By Mortz C. Ortigoza
QUEZON CITY – The brain power behind the Rainbow Coalition in expediting bills of the former Ramos Administration said the mass defections of congressmen to the party of President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte were customary.
“There will be ebbs, and flows, and shifts, and copulation of few allegiances. But that is normal in Philippines politics. It is abnormal in other countries (but) normal in the Philippines. But it should not be encouraged,” former five-time Speaker Jose de Venecia, known as JDV, told this paper on the mass defections of the present but fading ruling Liberal Party to the incoming PDP-Laban.
The once powerful LP, presently chaired by outgoing President Benigno Aquino III, has 80 to 90 solons as of press time who turncoat to the presumed ruling party PDP.
Liberal Party used to have 116 congressmen in the 250 members in the 16th Congress who would end their term in the noon of June 30 this year.
The raiding of the political parties by Duterte’s operators led by Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, the presumed new House Speaker, was reminiscent when former President Fidel V. Ramos was elected president in a seven-way race in 1992.
With 23.58 percent of the votes in May 11, 1992, Ramos and de Venecia had meager and insufficient members in their Lakas-Tao Party to rev up the passing of bills into laws.
But by sheer chutzpah, de Venecia maneuvered to unite the National Union of Christian Democrats, a cluster of the Progressive Party of the Philippines and the Union of Muslim Democrats to Lakas Tao to make it a dominant party.
According to Wikipidea, De Venecia created a Rainbow Coalition, converging political parties that include the Lakas Demokratiko Pilipino, Nationalist People's Coalition, Lakas NUCD, and other minor parties to make a solid majority in the House. He was reelected as congressman and Speaker in 1995.
The Coalition fast track Ramos ballyhooed economic bills on liberalization of electricity, telecommunications, banking, domestic shipping, and oil into laws that helped ease- up the lives of the present Filipinos.
Despite Duterte being elected by 40% of the voters, political experiences in the more than 100 million populated country dictate that senators and congressmen gravitate to the resident of Malacanang and his party for political expediency.
An expert, who asked anonymity, said expediency in the Philippines means more projects for the solons’ constituents given by the power-that-be to those who pledge allegiance with him.
De Venecia’s wife outgoing congresswoman Gina de Venecia, who was with the LP as of press time, said House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte gave them a choice to remain in the party or join the coalition with the PDP-Laban.