Press Release
April 19, 2012

Possibilities and sentiments concerning the 2013 Midterm Elections

Reporter: May mga koalisyon na ba o talks pa lang with Binay's group?

ASC: First of all, personally, I'm honored by any consideration of any group (to include us in their slate).

As Sec-Gen of NP and in the party's discussions, we have agreed upon that the principle we will be applying for the first two years of the administration is and will still be really "critical collaboration". Meaning, kung tama ang ginagawa ng administrasyon, susuportahan namin. Pero kung mali, we won't think twice in criticizing, and that's really my job as minority leader.

There have been informal "kalabitans", but no formal talks or invitations as of now. I heard it from other people but I have not heard the Vice President say it himself. I haven't officially heard from LP. May mga tanungan lang na "Saan ka ba tatakbo ngayon?", "Mag-iiwan kami ng slot", o "Nababasa namin sa dyaryo ay..."

(On possible political coalitions in 2013: 'It should be a coalition of ideas and vision; not mere coalition of politicians')

ASC: My stand there is this:

First, it should be a coalition of ideas and not simply a coalition of people. Hindi dapat na kung sino lang ang malalakas, 'yon ang ipagsasama-sama. Ang problema sa ganyan, pagdating sa Senado o sa Kongreso, walang vision o programa ang mga ito o kaya naman ay mag-aaway-away.

Second, what are political parties for? Are they simple vehicles so that politicians can be elected? Or is it supposed to be a birthing place of ideas and a place where issues and policies are discussed?

Why are we saying that these groups are coming together, pareho ba ang stand natin sa kung paano solusyonan ang problema, halimbawa, ng Mindanao power crisis? Pareho ba ang stand natin sa VAT on oil? Paano i-solve ang problema sa presyo ng langis? Pare-pareho ba ang tingin natin, kung tama o mali, ang direksyon ng administrasyon na ito? Do we all agree in tuwid na daan? Are we saying that we are all going in that direction? O may iba na ba na lumiliko at nag-U-U turn na?

I think there are more fundamental questions to be addressed. We should not just be in an all-politics mode. I'm sure that when the formal talks come, papasok ang mga 'yan. And I'm sure, more than anything that the groups behind this, including the Vice President, together with the LP, want to talk that way.

(On NP and other parties being caught in between UNA and LP: 'This is not just a two-way fight')

ASC: Unfortunately, because there are some unofficial rivalries or competitions between the PDP and LP, the other parties are getting caught in between.

First of all, we have not joined the administration. We may be supportive but we're not part of it. Kaya ang challenge namin sa administration, 'show us what you got'. Kung hihingin ninyo na sumali kami, can you say that you are performing well? Tama ba ang direction ninyo? Sa susunod na SONA, mahigit two years na nakalipas. Humingi kayo ng honeymoon period, binigay namin ang honeymoon period, pero nasaan na tayo ngayon?

Remember, public opinion can easily swing. As of now, the ratings of the Vice President and the President are high because everyone has high hopes and are giving them a chance. But by the midterm elections, that can change.

It's very much possible that many opposition groups would want to join them if they will maintain a high rating and possibly bring in people's votes. But the opposite can also happen. It is also possible that some or many may be dissatisfied and would want to be in the opposition.

Noong araw, kaya gusto ng isang pulitiko sa administrasyon kahit miyembro siya ng oposisyon ay dahil kung hindi automated ang eleksyon at may dayaan. At ang common perception noon, kapag administrasyon ka, hindi ka madadaya. But that has all changed.

That's why my focus, really, is to make sure that there are no special assignments ng kung sino mang political operators known to or by Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes. So far, wala namang indications na ganyan, and it looks like everything is on time. As long as we have an automated election, and fair, at walang special operation dito, it wouldn't really matter in what coalition you are. The election here, especially the campaign, has transformed. Especially now with the information technology. Sa dami ng friends mo sa Facebook, one can campaign for himself already. President Obama showed us the way in not only getting support, but raising money through the internet.

I look at this LP and UNA as two boxers saying "kung anong round tutumba ang kalaban o naghihikayat ng tao na kumampi sa isa. But let us be reminded that it's not a two-way fight. It's a battle royale. Hindi ito boxing na dalawa lang. Para itong wrestling na nagsisimula kayo na trenta sa ring tapos natira ang matibay.

(On Coalitions being more than just Political entities: 'Everyone should have a fair share of delivering services to constituents')

ASC: We will not rule out any coalition at this point in time. But personally, as Sec-Gen of the NP, let us look at the guiding principles, both pragmatically and idealistically.

Idealistically, ibig sabihin, ano ang plataporma, ang programa, and how will we agree on certain programs? Pragmatically, meaning, paano ang coalition sa baba? Ise-secure lang ba natin ang mga senador natin, pero ang mga mayors, governors at congressmen and councilors, paano?

While everyone is saying na sumali na kayo, maglilipatan din naman ang iba ng partido. Bakit? Babalik tayo sa usapan na dahil sa Pilipinas, 'yung power, ang tingin nila kung nasaan ang taba, nandoon ang mantika. Sa tuwid na daan, dapat kahit administrayon o oposisyon ka, you get a fair share of delivering of services and projects to your constituents.

These are issues too. So for me, not so fast. Dahan-dahan tayo. Thank you very much for the consideration, we're honoured. Hindi namin binabalewala ang mga 'yan, and there is a possibility na magsasama-sama tayo. There is also a possibility na magbuo kami ng sarili namin. Depende sa performance 'yan.

(On technicalities of possible coalition: 'It is too early to tell... but NP will not just leave behind its local candidates')

ASC: What I can say is everyone will be talking to everyone. That's the pragmatic and practical side, to say it nicely. Hindi lang naman national ito, may local din.

Kung ang sasabihin ng administrasyon, ng UNA at LP, sama-sama tayo dito sa Senate pero kani-kaniya tayo dito sa local, kaming mga NP leaders are not willing to go that way. Partido kami eh. We believe in certain things and we want to help each other. That would be unfair to our members kung ise-secure lang namin ang mga sarili namin tapos bahala na sila.

A lot of things can happen. For example, the President is taking so much of his political capital on the impeachment. Ano ba ang mangyayari sa impeachment? Hindi pa natin alam. I understand the positioning at this point in time.

Sa Pilipinas, kung sino ang nauna, parang lumalabas na mas organized. But actually, there are too many factors to come up with a final decision this early. Pero yung sinabi ni former Senate president Maceda, between July to September lalabas 'yan. I agree with his assessment. Kasi ang October ay election period na.

(On Oppositions being Pro-GMA: 'In a multi-party system, that is far from accurate')

ASC: You will see a different Senate 2010-2013, and 2013-2016 kasi presidential politics na ang tinitingnan ng 2013-2016. That's one.

Number two, hindi na honeymoon period. Accountability na ang 2013-2016. Kung makita na maganda ang accountability at ok ang administrasyon na ito, lahat, gusto nang ma-annoint na successor. Pero kung hindi, mag-uunahan ang mga 'yan na maging oposisyon.

Now, the administration wants to say something like "kapag oposisyon ka, kay GMA ka. Kapag administrasyon ka, NoyNoy ka." In a multiparty system, that's not accurate. Ibig sabihin, GMA is one opposition group. Madaming anti-GMA na oposisyon din.

Reporter: Pero ang ganyang strategy ay naging successful noong 2010.

ASC: That's right.

Reporter: So ngayon ginagamit pa din nila.

ASC: Even against each other. If you look at the news, may batuhan na noong una ang LP at PDP lang. Pero ngayon pati ang GMA group is saying na ang pinakamaraming mga pro-GMA ay nariyan din sa administration.

The reality is that many of those in position now were in the party of the former president. But to be fair to them, many of them became anti-GMA. Ganyan kasi ang nature ng politics natin. But if that's one of the things that the President wants to change, we will engage him in that. Meaning, imbes na i-absorb mo kami, individually, respect the party system. Let's talk about common platforms and programs that we can work on together.

(On making a decision: 'There has to be a balance between the pragmatic and the idealistic side')

Reporter: So you're not closing your doors?

ASC: The practical side will come. But it's hard to start in the practical side, because you'll get trapo politics. You always have to start on the idealistic side and hope that there will be a balance man lang. a balance between the idealistic and the pragmatic.

Reporter: Kaya niyo bang mag-complete slate?

ASC: I don't think there's a single party that can do that, not even the liberals. Because all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, the advantage of the Vice President is that tested na siya pagdating sa governance. Undisputable ang resulta sa Makati. Secondly, 'yung endorsement factor.

Ang sa Presidente naman, 'yung rating niya at paniniwala ng tao sa tuwid na daan at administrasyon. Pero makikita mo rin, so far, wala sa mga bagong Liberal ang nag-re-rate. Even 'yung impeachment team nila.

People don't also look at parties. They look at personalities. That's why so far ngayon, ang binubuo, although ginagamit ang partido, marketing lang 'yon. Actually, it's a coalition of people. It shouldn't be so.

Reporter: Sa pagkuha kay Pacquiao, ganoon ba ang reason?

ASC: Maging si Cong. Pacquiao, at maging kahit sino pa, ang problema kasi palagi ay 'yung sinabi ni JFK na "change things you cannot accept, accept things you cannot change." Sa politika sa Pilipinas, ang common understanding is that kapag wala ka sa taba, wala ang mantika. Eh you want to take care of your constituents and in this case, you want to take care of your province. You have to look forward.

That's what I'm saying, there will be those who will follow kung ano ang uso and will protect their interests and there will be those who will stand up and say "i-reform natin nang kaunti". There's a little bit of both in every politician. It's just a question of what's more urgent or important at this particular point in time.

(On factors to be considered by NP in joining a coalition: 'How can our ideas, advocacies and constituents fit in?')

ASC: Sobrang daming factors. Aside from the fact that we have a multi-party system, multi-personality, multi-media, lahat na multi, it's really putting together all of these groups. Iba ang mass mentality ngayon sa dati.

Dati, the only way you can participate is through your representatives. But now with Twitter, Facebook, even the major dailies may online na din, mabilis na masyado. The parties have to realize that the political parties now cannot be run in the way it used to be run in the 60s.

The automation changed a lot too. The allowing of commercials changed a lot. There will be a lot of changes that will shock a lot of politicians. The administration will be surprised too how the public opinion will change. So from our point of view, why should we rush?

Don't get me wrong. Ang point lang sa amin is "show us what you got." If you want us to join you, may lugar ba para sa mga ideas namin at yung mga ipinaglaban namin? Pangalawa, paano naman ang mga sarili naming supporters? Number three, paano naman ang mga reforms na gusto namin?

Also, what are the expectations? Baka 'yung iba kaya nagbubuo ng ganito, Senate president sa 2013 ang pinag-uusapan, o presidency sa 2016. These are things that have to be made clear to us.

(On the number of Senators to be elected in 2013)

Reporter: Sabi ni Chairman Brillantes, kapag umalis si Sen. Miriam, kailangan ng resolution na kumpletuhin ang Senate sa darating na eleksyon?

ASC: Ako, personally, dapat kailangan 24 ang senador. But since I became senator, madami nang changes. May naging pangulo, may mga nawala, may mga nakulong. It's the right of the people to be fully represented. So personally, I'm for it to fill up the Senatebut only to serve the remaining. Wala kaming power baguhin 'yon dahil masisira ang 12-12.

News Latest News Feed