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Party time

WHAT a close fight, a match between nasty and nastier, dangerous and more dangerous.

And a strange one, too. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but Donald Trump clinched the electoral college votes.

The nearest that I could understand of the race was that it was a duel between Democrats and Republicans, and how the red (Republican) states flooded the blue ones across the map of the USA. Which then brought to mind how our own elections last May featured a madcap of multiple parties plus a party-list system to boot.

In the Philippines, the Nacionalista Party is the oldest party (born in 1907), though it didn’t put up its own roster of candidates. Rody Duterte was a candidate without a party, then woke up as President to find himself head of a super coalition of legislators, driving NP Rep. Erlpe John Amante to say that where PDP Laban used to have three members who could fit into a tricycle, “now they can’t fit into a bus.” There are 50 NPs in the House and the Senate – yes, they are part of the super majority – and their president is former Senate president Manny Villar, but it’s the petite and highly energetic Senator Cynthia Villar who pushes the buttons and rings the bell.

As Cynthia told her hosts in China who were eager to learn more about the Philippines now that a “new chapter” is being written between the two countries, “neither ideology nor direction” distinguishes Philippine political parties as “the system is centered on the winner” rather than on party loyalty.

In China, there’s only the Communist Party, with millions of members and a nucleus of cadres who carry out the work laid down by the policy makers. In one province alone, 100,000 cadres were farmed out in 2014 to 22,000 villages to carry out a survey of poor counties.

Rao Hiuhua of the international department of the CPC Center for International Exchanges could not contain her curiosity and asked Senator Villar, “What happens six years later?” That is, after Mr. Duterte leaves office, where goes the supermajority and its many parts and parties? (Jullie Y. Daza)