Dr. Prospero E. de Vera
Political turncoatism is a fact of our political life. Our most loved (Ramon Magsaysay) and most despised (Ferdinand Marcos and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) Presidents would not have gone to Malacanang if they did not jump ship from their weak parties to those that offered the best chance to be elected into office.
So don't believe the LP spin masters when they concocted and continue to peddle the Villaroyo theme every time a disgruntled LAKAS-KAMPI member bolts the administration party in favor of the Nacionalista Party.
Why? Because the LP have their own share of Arroyo loyalists who have bolted the administrations sinking ship in favor of the Yellow Army.
As they say, don't throw stones in glass houses.
What are the facts?
There are LP candidates who have loyal ties with the administration:
1. NEDA Director-General Ralph Recto of e-vat fame who ran (and lost) under the administration senatorial slate in 2007 and was rewarded with the NEDA portfolio;
2. Batangas Governor Vilma Santos who was able to beat Arman Sanchez in 2007 mainly because of the strong support of the Ed Ermita and Larry Mendoza clans in Batangas;
3. LAKAS Executive Vice President Sonny Belmonte who was once projected as a possible administration presidential bet in 2010. He is now gunning for the position of House Speaker via the 4th congressional district of QC;
4. House Deputy Majority Leader Boyet Gonzales who has been with the administration party since his first election into office. He served as Majority Leader during the time of Speaker Jose de Venecia;
5. Caloocan City Mayor Recom Echeverri
6. Davao City Mayor Rudy Duterte
7. Cavite Governor Ayong Maliksi
8. QC Vice Mayor Herbert Bautista (now running for QC mayor)
And of course there are LP stalwarts who have yet to fully explain their actions in perpetuating GMA's reign of terror. I simply can not forget how Senator Kiko Pangilinan in 2004 would repeatedly bang the gavel, in tandem with the equally notorious Rep. Raul (and later justice secretary) Gonzales, and say "Noted" every time Senator Nene Pimentel and the FPJ lawyers would question election returns and request that ballot boxes be opened to prove that the fabricated Certificates of Canvas actually tally with documents inside the ballot boxes. He has not, until now, said "Sorry" for this political injustice.
On the other hand, here are some recognized LAKAS-KAMPI stalwarts who have jumped into the NP ship:
1. League of Provinces Chair and Camarines Sur Governor El Ray Villafuerte
2. Surigao del Norte Governor Ace Barbers (reelectionist)
3. Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon (reelectionist)
4. Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas (reelectionist)
5. Rep. Ed Zialcita (now running for mayor in Paranaque)
6. Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy (reelectionist)
7. Cebu Rep. Nerissa Soon-Ruiz (now running for mayor of Mandaue City)
8. Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson (running for governor)
Now what does this tell us? There is no mature and functional political party system in the Philippines. Despite all the claims of "super parties" - NP, LP, KBL, PDP-LABAN, LDP, LAKAS, KAMPI, LAKAS-KAMPI - that their leaders and members will strengthen party membership, refuse to pirate members from other parties, or exercise party discipline, these "super parties" quickly break-up and disintegrate during election season depending on the delivery of campaign funds, availability of administration projects, release of pork barrel funds, and viability of their presidential candidates.
So until Gibo Teodoro hits double digits in the surveys, or produces some sort of miracle, or GMA unleashes tremendous amounts of campaign funds, LAKAS-KAMPI members will continue to jump ship either to the NP or LP.
Even Joe de Venecia nor Fidel Valdez Ramos can not reverse the inevitable disintegration of their beloved LAKAS party. By the next administration, LAKAS-KAMPI would have completed its logical slide into political marginalization.