Solid, steady and firm. That was how a Manila city hall oldtimer described the Amado Bagatsing-Ali Atienza tandem vying for top political posts in the country’s capital city.
As far as the current Mayor Joseph Estrada-Honey Lacuna partnership is concerned, it’s rather shaky, unsteady, unsure, said the oldtimer.
The former Mayor Alfredo Lim, who has teamed up with Benjamin Asilo, the situation is rather messy, directionless, rudderless, said the city hall old hand, the 80-year-old Benja Pahar.
“I might be wrong, maybe even off-tangent... but that’s the way I see it, that’s how I feel it that these three leading political teams are doing and going about their campaigns,” said Pahar, a retired Manila government employee who worked under the administrations of then Mayor Arsenio Lacson and Antonio Villegas, and continued to go to the city hall everyday to earn a living by running errands for officials and workers alike.
Pahar said the Bagatsing-Atienza ticket appears not troubled by any serious political problems, even as there are persistent words spreading around that Ali “is being wooed and probably being used by other political groups to gain some mileage from the popular and much-liked son of former Mayor Lito Atienza.”
Despite this, Ali is constantly declaring that “Bagatsing is my only mayor” and Bagatsing, for his part, has been proclaiming in his public speeches in meetings, rallies and caucuses “to support and vote for vice mayor Ali Atienza,” Pahar noted.
The Bagatsing-Ali has a complete slate with only one candidate for Congress seats in the six congressional districts (except in District 3), as well as, six council aspirants from Districts 1 to 6.
Pahar claimed that the Estrada-Lacuna camp is “shaky” because its political alliance—the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino and the Asenso Manileño—is not deep-rooted, not well grounded.
He said that Estrada “was disturbed and eventually got irked” when informed that certain officials of AM “visited and offered to help Lim in the latter’s mayoral quest if Lim will also help Lacuna’s vice mayoral bid,” right after the filing of Certificates of Candidacy or CoCs October last year.
Upon learning this, Estrada, through the secretary to the mayor, lawyer Edward Serapio, called an urgent meeting with the officers and members of AM, to discuss and evaluate the issue.
A loyalty check was discreetly enforced by the Estrada camp, a source said.
The incident, since then, caused Estrada to doubt the loyalty of AM members who were included in his slate.
“Estrada is wary. He must be thinking of being junked. Sabotaged moreover,” Pahar commented. “Uneasy lies the crown on the mayor’s head.”
Meanwhile, the Lim-Asilo team has become “messy” because Lim, aside from the official and declared hopefuls of his party, has additional aspirants he is endorsing.
For vice mayor, he has three others; and for councilors, he has more than six bets, the required official numbers, in each of the six districts.
“If that is not messy,” what is?” Pahar asked.
The Bagatsing-Atienza team is bannered by the coalition of “Kabaka LABS Manila-Kababaihan ng Maynila,” the Estrada-Lacuna by the “Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino-Asenso Manileno,” and the Lim-Asilo by the Liberal Party.
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