate the outcome of 2022 elections, adding that she is all the way for Inday Sara should she run for President.

On the other hand, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar is one of the best-performing assets in the Duterte Cabinet and we all know what and where the Villars’ best options are. 

And of course, PDP-Laban the ruling party.

With all the useless noise created by Pacquiao, the party leadership is intact and the Pacman does not really matter. 1Sambayan of Antonio Carpio and Liberal Party’s VP Robredo, Kiko Pangilinan, and Leila de Lima, and straggler Antonio Trillanes, all need him for his money. So anytime he can jump ship.

But like a malignant tumor, PDP-Laban can excise him anytime, together with his padrino Koko Pimentel if necessary.

Or it might force PDP-Laban to a fission towards becoming two wings or factions, a favorite game among Filipino politicians.  

But be that as it may, the larger portion of PDP-Laban is certain that whatever unfinished projects the PRRD administration had started will only be pursued to completion, and many more added, by another “Duterte” administration. 

Six political parties each with different ideologies and persuasions are a force to reckon with, a fusion in favor of the presidential daughter.

If Digong Duterte made history for being the first local government official from Mindanao to have been elected president, we are witnessing a solidification of political forces ensuring the continuity of his reform agenda to bring this country back to its feet, and forward faster, under the leadership of her daughter, the Iron Lady from Mindanao.

This fusion could yet be the paramount solution the country needs moving to a new normal after a devastating pandemic. 

Will it ever get to this, between friends and fellow Mindanaoans?

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