The Aquino administration made a number of definitive steps to consolidate its political coalition amidst varying talks of intra- and extra-coalition realignments. This has become especially urgent in the light of the defiant challenges it encountered from the stay-behind forces identified with previous Arroyo administration and the shaping-up of new power centers within its own coalition.
One step was the election of President Aquino to the chairmanship of the Liberal Party. This basically declared to the political world that he is basing himself on the party. Giving Speaker Belmonte the post of a vice-chairman–together with Senator Drilon–is a sign of the political compromise between two clear factions within the Liberal Party. Former senator Roxas thereby retained his party presidency, along with the rest of old Party stalwarts. An interesting development was the election of Secretary Robredo to the post of Executive Vice-President.
The camp of Vice-President Binay, meanwhile, also quietly consolidates its own mini-coalition within the ruling political coalition centered on President Aquino. It is also an interesting development that it is courting the Lakas faction–that includes former Speaker de Venecia and which allied itself with the Aquino administration–for a possible merger.
At any rate, the alliance within the Aquino administration may yet prove to be a fragile one–relying, as the unifying force, on President Aquino’s hold on power. If there is a weakening of the political strength of the president–such as the possible lowering of his trust rating–there may be an increase of factional infighting. This is a distinct possibility in the run-up to the 2013 and 2016 national and local elections.
The appointment of Atty. Brillantes can be viewed from this vantage point. Even as everybody in the coalition hail his appointment, all will also be wary and watchful of his–and that of the other new commissioner appointees–actuations in relation to these elections.
Meanwhile, the Arroyo camp and other groups outside the ruling coalition will be watching–and watching closely–if they can fish in troubled waters. At this point they are having a hard time to hold on to their people as the latter surely and regularly change party affiliation or alignment.
The president and his political advisers are also sure to have a hard time handling all the threads in this rather complicated political picture. Time is not on their side on the matter of political consolidation.