Business Politics

Former coup plotters possibly in bed with Salim Group businesses could be backing Opposition bets for 2022

It would appear that MVP really has an axe to grind against the Duterte administration. The linkages are hard to ignore. Magdalo is the new RAM with the difference being it has been able to establish a stronger political base. Manila Times columnist Bobi Tiglao today asks, “Trillanes’ Magdalo putschists behind retired generals’ anti-Duterte group?”. Tiglao observes how “a group of a dozen and a half retired generals and colonels calling themselves “Advocates for the National Interest” issued a statement a week ago that tried to spread the colossal lies the Yellows and former magistrate Antonio Carpio have been spreading on the South China Sea dispute.”

My basis for this suspicion is that it has a member who is not a former general nor even a colonel: Francisco Ashely Acedillo, a former helicopter pilot whose highest rank had been of lieutenant in the Air Force. Who is he?

Acedillo was one of the 11 officers first convicted in 2008 by a military court together with Gary Alejano, for leading the short-lived Oakwood Mutiny in 2003 and being kicked out of the military. He spent seven years in the Villamor stockades until his conviction.

Of Acedillo, Tiglao further writes, “After serving a term as the Magdalo (aka Antonio Trillanes’) party representative in Congress, he became assistant vice president for cybersecurity of Smart Communications. Smart is a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co., owned mainly by the Indonesian tycoon Anthoni Salim.”

It is no wonder then that media companies in the MVP (Manny Pangilinan) stable are all anti-Duterte. MVP isn’t stupid enough to bankroll a losing candidate. More than likely he will field Manila Mayor Isko Moreno for President. But Moreno is a card-carrying member of the National Unity Party (NUP) of Enrique Razon and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA). If Isko runs, does this mean GMA is breaking away from the ruling coalition? Or will Isko leave the NUP and join an existing political party with national accreditation to serve as the vehicle for his candidacy?

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It’s no wonder then that former Senator and convicted mutineer Antonio Trillanes has been given a “professorship” at the Ateneo. The shot he fired across Vice President Leni Robredo’s bow is indicative of financial backing for at least a Senatorial run. With retired former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio confirmed as lawyering for the interests of MVP and former Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario, this all but confirms that 1Sambayan is also being financed by MVP. What is definite at this point is MVP believes that another six years of a Marcos or a Duterte as President is inimical to his business interests. The recent promotion of Al Panlilio is insignificant because it only means that the latter will be running PLDT-Smart-Meralco on a day-to-day basis but Pangilinan remains as Executive Chair meaning all major decisions will still be made by him.

I’ve always maintained since former President Erap’s ouster that GMA is not one to be trifled with. She may not be popular but she is politically-adept at holding the levers of power. We have no other recourse but to see how events will play out up to October.

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