With the official campaign for the national posts begins, the pretension, ambiguities as well as true colors of the two contending coalitions and their candidates are unmasked.


The first that shows this unmasking is the mere fact that there are three candidates for the Senate that are considered “COMMON”. It proclaims to all sundry that aside from personalities, there is really no substantial difference between Team Pinoy and the UNA. While the former claims the oft-repeated slogan ‘matuwid na daan’, the latter speaks of ‘magandang daan’.


Both are cute slogans yet no substance to show except to ‘prosecute’ the previous administration’s corruption but covers up the corruption of its own or simply a cover up for its alleged opposition. The first slogan reminds us of the old and similar slogan during the ‘cold war’ era. “The dictators (referring to Asia’s and Latin America’s strongmen) are truly sons of ‘bit_ _ _ _, but they are our own…”


Philippine ‘political parties’, except for few ones in the party list, are really ‘sui generis’ (a kind unique to itself). The parties rise and fall on the basis of who resides in that ‘mansion’ along the Pasig River. Members either expand or contract depending on the party affiliation of the ‘tenant’ in Malacañan, because party shift solely depends on simple ‘raising one’s right hand’.


During the long tenure of President Marcos, practically everyone became a KBL, the official party of Malacañan. Then, when President Cory took over, people simply raised their right hands and they became LABAN. When Gen. Fidel V. Ramos became President, LAKAS-NUCD-CMD became the dominant party.


During the short reign of President Estrada, he enjoyed the majority support both in the Senate and the House, and people were beginning to raise their hands to join either Erap’s JEEP or PMP, when EDSA 2 happened. And the rest was history.


When President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo acceded to the top post, it was LAKAS-KAMPI’s nine years of golden era. She had the control of both Houses of Congress and the joke then was that the so-called opposition would fit in one small VW Beetle.


Since 2010, we have a Liberal Party President aka PNoy, the one Beetle car filled willed LP members has now transformed to BUSES with loads of ‘new’ Liberals. And they would stay with LP until the National Elections of 2016 or depending on the direction the political wind blows prior to PNoy’s ‘departure’ from Malacañan.


There are really no substantial ideological differences between political parties and ‘tenants’ of Malacañan since independence in 1946. In fact, a former NSC Director General continues to remind us that the country ‘has been governed by a classical oligarchy (rule by few and in their own interest)’. This oligarchy has practically remained the same since the time of the ‘Kastilas’, to the time of the ‘Gringos’ and to the Republic of the Philippines after the independence.


Political campaigns are all motherhood statements or promises that ‘winners’ easily forget post election period. It is not about party platforms since there is hardly any difference between and among these parties. Team Pinoy is composed of LP, NP, NPC, LABAN and independents and guests. UNA is composed mainly of PDP, PMP, and Independents. Aside from the letters of the alphabet, there is really NO ideological difference in all of the above so-called political ‘parties’.


What we are seeing are ‘comedia’ of personalities all belonging, in one way or another, to political dynasties that have ruled this country – past, present and still in the coming years!


Many are also saying that the 2013 May elections are actually the first ‘round’ between VP Jojo Binay and the possible LP ‘contender’ or ‘anointed’ in 2016.


In Philippine politics, especially in party politics, the popular saying goes ‘there are no permanent friends and enemies (they are all of the same kind…), there are only permanent interests’. People raise their right hands depending where these interests are better served and protected.


Since party politics are ‘comedia’, they are very ‘entertaining’. Parties and politicians provide not only entertainment but a diversion from the daily toils and hardship of life notwithstanding the reported growth of the economy.


UNA or Team PNoy makes little difference at all. The ‘masa’’s lot would remain the same. Slogans provide momentary ‘illusions’ but in the end the life of people remain unchanged. I agree with Ka Amando Doronila’s political analysis, that these slogans: ‘matuwid na daan’ and ‘magandang daan’ are both “HOGWASH”! And definitely, “it takes more than self-righteous sloganeering to achieve sustained inclusive growth, under which no sectors, such as the poor, are left behind’.


Blog JunMerFollow Fr. Eliseo Mercado on Twitter @junmeromi.