How the new Senate may impact 2016 presidential race

By Coco Alcuaz, ANC

Posted at May 13 2013 06:22 AM | Updated as of May 13 2013 02:22 PM

MANILA, Philippines - If the latest April 20 to 22 Pulse Asia survey is right, the 16th Senate could be controlled by three families - the Enriles, the Cayetanos and the Ejercito-Estradas.

Professors Nicole Curato and Julio Teehankee say there are fewer Senate newcomers without family ties to an incumbent. 

"Our democracy has always been set up to be exclusionary with a moment of opening post-EDSA... What's interesting in this election is that we see a lot of kids of post-EDSA heroes replacing their parents and that's an interesting phenomenon we have to watch out for: How long will that keep going for generations," Curato said. 

Teehankee noted the composition of the Senate is "usually reflective of the composition of the elites in society." 

"Back in the colonial era, it was dominated by landlords, in the post-war era lawyers, and then later on, technocrats. but if what we're seeing right now is the sudden surge of clans... A family name is now considered a political brand," Teehankee said. 

Eye on 2016

There's another phenomenon in the 16th Senate. 

At least five of the likely brands there have a direct stake in 2016. Nancy Binay's father Vice President Jejomar Binay is running for president. 

Former president Joseph Estrada wants one of his sons to be president or at least vice president. And President Aquino wants to cement his legacy. 

The Cayetanos are probably thinking of moving from the Senate to the presidential-vice-presidential field.

And the Villars could be thinking of how to get some of the power they were counting on in 2010.

How much they put their interests in 2013 ahead of national interest will determine what President Aquino will be able to add to his legislative legacy after the RH bill and sin taxes.

And what investigations the Senate will purse against possible 2016 presidential candidates. The kind of investigations that helped damage the early front runner in the last election - Manny Villar. 

"Yes, they're proxies right, so they will be standing in for  the main contenders for the 2016 elections... It is a narrative between the so-called reformist yellow narrative of President Aquino, the anti-corruption, middle class good governance narrative versus the pro-poor populace narrative of Erap Estrada and Vice President Binay," Teehankee said.

"If you look at it, it's ironic that the President appears to be the winner but for the first time in at least in post-Marcos Philippine politics, the ruling party appears to be not the winner... Here you have a situation in which the LP did not build itself into a formidable ruling party," he added. 

Teehankee points out that while most Team PNoy bets may win, only one of its possible winners is an LP member - Bam Aquino.

That will mean just four Liberal Party members in the Senate, including Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto and Teofisto Guingona, possibly not enough to wrest the Senate presidency from UNA and take full control of the agenda heading into 2016.