A very good and must read is this piece from Lisandro E. Claudio. Here’s a snippet:
This may be slightly reductive, but I believe the battle lines within the Aquino administration are becoming more evident as events unfold. The much-touted Samar-Balay rivalry seems to me to be one between close friends and party mates, between Kabarkada Inc. and the Liberal Party.
To me, the choice is clear: Noynoy should stick with the LP. There are a number of reasons for this. First, as in the case of Robredo, LP politicians are usually more qualified. This is because many of them are in positions of prominence by virtue of political track record and not because they grew up with the president. Second, as Manuel Buancamino notes in his Business Mirror column, making a friend work under you can ruin your friendship (not that I care if Noynoy and Puno ever speak again). Third, and I think most importantly, the president needs to send a message that political parties matter.
One of the reasons why personality politics is so prevalent in the Philippines is because of our weak political party structure. Voters identify with people because, more often than not, political parties have no real identities apart from being assemblages created to forward the careers of individual politicians. Among the big traditional parties, only the Liberal Party has a sense of ideological coherence (unless, of course, you consider Gloria and Lakas-Kampi’s “trapoism” a valid ideology). I may be critical of the big political parties, but even I have to admit that the LP, though diverse, is characterized by a liberal reformism. This means that, while its members may not want to overhaul our broken political system, they want to make it more efficient and, at times, even more equitable. We saw this, for example, in the LP senatorial ticket, which had candidates fighting to reform specific areas like health and education.
In many ways, our president is part of this tradition. And it is this tradition that he should draw from if he wants to genuinely change things. Also, if Noynoy strengthens his party, they can continue his policies and projects even after he leaves office. Kabarkada Inc. cannot do this. When Noynoy is no longer president, they’ll head off either to the Pen or the shooting range.