Rough Cuts: Waiting for October

It is barely a month to the dates within which candidates for local and national positions for the 2019 mid-tern elections will have to file their certificate of candidacy.

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has set the date for filing on Oct. 1 to 5, 2018.

This early (or should it be this late?) those who are contemplating to run for an elective position are already searching the deepest recesses of their minds whether to proceed or cancel their ambition. And those who are aiming to run but are unlikely to be taken as official candidates of the well-established political parties, especially the administration, should be the ones to do the soul searching.

In other words, affiliation with a strong and well-endowed party is of primordial consideration in determining one’s chances of winning. Personal resources could only be secondary even as these are acknowledged as one enticing factor to be considered in getting accommodated to the so-called official slate of the more established political groups.

We have no doubt that in Davao City’s political arena the situation for now appears to be a “wait-and-see” scenario. Mayor Inday Sara’s politics-related pronouncements for the 2019 polls are keenly monitored. Her every step as well as body language, is being analyzed by both local and national political observers.

There are a number of people who believe that the lady mayor of Davao City is aiming a run for the Senate. This after Mayor Sara organized first with fellow Davao Region local government chief executives, then later with other governors and mayors of other Mindanao provinces and cities, the “Hugpong sa Pagbabago,” supposedly a local political party only.

The sudden gravitation of political luminaries outside of Mindanao to Sara’s home-grown Hugpong sa Pagbabago all the more heightened suspicion that the Davao City mayor would leave her local post and seek for a national elective office. And not a few discounted the possibility of her running for the Senate.

Personally, we agree with the observation of many. That is, that Mayor Inday could be aiming for a national position; that she is even looking forward to the highest office of the land that is now occupied by her father President Rodrigo Duterte. But of course, we believe that that is not for the immediate.

Our take is that what Mayor Inday is doing now is laying the foundation so that when she runs for a national elective position she is well-grounded on a base that is solid as rock that can withstand the rigors of a national campaign.

So, when Mayor Inday’s Hugpong-endorsed candidates both in the local and national positions will have gotten a good number of winners, then that could be good signs for the Davao City mayor to pursue her political plan at the national level.

In short, Mayor Inday will not be running for the Senate come May, 2019 mid-term elections. She will run for reelection as Davao City mayor.

Who will she be in tandem with? Here comes the more interesting part of the local political contest.

We all know that right now Vice Mayor Dr. Bernie Al-ag is not hiding his own ambition to continue serving the city in his current capacity. And he can only do that by running for the position – and winning – that he is currently holding brought about by the resignation of then Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte. And VM Bernie knows getting elected to the post is much more fulfilling compared to having it courtesy of an appointment. So VM Al-ag may have to find ways to have his Hugpong sa TawongLungsod, or the lady Mayor’s own Hugpong, recognize his capability and winnability.

Of course VM Al-ag’s way to the Hugpong’s benediction is known to be strewn with stumbling blocks.
We can already see this through the many tarpaulin notices posted in various strategic locations all over the city. These tarps have the inscription, “January in May.” Note that in this three-worded phrase the first and the third words which are joined by the preposition “in” are names of months. The former seemingly wants Davaoenos to remember a name. The latter reminds of the month when the mid-term elections will be held. So, how do you read the message imparted on those tarpaulin signage?

Our take is that January refers to the wife of resigned VM Pulong. January who is currently the Barangay Captain of Catalunan Grande could be groomed for the Vice Mayor position and by family affiliation she could be a formidable rival to VM Al-ag for the blessing of the Hugpong party.
Meanwhile, if Mayor Inday would be running for reelection who is her likely opponent? Out answer is that, it all depends on whether the Duterte and the Nograles (former House Speaker Boy Nograles) political detente will still hold with the clearly known plans from both sides.

Remember that some three weeks ago former VM Pulong expressed his availability to be back in the political harness. And he did not categorically deny that he is eyeing for the congressional seat in the city’s first district.

Then, late last week also, Mayor Inday who attended a meeting of local executives in Mandaue City, Cebu, openly endorsed Davao City’s first district last termer Rep. KarloNograles for senator. So, that would leave the first district with Karlo’s brother PBA Partylist congressman Jericho Nograles as the potential candidate to be fielded by the Nograles group. And may be, in the evaluation of Hugpong’s political strategists, Jericho is the beatable candidate. So the Hugpong leaders may be thinking that former VM Pulong may not have a rough sailing if he faces a candidate like Karlo.

But then, that would be the end of the Duterte-Nograles political detente, a “live and let live” kind of political co-existence.

Given this likely scenario will the Nograles side just take it sitting down? Will it not do the rub on the Duterte end?

This certainly is worth watching and discussing over cups of coffee or even bottles of beer.

Posted in Opinion