Credit watchdog Fitch Rating’s recent caution on the ongoing political realignments proved a deep understanding of the political milieu in the Philippines is needed to make sense of what is currently transpiring.
It is an off-tangent assessment that comes as a surprise, considering the stature of the organization.
Also, kibitzers looking in are understandably mystified at how Philippine politics works as fireworks instantly erupted among former solid allies.
Fitch’s analytic unit expressed worry over the “infighting” within the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP) Laban party ahead of next year’s elections.
“We at Fitch Solutions view the ongoing dispute within the governing PDP Laban party as weakening the prospect of a straightforward contest between the pro-Duterte and anti-Duterte camps for the presidency and vice presidency ahead of the May 2022 elections,” Fitch said.
The New York and London-based rating firm is looking at the Philippines through the Western glass in which political affiliations are well-defined, and voters are given a straightforward choice based on principles, such as the Labour Party in the United Kingdom that is identified for its liberal democratic leaning against the Tories, which are the conservatives.
The Americans have the similar delineation between the Democrats and the Republicans.
In the Philippines, there is the scheming yellow civil society, represented by the Liberal Party, that swings from center to extreme left of the bandwidth whenever convenient.
Other parties have similarly accommodative precepts, which have the main objective of drawing in membership, since the rule of numbers provides the leverage and determines which group survives for the next polls.
PDP Laban, which is the party of President Rodrigo Duterte, through the years has figured as among the strongest political group by simply requiring the principle of consultative and participatory democracy among its members and recruits.
Fitch warned the infighting could provide an opportunity for opposition candidates. This is a long shot considering until now the main political coalition 1Sambayan can only produce the extremely unwinnable tandem of Vice President Leni Robredo and putschist Antonio Trillanes IV as its strongest hand for next year.
Worse, both are slugging it out in media, claiming each is the right candidate for the opposition.
According to Fitch, the politicking will likely distract the state from policymaking in the near-term and threatens disunity with the government.
The assessment was apparently issued with a lot of coaxing from the critics of President Duterte, since the current rift in the administration party can be likened to the primaries in the United States, which are the volatile process that leads to the selection of a standard bearer.
The process involves a conflict more contentious than what transpires in the local political scene but, in the end, only one candidate emerges.
Some of those who lost but can’t control their ambition chose to make a run as independents, but none in recent history had succeeded.
The political shifts at the moment trace the natural course, which make every national elections in the Philippines heart-pounding spectacles.