MANILA, Philippines -- The first thing the opposition did after it appeared certain that the Genuine Opposition (GO) candidates had won 8-2-2 in the Senate election was to talk with deposed president Joseph Estrada, at his detention home in Tanay, Rizal, about the division of spoils. Up for grabs are the Senate presidency and chairmanship of key committees. From newspaper reports, there was nothing to indicate that the victors, in the flush of triumph, thought of overhauling the national policy agenda beyond just carving up the booty. The celebration with Estrada was symbolic and symptomatic of the opposition's view of the mandate it received from the people on May 14. When the opposition leaders met at Estrada's rest house, they offered the GO capture of the Senate as a trophy to Estrada and as an acknowledgment of Estrada's view that the election was a referendum on the illegitimacy of his overthrow by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in January 2001 and a vindication of his innocence of plunder charges. The opposition cannot be more wrong than crediting Estrada for the GO victory in the Senate election. Some of them may like to think the GO team was handpicked by Estrada. But this was not exactly the case: most of the GO candidates were not identified as dyed-in-the-wool Estrada partisans, and presented themselves as independent-minded persons. The only thread shared by members of the team was that all were anti-Arroyo. The May election was anything but a rerun of the Estrada-Arroyo political vendetta. That feud was not the central election issue. The voters decided on a number of issues that have emerged to define the character of the Arroyo administration since 2001. The nation has traveled a long distance for the past six years. Consequently, Estrada cannot claim credit for influencing the 8-2-2 Senate election result. Much less is he in a position to call the shots in the allocation of power in the next Senate.
Amando Doronila: May election more than just 'Erap vs Gloria'
HERE'S Amando Doronila's take on the results of the May polls. Excerpt from his column piece "Acting as if nothing happened":
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