Balitang Kutsero: By Perry Diaz
When Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero dropped a bombshell the other day with his announcement that he bolted from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), it stunned the public. The unexpected happened and all of a sudden the country was buzzing with “chizmis” about Chiz and his “machizmo.” It was a day when “chizmosos” and “chizmosas” dominated the media. Scoop here and scoop there. Some scooped some good scoop and some scooped pure dirt. Well folks, it’s “Chizmisan” time again.
One of the “chizmis” that’s been going around in the Internet is that Chiz is being likened to U.S. President Barack Obama as the real candidate of “change,” now that he’s freed from “political bondage” and patronage of Danding Cojuangco. Okay, let’s see some action, Chiz -- walk the talk.
And here’s my own “chizmis” for whatever it’s worth -- Chiz bolting from NPC was calculated to make a huge impact; thus, increasing his visibility and project himself as the candidate of “change.“ Although he did not say whether he’s going to run or not, his campaign manager said that Chiz will run for president. Well, that’s as good as coming from the horse’s mouth. Suddenly, Chiz is in the limelight. That’s a brilliant marketing strategy. I’m sure we’d be hearing more about things like a new cake recipe called “Chizcake” and other marketing gimmicks or “chizmicks” -- and a new following of groupies called “Chicks for Chiz.”
Everybody is now talking seriously about Chiz, the kid who wants to be president. And guess what, presidential wannabes Gibo Teodoro and Manny Villar asked Chiz to be their vice presidential running mate. Marvelous!
The question is: Is Chiz going to be a “balimbing” and join another party? Well, for now, he said he’ll remain independent. But for how long?
Gibo, his former NPC partymate, became the first “balimbing” this year when he bolted from the NPC and leapfrogged into Gloria’s PaLaKa -- short for Lakas-Kampi-CMD -- to become its presidential nominee.
Well, it’s “balimbing” season again, folks. The “balimbing” --star fruit -- has become the mark of a turncoat. The star fruit's cross section is shaped like a five-sided star; thus, a person who changes political loyalty is called a “balimbing.”
Basically, this is how it works: If you want to run for, say, president and your political party doesn’t support your candidacy or has selected another person to be your party’s standard bearer, then you look for another party who would support you. And if an existing party wouldn’t take you in, then start a new party. I call it “bolt, shake, and roll.”
In 1946, Manuel Roxas -- Mar’s grandfather -- bolted from the Nacionalista Party and formed the Liberal Party to run for president. He won.
Roxas died in office in 1948 and his vice president, Elipido Quirino -- also a Nacionalista-turned-Liberal -- took over the presidency. In 1949, he won a four-year term.
In 1953, Ramon Magsaysay resigned as Quirino’s Defense Secretary, bolted from the Liberal Party and joined the Nacionalista Party to became its standard bearer. He won the election by 68.9% of the vote.
Magsaysay died in a plane crash in 1957 and Vice President Carlos P. Garcia, also a Nacionalista, took over the presidency. That same year, Garcia ran for president and won while Diosdado Macapagal, a Liberal, won the vice presidency.
In 1961, Macapagal ran against re-electionist Garcia and won. In 1965, when Macapagal ran for re-election, Ferdinand Marcos, his rival within the Liberal Party, bolted from the party and joined the Nacionalista Party. Marcos captured the nomination and defeated Macapagal in the election.
When Marcos ran for re-election in 1969, his partymate Sergio Osmena, Jr. bolted from the Nacionalista Party and became the Liberal Party’s presidential candidate. Marcos won handily. In 1972, Marcos declared martial law and stayed in power until he was overthrown in the “People Power” Revolution of 1986. Cory Aquino then took over the presidency and served a six-year term.
In 1992, when Fidel V. Ramos lost the nomination of Laban Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) to Ramon Mitra, he bolted from LDP and formed his own party, the Partido Lakas ng Tao (People Power Party). He then ran for president and won.
In the same election year, Joseph “Erap” Estrada ran under NPC as the vice presidential running mate of presidential candidate Danding Cojuangco. Danding lost to Ramos and Erap won the vice presidency.
In 1998, Erap bolted from NPC and formed his own party, Laban ng Makabayang Masang Pilipino, and ran for president. He won.
In the same election year, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo bolted from LDP and formed her own party, the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI), to run for president. But she changed her mind and decided to run instead as the vice presidential running mate of Jose de Venecia, Jr. under the newly formed tripartite coalition Lakas ng EDSA-National Union of Christian Democrats-Union of Muslim Democrats in the Philippines (Lakas-NUCD-UMDP). De Venecia lost the presidency to Erap but Gloria won the vice presidency.
In 2001, when Erap was deposed in another “people power” revolution due to charges of corruption and the jueteng scandals, Gloria took over the presidency. In 2004, Gloria ran for president against popular actor Fernando Poe Jr. She won but was later exposed for cheating in the election. Kawawa naman ang Pilipinas.
Today, with only one month left to the deadline for filing certificates of candidacies, party-switching has reached fever pitch and will continue at a fast pace up to the eleventh hour.
Now, here’s some interesting numbers. Of the nine presidents, not counting Cory Aquino, seven were “balimbings” -- Roxas, Quirino, Magsaysay, Marcos, Ramos, Estrada, and Arroyo. Garcia and Macapagal were the only ones who didn’t switch parties when they ran for president.
From a statistical standpoint, the five strong presidential contenders in the 2010 elections, the “balimbings” -- Teodoro, Estrada, and Escudero -- would have a better chance of winning over Villar and Aquino. And based on their ratings in recent polls, Estrada has a better chance of winning over Escudero Teodoro. So, based on these simplistic “process of elimination,“ there is a good chance that Erap Estrada might be the next president of the land of Wah Wah We!