Philippines Table of Contents
The New Society Movement fell apart when Marcos fled the country. A former National Assembly speaker, Nicanor Yniguez, tried to "reorganize" it, but others scrambled to start new parties with new names. Blas Ople, Marcos's minister of labor, formed the Nationalist Party of the Philippines (Partido Nationalista ng Pilipinas) in March 1986. Enrile sought political refuge in a revival of the country's oldest party, the Nacionalista Party, first formed in 1907 (see A Collaborative Philippine Leadership , ch. 1). Enrile used the rusty Nacionalista machinery and an ethnic network of Ilocanos to campaign for a no vote on the Constitution, and when that failed, for his election to the Senate. Lengthy negotiations with mistrustful political "allies" such as Ople and Laurel delayed the formal reestablishment of the Nacionalista Party until May 1989. Enrile also experimented with a short-lived Grand Alliance for Democracy with Francisco "Kit" Tatad, the erstwhile minister of information for Marcos, and the popular movie-star senator, Joseph Estrada. In 1991 Enrile remained a very powerful political figure, with landholdings all over the Philippines and a clandestine network of dissident military officers.
Vice President Laurel had few supporters in the military but long-term experience in political organizing. From his family base in Batangas Province, Laurel had cautiously distanced himself from Marcos in the early 1980s, then moved into open opposition under the banner of a loose alliance named the United Nationalist Democratic Organization (UNIDO). Eventually, the UNIDO became Laurel's personal party. Aquino used the party's organization in February 1986, although her alliance with Laurel was never more than tactical. UNIDO might have endured had Aquino's allies granted Laurel more patronage when local governments were reorganized. As it was, Laurel could reward his supporters only with positions in the foreign service, and even there the opportunities were severely limited. The party soon fell by the wayside. Laurel and Enrile formed the United Nationalist Alliance, also called the Union for National Action, in 1988. The United Nationalist Alliance proposed a contradictory assortment of ideas including switching from a presidential to a parliamentary form of government, legalizing the Communist Party of the Philippines, and extending the United States bases treaty. By 1991 Laurel had abandoned these ad hoc creations and gone back to the revived Nacionalista Party, in a tentative alliance with Enrile.
In 1991 a new opposition party, the Filipino Party (Partido Pilipino), was organized as a vehicle for the presidential campaign of Aquino's estranged cousin Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco. Despite the political baggage of a long association with Marcos, Cojuangco had the resources to assemble a powerful coalition of clans.
The Liberal Party, a democratic-elitist party founded in 1946, survived fourteen years of dormancy (1972 to 1986), largely through the staunch integrity of its central figure, Senate president Jovito Salonga, a survivor of the Plaza Miranda grenade attack of September 1971. In 1991 Salonga also was interested in the presidency, despite poor health and the fact that he is a Protestant in a largely Catholic country.
In September 1986 the revolutionary left, stung by its shortsighted boycott of the February election, formed a legal political party to contest the congressional elections. The Partido ng Bayan (Party of the Nation) allied with other leftleaning groups in an Alliance for New Politics that fielded 7 candidates for the Senate and 103 for the House of Representatives, but it gained absolutely nothing from this exercise. The communists quickly dropped out of the electoral arena and reverted to guerrilla warfare. As of 1991, no Philippine party actively engaged in politics espoused a radical agenda.
Data as of June 1991