Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 25) — Two experts said the ruling coalition UniTeam may soon be divided as some of its members push for their own interests with the midterm elections approaching.
“They’re no longer as united as they want to appear in the public eyes,” political scientist Cleve Arguelles told CNN Philippines’ The Source, calling the “rapid deterioration of the relationship within the Uniteam coalition” as surprising.
“Usually the president is able to keep his coalition intact until after the midterm elections and we’re still years away from midterm elections,” he added.
Political analyst Froilan Calilung said he also sees fissures that are “going to metamorphosize into something, bigger cracks in the long run.”
He said this is evident primarily because the UniTeam led by President Feridnand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte was only founded to get votes for the 2022 polls.
“We see them, they are very cordial to each other and they seem to project a happy relationship, but of course inside there are not just them, but people around them that may actually cause the divide,” Calilung added.
In November, there were major changes in the House of Representatives’ leadership following the tirades from former President Rodrigo Duterte in a TV interview in October.
He accused the lower chamber of corruption and calling it the “most rotten institution” in the country after secret funds of offices led by his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte, were transferred to agencies focusing on national security.
The lower chamber then adopted House Resolution 1414 upholding its “integrity and honor” and expressing support for Speaker Martin Romualdez, the chief executive’s cousin.
A day after adopting the resolution, two deputy speakers who are known allies of the vice president — former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab — were replaced.
Romualdez maintained that the alliance between the Marcoses and Dutertes remains intact despite the House shakeup.
Arguelles said the issue may also be due to some members of the UniTeam wanting to gain an advantage in the 2028 presidential polls.
“What’s really challenging for those in the UniTeam is temporarily setting aside these 2028 ambitions, but I think this is very difficult for them to do because there is no strong opposition that threatens them and therefore their eyes are set on each other,” he also explained.
For Calilung, this relationship may not revert back to what it used to be as the polls approach.
Both experts also shared their thoughts on the House’s push for charter change.
Calilung said he was surprised since this was not part of the government’s priorities.
“I think there are some personalities that joined Lakas (CMD), for instance deputy speaker Dong Gonzales who used to be with PDP (Laban) is a staunch supporter of Cha-cha. It could be possible he is advancing this to the House speaker that’s why it’s gaining momentum,” he explained.
Still, Arguelles warned that the push for Cha-cha may have a negative effect on proponents given Filipinos’ weak appetite for Charter change.
Source: CNN PH