The Liberal Party, Yesterday and Today-A A +A
By Max Sangil
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
THE comments we commonly hear regarding the rematch between former Governor Among Ed Panlilio and incumbent Governor Lilia “Nanay Baby” Pineda is that it is some kind of a "sleeper". In the boxing parlance, it is a mismatch.
True or not, I can't, at this stage, say it is so. Not much was heard of the former priest-turned-politician, until I heard him over a local radio station. He is now conducting a regular program and maybe this is an attempt on his part to make known to all and sundry that he is in the game.
The so-called political pundits are placing their bets that Nanay Baby will win in the forthcoming mid-term elections by a mile. In short, a walk in the park for her. But in politics, just like in life, there are so many surprises.
Even this corner believes that Nanay Baby is not facing a tough opponent. The question now is why Among Ed -- whom I believe must have studied the political terrain -- acquiesced to the overtures of the top honchos of the Liberal Party?
You still remember when LP President Mar Roxas made a visit to this province recently, and even shamed some local officials by having them sit in the audience while Among Ed was invited to occupy a seat on the presidential table that supposedly per protocol is reserved to the incumbent governor?
It must have been that day when Roxas sweet-talked the former priest to totally abandon his cassock and throw once more his hat in the political arena. Maybe, just maybe.
That whole page paid advertisement of the Liberal Party that was carried by most metropolitan newspapers last Saturday showed many of the party's stalwarts, including the late President Elpidio Quirino, Senators Jovito Salonga, Gerardo Roxas, Ninoy Aquino. The picture of the late President Diosdado Macapagal was conspicuously not included, a dye in the wool of the Liberal Party in all his political life. It seems vengeance is not in the Lord but in the heart of Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas.
This is one political episode I wish to share with students of contemporary history. It was in the very early '60s, the president was Carlos P. Garcia of Bohol, the highest ranking leader of the Nacionalista Party; Diosdado Macapagal was the vice president and Ferdinand Marcos of Ilocos Norte was Senate President. The two belonged to the Liberal Party.
When Garcia sought re-election, the Liberals had Macapagal and Marcos as possible bets to contest Garcia. Party conventions to elect their presidential bet were common during those years. An arrangement was made that Marcos, who was too eager in seeking the presidency, will not contest Macapagal in the party convention, and instead agreed in a covenant that he will be the next presidential bet and allow the former a one term only.
Macapagal won. And for the next four years he was the pride of the Liberals. Marcos sensed that Macapagal will not honor the covenant, and the former made his move and sought the Lopezes, acknowledged kingmaker in Philippine politics in those years. With the Lopezes' help he was admitted to the Nacionalista Party and was even made their bet to contest Macapagal. Marcos won, and the Kapampangan wept.
Liberal Party, a one-time grand party populated by the country's best leaders, shrunk its appeal over the years, and continues so, thanks to the vengeful hearts of the young Aquino and Roxas.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 22, 2013.