RP politics has turned nasty – FVR
By Jaime Laude
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Former President Fidel Ramos said local politics has turned nasty and is no longer good.
“Garapalan na (It’s brazen),” Ramos said in an interview Thursday night at the New World Hotel in Makati City where he was keynote speaker at a forum sponsored by the German-based Hanns Seidel Foundation.
Ramos did not elaborate but was apparently referring to the infighting within the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD and the heated exchange of allegations between the Liberal Party (LP) and the Nacionalista Party (NP). Ramos founded the Lakas party.
LP standard-bearer Sen. Benigno Aquino III has consistently topped surveys, trailed by NP bet Sen. Manuel Villar Jr.
There have been reports that Ramos has been secretly helping administration bet Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. in his campaign, but key party leaders have been jumping over to other parties.
Recently, presidential economic adviser and Albay Gov. Joey Salceda jumped ship to the LP to support Aquino.
The former president said that instead of focusing on national and local politics, he would now rather promote the country before the international community.
When asked if Speaker Prospero Nograles had already discussed with him the problem plaguing the ruling party, Ramos said no such meeting had taken place.
In Lucena City, Aquino said he is open to having Ramos in the party, but expressed reluctance in taking in former House speaker Jose de Venecia Jr.
In a news conference, Aquino said an alliance with Ramos’ group in Lakas is a “possibility” but emphasized that De Venecia has to pass closer LP scrutiny first.
He said that De Venecia is very fond of “sunshine or rainbow coalition.. We don’t know what other coalition he would organize. Let’s clear things up first before we make a comment,” Aquino said in Filipino. JDV are De Venecia’s initials.
“But the bottom line for us is – we want to transcend politics on a personal nature or personality-based politics. It has to be for the country,” Aquino stressed.
De Venecia earlier disclosed that he and Lakas originals planned to regroup and possibly forge an alliance, either with the LP or the NP.
“If they (Ramos and De Venecia) can accept our agenda, there is that possibility,” Aquino said.
“Of course we need to pursue unity and end animosity. After the elections, I hope we focus on solving the country’s problems,” he added.
Aquino, however, did not hide his reverence for Ramos. His mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, had endorsed Ramos in the 1992 presidential elections. Ramos served as her defense secretary.
“It was during the time of FVR (Ramos) that our country achieved its highest tax collection,” he said. Aquino earlier said if elected he would focus on improving collection rather than introducing new taxes.
“Perhaps he (Ramos) can assist us in doing the same, especially since (Mrs. Arroyo) allowed it (collection) to go down to about six percentage points – a very substantial drop given the fact it was previously 18 percent,” he added. With Delon Porcalla