Rough Cuts: Sibling arrangements?

This early we already have an idea about the personalities that will run for Councilor of Davao City’s 3rd district. If we have to mention at least two of them we can be certain that former topnotch councilor Nonoy Al-ag, elder brother of Vice Mayor Bernie Al-ag, and former Mintal barangay captain Abay Bargamento are front runners. The only question is who among the Hugpong gods they are gravitating to.

Yes, Davao City Mayor Inday Sara is the acknowledged Hugpong leader at the local level these days. But resigned former Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, while not openly contesting the local party leadership with his sister, is known to have his own following. In fact it is the former Vice Mayor’s preferred barangay captain that was eventually appointed to replace the third district council slot vacated by former councilor Bernie who is elevated to the vice mayor’s post when former VM Pulong quit.

And why are we saying that both Nonoy Al-ag and Abay Bargamento are planning for a council run? It is because their presence in almost every major activity in the barangays of the third district has been very conspicuous.

The last time we saw the two potential aspirants was during the celebration of the Araw ng Talandang last July 31. The two were not only able to help themselves up in the stage, they were also seen moving around shaking hands of residents.

Of course we personally know the two personalities and we can be certain they are good councilor materials.
But their getting into the circle of Hugpong’s choice for council line-up in the third is a totally different story. There could be a lot of backstabbing and “poisonous” intrigues on the way to the vetting process.

For now every aspirant for a council seat would prefer to be on the political boat he or she thinks has the bigger chance of being in the winning eight.

Meanwhile, nine months into the next elections not a single name has come out as potential opposition candidate for mayor of Davao City. Our hunch is that any one from the group opposed to the current local government administration is doing a “wait-and-see” strategy. That is, he or she may be waiting for what position mayor Sara will finally run. There are loud talks Mayor Inday is considering a Senate run. Hence, the strongest candidate the local opposition can put up may have a better fighting chance.

But would such fighting chance be still there if former VM Pulong will be fielded by Hugpong for the mayorship? We still have our doubt because any Duterte family member will be hard to beat for as long as the former Davao City Mayor is the Malacanang tenant.

That is why we strongly believe that the battle in the coming May 2019 polls will still be fought in the arena for the Vice Mayor position and those of the councilors.

On the other hand, in the city’s congressional races, it appears that the possible contest will not be as hot as many are wont to expect. After all, what is existing in the political landscape in the city’s three districts is “sibling arrangements.”

In the first district, incumbent congressman Karlo Nograles who is in his third and last term may already have an agreement with his brother Koko Nograles who is a sitting congressman representing the Partylist PBA. Koko is likely to replace Karlo in the mainstream party system.

But there is big likelihood that a strong candidate may be put up by the local ruling party, unless the now pro-President Duterte Nograles group and Mayor Sara’s Hugpong have some kind of mutual understanding not to put up candidates against each other. That is, the Nograles group desists from putting up a candidate against the Hugpong mayoral bet, and Hugpong also commits not to put up one against the Nograles bet in the first district.

As to the second congressional district, incumbent Millene Garcia Albano who is also in her last term, will be handing her slot to brother Vincent who had also completed his three terms before Millene. And we have yet to hear of a credible opposition to possibly derail former congressman Vincent’s comeback bid.

But councilors Danny Dayanghirang and Jimmy Dureza, once they decide to throw their hats in the second district political arena cannot be totally ignored. They can pull surprises.

In the case of the third congressional district, we have it from no less than former congressman Isidro “Sid” Ungab himself that his brother incumbent Alberto Ungab will not be running for reelection. Instead, he will hand over his slot back to Sid. And that is a covenant that was arranged by the Ungab siblings prior to the 2016 elections, according to Sid himself.

In other words, it will be Sid Ungab again in the third, unless brother Abet will have a change of plan and forget all about the agreement.

But again, in politics there are a lot of possibilities. And one of them is when some influential persons are able to put their weight on the party leadership and shift its support to another person who suits their political caprices.

Posted in Opinion