Opinion On Philippine Politics: Senator Manny Villar Starts Presidential Campaign For 2010 With A Crash
The 2010 Philippine Presidential campaign of Senator Manny Villar started barely a week ago, and it unofficially began with the resignation of Senator Manny Villar from his post as Senate President. Actually, Senator Manny Villar was about to be asked to step down when the majority of the Senate gathered enough signatures to petition for his ouster as Senate President. However, Senator Manny Villar jumped the gun and announced his resignation even before the move could be made to ask him to step down as Senate President.
When Senator Manny Villar was asked if his resignation had something to do with his campaign for the Philippine Presidency in 2010, Manny Villar eloquently repsonded, “Yup” before the elevator doors closed down, and he went off to the Senate floor to announce his resignation.
Taking Manny Villar‘s place as Senate President is Juan Ponce Enrile, who at age 84 is the perfect interim Senate President leading up to the Presidential elections. Why? Well, because Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has no real plans of a presidential campaign, and his seniority (in age and experience) among the other Senators keeps him the most qualified Senator to sit as Senate President. Of course, Juan Ponce Enrile is also easier for the majority opposition to control. For one thing – Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile doesn’t have a hidden agenda for 2010, and his concerns for the nation are much more objective than say 20 years ago when he was still an under-the-table mover and traditional politician – Yes, TRAPO!. But then, maybe a TRAPO is what is needed now with a whole bunch of Senators expected to campaign for the Philippine President in 2010. Basically, Juan Ponce Enrile might not have the energy for dirty back room politics anymore, and his seniority will make sure also that none of the younger Senators step out of line in respect to his seniority. Whatever.
The Senators who moved against Manny Villar and voted for Juan Ponce Enrile include Edgardo Angara, Rodolfo Biazon, Jose Estrada, Francis Escudero, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Lito Lapid, Loren Legarda, Ana Consuelo Madrigal, Ramon Revilla, Manuel Roxas II and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Five Senators who abstained from the vote include: Francis Pangilinan, Joker Arroyo, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Benigno Aquino III and Aquilino Pimentel Jr.
Absent were Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Antonio Trillanes IV.
Manny Villar said, “The tenure of the Senate president, as everyone knows, depends on the number of members that supports him or her. I’ve been informed this afternoon that I no longer have the support of the majority members. I now, therefore tender my resignation.” (albeit not so tenderly)
“I congratulate the new Senate president, Honorable Senator Juan Ponce Enrile,” Manny Villar said. “You, Mr. Senate President, have my support.”
Manny Villar has admitted that while his work load in the Senate will be less since he no longer holds the post of Senate President, he will still be active in the chambers of the Senate in support of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and that just because he resigned doesn’t mean he will keep quiet in the halls of the Senate. Of course, Manny Villar has also admitted that he will have more time to spend with his family and prepare for his campaign for the Philippine Presidential elections in 2010.
And while it may seem that Manny Villar resigned to prepare for his 2010 presidential campaign, the move by a majority of the Senators to oust Manny Villar as Senate President also has to do with the discrepancies involving Manny Villar with regards to the national budget. Apparently, Manny Villar made a double-entry on the budget for the expansion of the C5 highway, and there are also incidents that suggest Manny Villar pushed for budgets on public work projects that directly benefit his real esate interests.
Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada was rumored to be part of the Senate coup, but the majority of the Senators insisted that Joseph Estrada had no hand in the coup. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also said that Malacanang Palace did not have anything to do with the move against ousting Manny Villar. I don’t really see why they would want to have a hand in that anyway since it looks like Manny Villar went on self-destruct mode.
If Joseph Estrada were to have any involvement, it might have been as lending an ear as a caring father to his son Senate President Pro-Tempore Jose Estrada when the latter bitched about work during dinner and drinks. Former President Joseph Estrada may have also given his son Jose Estrada a double shot of Johnnie Walker Blue to aid in impairing the judgment of Senate President Pro-Tempore Jose Estrada. However, there is no real evidence to say that Jose Estrada was intoxicated or under the influence of Johnnie Walker Blue when he nominated Juan Ponce Enrile as Senate President.
In any case, Manny Villar has claimed – “I’m free!” Taken with a grain of salt and MSG, Manny Villar‘s exasperated sigh of relief might send the wrong kind of message to start of his campaign. What are you free from, Manny? Free from responsibility? How do you expect to make a good President for the Philippines when you are relieved when made free from any national responsibility?
Better yet – how do you intend to become a good Philippine President when at this early stage of the ball game, you don’t have the support of the Senate majority? Well, good luck in building your slate for 2010. It looks like you might lack a few slots in the Senator category, but if you really need one more – I’m here for you! 30 million pesos lang, kaya ko na panalunin iyan! Kahit 3 gives.