Marcos beefs up party ahead of midterm polls

Marcos beefs up party ahead of midterm polls
Marcos beefs up party ahead of midterm polls

MORE than a dozen politicians on Thursday joined President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s political party, including his son Sandro who is now a congressman, in what appears to be a push for consolidation ahead of mid-term elections in 2025.

In his speech at the induction ceremony in Manila, the President said the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas has become a bigger group that “continues to work for the advocacy of improving the government bureaucracy.”

“We have turned what was a minor party in the political spectrum into a majority party in the country,” he said.  “We are trying to make our political system as stable as possible.”

Political parties in the Philippine are largely driven by personality, not principles.

Ilocos Norte Rep. Sandro A. Marcos used to be a member of Nacionalista Party, which is led by billionaire and former Senator Manuel B. Villar.

Partido Federal was founded in 2018 by the supporters of ex-President Rodrigo R. Duterte, whose push for federalism had failed.

Mr. Marcos said boosting the autonomy of local government units — a promise that his predecessor had failed to fulfill — is a “central principle to what we are doing.”

“What we are talking about here is federalism,” he said, adding that his government is giving local governments the discretion, power and function.

“We are doing the first step of the federation — federal government for the Philippines in all but name,” he added.”

In January last year, Mr. Marcos noted that while a federal system of government fits the Philippines, changing the 1987 Constitution for it would be difficult.

At the induction ceremony, the President said his party was preparing for “all the political cycles,” including the village elections in October, which he said would affect the 2025 mid-term elections.

“We will need support at the barangay level,” Mr. Marcos said. “That is why it was incumbent upon us to now immediately try and organize ourselves so that we are prepared because there is always synergy.”

Fourteen governors took their oath as members of the ruling party, including three from northern and central Luzon, three from southern Luzon, three from central Philippines and five from Mindanao.

Partido Federal was among the four political parties that formed the UniTeam alliance of Mr. Marcos and his running mate Vice-President Sara Duterte-Carpio during the 2022 campaign. 

Mr. Duterte’s PDP-Laban did not join the alliance, which banked on a message of unity.

The three other parties were Pampanga Rep. and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Lakas-CMD, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, and former President Joseph Estrada’s Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino.

Partido Federal has remained irrelevant at the House of Representatives, where Lakas-CMD, which used to be headed by Ms. Carpio, is the biggest party, political analysts said.

“We didn’t really see Partido Federal, the nominal party of President Marcos, grow to an unusually big size this season,” Cleve V. Arguelles, president of WR Numero Research, said in a report earlier this year.

He noted that most politicians kept their affiliations and loyalty with party-members of Lakas-CMD and PDP-Laban.

The trend was interesting because it “deviates from the expectation that politicians usually jump ship to the administration party which also usually gives Malacañang a clear advantage in a mid-term election,” Mr. Arguelles said. “It’s looking like this will not be the story of 2025.”

Fault lines have emerged within the ruling coalition after an alleged House leadership dispute involving Mr. Marcos’ cousin Speaker Martin G. Romualdez and Ms. Arroyo, a known power broker in Philippine politics. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

Source: Business World