The new Lakas-Kampi-CMD ruling party represents a consolidation of the pro-GMA forces at the current period. However, even as it celebrates the merger in Manila Hotel, the event also highlighted the absence of key Lakas and Kampi leaders. Fidel Ramos, Jose de Venecia, and Luis Villafuerte were not there, for one reason or another.
Unfortunately, the picture that comes up is not (as president GMA avers) “our best guarantee for success in the 2010 elections.” It paints a picture of still-powerful, yet aging and fraying, ruling coalition. It marks the start of a process that may well result in disintegration and not the end of in-house wrangling.
Vice-President Noli de Castro, despite his presence, did not give any indication of a decision to accept the standing invitation of the merged parties to be its presidential standard-bearer. In the end, chances are strong that the new formation will not be able to attract a winnable candidate. The alternative Teodoro-Puno tandem, or the earlier options, do not offer any strong attraction for the party’s key local leaders and power bases to remain loyal and impervious to blandishments and offers from the strong presidentiables.
Palpable below the surface of the political unity of the merged party is the heavy yoke it has to bear–the gross unpopularity of its leadership. It is a virtual kiss of political death that can crush any candidacy of an endorsed presidentiable.
The Manila Hotel event, however, betrays the brave yearning for a continued hold on power. It is a dangerous yearning easily attracting ideas of electoral malfeasance, even the possible scenarios of a failure of election.
It was a meeting of shipmates riding a rickety catamaran to nowhere.