April 25, 2013
Excerpt from Sen. Santiago's speech: The Senatorial Campaign
In the conduct of our political campaigns, we are far away from the true values of Freemasonry. As a trained political scientist, I doubt if the partisan campaigns launched by certain Catholic parishes will be a factor in the vote this May. In fact, it may only turn out to be divisive. The main reason is that the campaign to punish incumbent senators who voted in favor of the Reproductive Health Law is merely an act of vengeance, an attitude that evokes the Old Testament, and is incompatible with the emphasis on Christian love in the New Testament. It makes me squirm when I watch on television a cleric mouthing a political vocabulary. It makes my toes curl.
What raises my scientific curiosity is the role of the Iglesia ni Cristo, which today has a reported membership of 9 million voters. INC practice provides for bloc voting in political elections. I understand that the official INC list of approved candidates will be released soon. I further understand that INC, out of patriotism, took a strong position during a recent political controversy. Certain reelectionist senators reportedly promised to support the INC position, but out of opportunism, reneged on their promise when the hour came. Therefore, I issue this strong note of caution: The campaign survey results might undergo radical changes, after the INC releases its official list. In other words, you don't doublecross the INC and get away with it.
The survey results released last Tuesday showed that in this snapshot in time, it is 9 - 3 for the administration coalition. The conventional wisdom is that the top 9 are sure of winning; in this short list, it is 7 - 2 for the administration. But the INC vote might still trump the survey results. With this caveat, it looks like the next Senate will be predominantly composed of the following:
A. Administration coalition - 16 senators:
Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara
B. Opposition coalition - 5 senators:
Juan Ponce Enrile
C. Independent - 3 senators:
Ramon Revilla, Jr. (Lakas)
On a numerical basis, it is highly probable that the next Senate President will come from the administration coalition, and will traditionally come from the oldest senators, namely: Senators Osmeña, Drilon, Villar, or Guingona. Since I am an Ilongo, I am happy to emphasize that virtually each one of these four contenders is a Visayan, or related to one.
Friday, January 20