Rough Cuts: Likely city political scenarios in 2019

We would like to share with our readers some revealing, even disturbing observations we have while doing our daily rounds of the city in the performance of our responsibility as journalist.

In certain very strategic areas along most used city roads we have seen rising over the last few weeks billboards with inscriptions like the following:

Go/Bato sa Senado 2019 (at the Bankerohan Bridge 2 approach). January in May (in a conspicuous site along another widely used road). Many other billboards both large and medium sized, with similar inscriptions on them have been observed dominating the Davao City landscape. Any ordinary citizen can easily understand the message.

No matter how the personalities involved will deny that they are running or entertaining idea to run come the 2019 elections they betrayed their real intention by allowing the installation of such billboards.

So, if the Charter change is assumed approved and its ratification is to come in a separate exercise after the May 2019 mid-term elections, then we can safely say that what most political families are doing now is engaging in a “beating the political red light” game. That is, for close relative politicians to be already in place ahead of the anti-dynasty provision in the new Charter.

Other aspiring politicians who are not related to those in power except by the ties of close friendship and personal association, they, too, are simply employing the art of beating around the bush in the matter of interpreting the election code’s provision on early campaigning.

Yes, they could be banking on the advice of their lawyers that putting giant billboards with their faces dominating the tarpaulin spaces together with the inscriptions suggestive of their intention to run, is not and cannot be an act of early campaigning. Why, because these are put up way ahead of the campaign period and nothing is inscribed expressly soliciting the public’s vote.

Again, theirs is another way of beating the political “red light.”

And speaking of elections, it is barely a little over a month for aspiring politicians and those intending to remain in their current elective post or wanting to move to another higher elective position, to be filing their certificates of candidacy.

We have talked with some so-called political observers both coffee shop standbys and those street side viewers, and they seem to have closely similar readings on Davao City’s political situation.

They somehow agree with our own view that Mayor Inday Sara would rather run for reelection and strengthen her newly acquired role as a political king maker of sort. They also believe that while Vice Mayor Bernie Al-ag is very much interested to run for the post that he is occupying now, he is constrained by the thought that the Party that he is affiliated with, the local Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod formed by no less than the former City Mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte, may have some other person in mind. And this doubt was buttressed by a recent statement from Hugpong stalwart, second district councilor Danny Dayanghirang, who admitted the party is considering a January Duterte run for the Vice Mayorship.

In this case VM Bernie will just have to abort his desire to become an elected Vice Mayor of Davao City. For how long, only a New Charter can answer.

Meanwhile, the same coffee shop-based and street side political analysts are also one in their views that the present “detente” entered into by and between the Duterte and Nograles political bands could be headed to a dissolution.

Incumbent first district Congressman Karlo Nograles, while somehow definite of his plan to run for the Senate, could end up in the line-up of a Party outside Inday Sara’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago’s support. That is, if we have to read between the lines in President Duterte’s statement that the PDP-Laban Party that carried his candidacy for the Presidency, is “losing its relevance” as an offshoot of the split immediately after the change in the House speakership.

So, according to these two groups of political pundits, the Nograles group will put up Karlo’s brother, now PBA Partylist congressman Jericho “Koko” Nograles in the slot the former will vacate. But they also said that the Hugpong leaders are pushing resigned Vice Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte to run for Congressman in the first district. And Pulong himself is insinuating he is willing to be pushed — even shoved — even as he claimed he still would get the nod of the party leadership and of his family for his final decision.

In this situation, our friend political observers are saying that given a longer and more expensive shot for the Senate, Karlo may end up running for mayor against Inday Sara, if only to retain the Nograles political base.

This multi-political observer groups’ analysis, if it happens, could be one interesting development in Davao City politics where excitement in the past many political seasons has been reduced to the barest minimum for luck of contest.

Posted in Opinion, Uncategorized