MANILA (March 22) — Frustrated over corruption and upset about traditional politicians running the governance of the country, several groups have started advocating for the fielding of an Ed Panlilio and Grace Padaca tandem for the 2010 national elections.
Although the groups have not yet to be formally organized as an alliance called Panlilio Padaca Para sa Pagbabago (PPPP) they have determined which of the two governors should run for the presidency. Both Panlilio, the governor of Pampanga, and Padaca, governor of Isabela, are being urged to run on a national ticket for the top two positions.
Fr. Roberto Reyes of the Kubol Pagasa group said during a weekly media forum that not only the two would stamp out corruption in government; they could also restore dignity to public service.
“This is time when we will choose the leaders because he/she is honest and because of public trust. I can vouch for these two persons because they are good persons and very honest,” he said.
In the forefront of pushing for the proposed tandem is Kaya Natin Movement, Philippine Alliance of Ex-Seminarians (PAX) and the farmer’s group PAKIKISAMA. The proposal has also been promoted to several groups in the US with the use of e-mail campaigns.
Even Press Secretary Cerge Remonde was open to the idea and said that it is “good for our democracy” as the plan gives people more choices. He also hinted on the possibility of Panlilio getting an endorsement of his plan from the administration.
“ In politics everything is possible. But for Malacanang to endorse him, he [Panlilio] will have to be aligned with the vision and programs of President Arroyo,” he said.
According to Remonde, other “qualifications” for a Palace endorsement include proven capability, competence and integrity.
Panlilio won in the 2007 gubernatorial elections in Pampanga, President Arroyo’s home province. In that same year, he bared Malacañang’s P500,000 “gift” to governors at the height of an impeachment bid against the President.
He recently accused President Arroyo’s son, Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, of turning a blind eye in the rampant jueteng operations in his province.
For his part, on learning of Panlilio’s plan, Representative Arroyo was quoted as saying, “I hope he first get the support of the Kampampangans, not just the NGOs [non-govermental organizations]. Presidential candidates usually rank high in their home provides; the solid vote of your home province speaks well of you.”
Speaker Prospero Nograles, who is also Lakas president, said the ruling Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) has not considered the possibility of fielding the two governors in the 2010 elections.
“The Lakas party has not considered this tandem in our radar search,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bayan Muna (People First) Representative Satur Ocampo welcomed the tandem and said talks are underway for a national coalition.
“There is unity on working together for changes in politics and governance, but the details needs to be further discussed assiduously and extensively,” he said. He also considered the tandem as a “positive move in pursuing the politics of change advocated by our progressive party-list group Bayan Muna.
While there are no questions about the sincerity of the two to serve the country, Ocampo said that to provide effective national leadership and effect change, “they must commit to pursue a program that shall reverse all the anti-people policies and program of previous governments, especially those of the Gloria Arroyo administration.”