LP-NP rivalry revival, return to two-party system seen

With the Liberal Party (LP) set to draft Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III as its presidential candidate, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) now sees “a likely return to the traditional two-party system.”

There will only be two worthy presidential candidates next year – Aquino of the LP and Sen. Manny Villar of the Nacionalista Party (NP), according to TUCP secretary-general and former Senator Ernesto Herrera, a former LP member.

“Thus, what we are witnessing now is the up-and-coming revival of the great rivalry between the LP and the NP, and the renewal of the system of two parties dominating our political affairs,” Herrera said.

Herrera portrayed Aquino, 49, as “a promising transformational leader who would make a great President.”

He described Villar as “a creditable opponent” of Aquino, saying the NP chief’s “track record as an entrepreneur and able leader speaks for itself.

“Owing to his integrity, Noynoy offers real hope for change, especially in ensuring honest and upright governance, just like her mother,” said Herrera, a former member of the Agrava Fact-Finding Board that investigated the 1983 assassination of Noynoy’s father, former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.

“Right now, the nation is losing some P240 billion every year to rampant corruption. And as long as we are losing a large part of the annual national budget to malfeasance, government cannot effectively carry out policies and programs meant to fight poverty and improve lives,” Herrera said.

Herrera said organized labor is counting on Aquino “to usher in a whole new era of fearless clean governance and trustworthy public service.”

He also expressed confidence that overwhelming public support would give Aquino “even more courage to fight wrongdoing everywhere.”

“We desperately need bold, decisive and determined anti-corruption actions. Because of his decency, Noynoy can easily carry out these actions, and inspire people to fight malfeasance,” Herrera said.

Herrera was among the 24 candidates drafted by Aquino’s mother, then President Corazon Aquino, for her senatorial slate in the 1987 elections – the first free polls after the 1986 EDSA Revolution.

After establishing a solid track record fighting illegal drugs, Herrera handily won a second term in the Senate in 1992, thanks in part to the strong endorsement of then presidential daughter Kris Aquino.

Herrera credited Sen. Mar Roxas, LP chief, for giving up his aspiration to seek the presidency, and giving way to Aquino.


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