Now, that the specter of a failure of elections is becoming more and more real, the senate presidency becomes a crucial position.
Under the law on succession, in case of a vacancy in the presidency, the vice president takes over. If the VP is unable to assume the presidency, next in line is the senate president and then the speaker of the House of Representatives. If the there is no one qualified, Congress shall pass a law to provide who shall serve as acting president until the president or vice president shall have been elected and qualified.
But what if no winner is declared for the national positions by June 30, 2010., when Gloria Arroyo’s stolen presidency ends? There would be no Congress to pass the law. The remaining 12 senators would not consitute a quorum to elect a senate president because the current senate president, Juan Ponce Enrile, is up for re-election,
There would a political vacuum and that’s very dangerous. Enrile had mentioned the possibility of a military takeover.
Lito Banayo, in his column in Malaya last Wednesday, mentioned a plot to depose Enrile and install a pro-Gloria senate president who would serve as acting president. Joker Arroyo? Edgardo Angara? Manny Villar? (Come to think of it,Villar’s term for senator is still up to 2013. If he loses the presidency, he goes back to the Senate.)
Part of Banayo’s column:
“So … your Doña will choose a new Senate President?” I said. (The Senate is a continuing body. Juan Ponce Enrile is now third in the line of succession, but he may not have been proclaimed a re-elected senator by then.)
“Yes, po”, suddenly sounding deferential, “pero balita ko po naayos na ni Manny Villar ang mga boto.”
I did quick mental calculations, and drew some kind of matrix on a paper napkin. SP-JPE was elected on the basis of a coalition of two Liberals, namely Mar and Pong Biazon, plus Ping and Jamby, plus NPC’s Chiz and Loren, plus the administration’s Edong, Migs, and Bong, plus PMP’s Jinggoy, quasi-independent Dick Gordon, plus Gringo and JPE himself. Noynoy wanted to join his fellow LP’s, but in deference to his ailing mother whose term JPE at the time wanted to cut short, he decided to abstain. When the majority of 13 had been cobbled, Miriam rhymed in even if she had recused herself earlier, and so did Lapid, both of whom the new majority tolerated just to fortify their flanks. A motley group indeed.
On the other side, the Villar corner, remained the siblings Cayetano, plus Joker, plus Nene, plus Kiko, a Liberal Party member who identified better with the Wednesday Dining Society. The scorecard: 15-6-2 (One abstention in the case of Noynoy plus Trillanes in the brig).
But things have changed. Loren is now with Villar, although presumably Kiko will at last be loyal to the LP, which somehow neutralizes Loren’s volte face.
Which makes a fulcrum out of Bong and Lapid, both running under the PaLaKa ticket, plus Miriam who’s also with Villar, plus Jinggoy, plus Dick who’s also running for president, plus Edong and Migs.
Okay. Bong, Lito, Jinggoy, Miriam, Dick, Edong and Migs removed from JPE is 15 minus 7 equals 8. Those seven, added to the Cayetanos, plus Joker and Nene, plus Loren, and Villar, mismo, equals — 14! The magic number. And even if Noynoy this time wants to cast a vote for the status quo, so what?
But will Migs bite, and be with Nene in the same tent? What about Dick, who styles himself as too much of an independent?
“I do not know the “who” specifics. I just know there is a plot, and I was told that it’s a go. So apparently, Villar and my Doña have the numbers all sewn up,” he stated. “As you can see, my Doña wants to appoint the next Chief Justice. She is covering all the bases. Honestly, this is way too much,” he added.
“Oh, and by the way, Ping might not even be able to vote for JPE. You know…Dacer-Corbito”, he further said.
Suddenly I recalled what I saw in Friday night’s late newscast. It was reported that Carina Dacer, one of Bubby’s heiresses, was preparing to add Erap in the Dacer-Corbito charge sheet. But, they would rather watch what happens in the “trial” of Ping Lacson.
Aha! Twisting the rope into a noose! That just might explain why Jinggoy was included in the “swing” list. If Erap’s freedom is on the line, can the son be far away from becoming an acquiescent instrument to the plot?
“But who will be selected as the next SP?” I half-knowingly asked, “and the deed must be consummated by February 5.”
It has to be one who could stay as senator till 2013, which means Joker? Edong? Or Villar, mismo! Bingo!
Who, of course, is just between La Doña and El Villar to transact, with Erap’s head on the dock.
Now, if you were the Doña, who would you trust more — lawyers Joker and Edong who can be wily and wilier, or someone who has already thrown in billions towards an election where the votes may not even be counted?