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The political pot boils

"Dynasties will want to perpetuate their hold on power, and rivals sometimes think the only way to stop such entrenched power is to eliminate the holders with extreme prejudice."

 

The mayor of Sudipen in La Union was killed in an ambush the other day.  His wife the vice mayor, as of this writing is in the hospital for injuries sustained during the ambush.

There will be more such incidents as the run-up towards the hotly contested mid-term elections nears. Dynasties will want to perpetuate their hold on power, and rivals sometimes think the only way to stop such entrenched power is to eliminate the holders with extreme prejudice.

Here in Taiwan, legislators engage in shouting matches and at times, fisticuffs, right in the halls of the Legislative Yuan. But it ends there. Politically motivated violence is not the mode of conduct between rivals.

It is as if our politicians have not transcended the feudal nature of their hold on leadership.  And until we correct the system that breeds this culture of patronage and money politics, the sporadic acts of violence will prevail, as much as vote-buying has become rule rather than exception.

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There will be two added congressional districts in the province of Isabela, from four to six. There will be two more in Laguna, and so too in Cavite. Aklan will have an additional congressional district as well. 

In fine, we will have more than 300 members of the House of Representatives, party-list congressmen included.

Will the quality of legislation improve with more members of the House? 

How many of them will have “periods” similar to ACTS-OFW party-list representative Aniceto Bertiz, who went ballistic when asked by security personnel at the NAIA to remove his shoes?

***

In the City of Manila, the mayoralty fight will be among three contenders as of the last count.  There’s the incumbent two-term mayor, former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, who will turn 83 years on April 19, 2019, weeks before the date of elections.

There’s 92- or 93-year-old Fred Lim, maybe more if you listen to his detractors, who held the position from 1992 to 1998, when he ran for the presidency in a six-way contest where Joseph Estrada won overwhelmingly.

In 2004, Lim ran for senator on the opposition ticket, handpicked by the then detained Erap, who also made Lim his DILG secretary during his short-lived presidency.  Lim won, but served as senator for only three years, opting to run for mayor in 2007, when Mayor Lito Atienza’s three terms expired.  

Lim won, with the support of the then-detained Erap. But relations between Lim and Erap soured, and in a surprising turn of events, the former president shifted his political base from San Juan to Manila, and challenged Lim.

Erap won, not once but twice, over Lim, and now, on his last of three possible terms, the nonagenarian Lim is spoiling for another attempt at dethroning the reigning Erap.

Spoiler in the grudge fight is former vice mayor Isko Moreno, who ran unsuccessfully as senator in 2016 under the Grace Poe-Chiz Escudero ticket.

Moreno was Mayor Atienza’s protégé as councilor for three terms, later becoming first, Lim and then Erap’s vice mayor.  

This is going to be an interesting fight: an incumbent octogenarian, a come-backing nonagenarian, and a much younger challenger. Moreno, now DSWD undersecretary, will turn 44 this month, young enough to be Lim’s grandson, young enough to be Erap’s son.

The 64-dollar question could be, who will the Iglesia ni Cristo bless?

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In Isabela with two new congressional districts, three-term congressman Rodito Albano will run for governor, and the incumbent governor, Bodjie Dy will be his running mate.

But it seems the once monolithic Dy dynasty is torn asunder, with Rep. Napoleon Dy and older brother Jun Dy, former congressman and governor, at odds with the other branch of their family, now led by Governor Bodjie.  

And in another unexpected turn of events, they have partnered with former Gov. Grace Padaca, once their political nemesis, to challenge the Rodito-Bodjie tandem.

Oh well! As often observed —in politics, there are no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.

***

And then of course, there is the battle royale between Erap’s two sons, Jinggoy and JV, both running for senator.  JV is incumbent gunning for his first reelection. Jinggoy wants to stage a comeback, after finishing two terms as senator.

When I asked my former boss, now Manila Mayor Erap when we met at a wedding ceremony last Sunday, he merely shrugged and joked, in characteristic Erap-ism, “parang Ateneo-La Salle kasi.

Jinggoy graduated from the Ateneo; JV is a La Salle product.

Onli in da Pilipins!

Topics: La Union , House of Representatives , Joseph Ejercito Estrada , Alfredo Lim , Lito Atienza , Isko Moreno
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