What's with talks of an ex-presidents alliance?

by Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jan 12 2014 06:09 PM | Updated as of Jan 13 2014 02:39 AM

Former President Fidel Ramos, Former President Gloria Arroyo and Mayor Erap Estrada. Composite Photo.

MANILA -- Analysts believe there is nothing to the recent visits of former Presidents Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada at the Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center, where former President Gloria Arroyo is currently detained.

For Ateneo School of Government dean Antonio “Tony” La Viña, it’s a long shot that these three are already talking about a political alliance.

“It’s like water and oil, they can’t blend together. I could not even imagine Ramos with Estrada, and Estrada with Arroyo,” he told ABS-CBN’s "Bottomline."

The usually vocal critics of Arroyo also visited her at the VMMC, where she is under hospital arrest for alleged plunder. Besides Estrada and Ramos, former Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Oscar Cruz also visited Arroyo there.

University of the Philippines Professor Clarita Carlos noted that when the rumors of an alliance among the three ex-presidents started swirling, it was a slow news day.

“The Ramos visit was in October. There was a considerable time [between that and Estrada’s visit]. Maybe the media people did not have anything to write about that day,” she said.

Carlos told host Boy Abunda that she did not even want to comment on the issue.

UP Sociology professor Nicole Curato agreed there was nothing to those meetings. “It’s inconceivable," she said of the supposed political alliance. "Does Arroyo still have the political capital from which the others can gain from with their visits?”

For Curato, the visits were just a matter of courtesy for Ramos and Estrada. “That’s what former presidents do,” she said.

Even political strategist Malou Tiquia agreed, noting that it was in the character of Estrada to be merciful of others.

“He’s just being true to himself, he always reaches out [to others]. Even when he was arrested, he faced Arroyo with a smile,” Tiquia added.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo’s counsel, also earlier denied the rumors, saying the musings only came from the supporters of the three former presidents in order to stop the incumbent administration from extending its policies beyond 2016.