Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The Search for the Next Congressional Superstar
How many neophyte incoming senators are outgoing representatives? As of the moment, three: Francis Escudero, Benigno Simeon Aquino III, and Alan Peter Cayetano. If Juan Miguel Zubiri squeaks past Koko Pimentel then that count would be four. Loren Legarda is a given. She is a winner. Re-electionist solons are expected to ride the carriage of victory (with the exception of Ralph Recto) whenever they seek another term. I never doubted the chances of Gringo Honasan. He’s a case of been-there-done-that. The real surprise is Antonio Trillanes IV.
However, not everyone could afford to stage a mutiny and win elections. It is quite obvious that the new breeding ground for future senators is the Lower House. Before, the fertile land for winnable national candidates is the showbiz industry. Fortunately, it lost its luster. I think the Filipinos felt that they could only handle has-been action stars-turned senators as much. It all ends with Lito Lapid.
Another lush area for possible senatoriables is the media sector. However, none of the current popular broadcasters are interested in following the footsteps of Legarda and Noli De Castro.
Not every congressman could win in the national level. Just ask Prospero Pichay. The three senator-elect mentioned above are known critics of the administration albeit with different intensities. Aquino is the least vocal. He started hitting the Malacanang resident when his mother withdrew her support during the height of the Hello Garci controversy. Cayetano’s object of ire is Mike Arroyo. He must admit that he did gain a lot of media mileage from those congressional investigations. His surname is quite familiar but his high pre-election survey ranking should be credited to his verbal jousting with the First Gentleman. With his trademark cool attitude, Escudero is without a doubt the opposition poster boy in every Gloria Arroyo-related impeachment debates and congressional hearings.
The live coverage of these debates and hearings contributed greatly to the awareness level of the three neophyte senators. Finally…new stars: young, vibrant, media-savvy (not to mention good-looking) politicians that can give reality TV stars a run for their money. Come on. Do you honestly think that most of the female supporters of Escudero were attracted to his logical inquiries on the articles of impeachment?
With 2010 Presidential Elections just a mere three years from now, it is not surprising that some people are already creating their fantasy senatorial line-ups. One of the topic threads in the Team Chiz forum concerns our personal preferences of possible 2010 Genuine Opposition (GO) senatoriables. In the lead right now are GO Spokesperson Adel Tamano, Pacquiao knock-out artist Darlene Custodio, and (Surprise!) Teodoro Locsin, Jr. The other frequently-mentioned personalities are also representatives including AKBAYAN stalwart Rissa Hontiveros.
Setting aside my opposition-leaning tendencies, I must say that there is a lack of popular administration-allied congressmen. Remember the Spice Boys versus Bright Boys era? Both the majority and the minority had resident superstars. You cannot say the same now.
Since the current administration is an eternal fountain of controversies, there is no end in debates, hearings – and of course – impeachments in the House of Representatives. Thus new congressmen will eventually become household names…not to mention future senatoriables.
Among the present crop on incoming lawmakers, Darlene Custodio is the best bet as the next congressional superstar. She had a stunning victory (against a national demigod, no less) that had sufficient media coverage. Plus, she has the looks to attract aesthetically-inclined voters. I know a couple of people who voted based on good looks. I am not kidding.
One thing I like about Teddy Locsin is that he never runs out of witty sound bites. It is a sure thing that his remarks will figure prominently in any verbal tussle…unless Filipino is the required language.
I thought the 14th Congress would be the year of Gilbert Remulla. But he lost his re-election bid. Thus the golden opportunity falls on the laps of Erin Tanada and Teofisto Guingona III – two young lawmakers with name recall. I already created a nickname for the younger Guingona if he ever runs for senator, TG3. Sounds very Arnold Schwarzenegger-Terminator like, isn’t it? They should start making their marks to avoid comparison with their fathers. It’s not easy stepping out of your old man’s shadow. Just ask Koko Pimentel.
Timmy Chipeco could easily reach superstar level but he seems to have climbed the other side of the political fence…unless I’m reading his body language incorrectly.
The dark horse in The Search for the New Congressional Superstar (I should have this title patented.) is Abigail Binay. I’m pretty sure that the daughter of Mayor Jejomar Binay will not be part of the Silent Majority. In addition, if ever a new suspension order is delivered to the Binay household – then Ms Binay will have her biggest break for media coverage served in a silver platter.
The message is clear: the administration should end their stupidities to prevent new congressional hearings and investigations if they do not want a repeat of an 8-2-2 opposition victory.
There’s a new arena for future senatoriables and only a few survive. Who will be The Next Congressional Superstar?
Dream. Believe. Impeach.