Going overboard-A A +A
Monday, February 25, 2013
HE DID not do justice to his party-mates. It would have been forgivable were he not the Chairperson of the Liberal Party of the Philippines, but Senator Franklin Drilon did it not only once, not twice but three times.
After the mass wedding at the New Government Center Saturday last week, the affair turned political when the senator raised the hands of Mayor Leonardia, Vice-Mayor Thaddy Sayson and former councilor Greg Gasataya in a show of political support. Mr. Drilon could do it with Mayor Bing who was the coalition congressional candidate of the Liberal Party, the Nationalista Party and the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
But his announcement Saturday night at the Public Plaza that the coalition now included the candidacies of VM Thaddy Sayson and Councilor Greg Gasataya, after he had raised the hands of the three for the second time, caught the local LPs by surprise.
Months earlier, it had been announced by LP Provincial Head Cong. Albee Benitez that the LP/NP/NPC Coalition covered the positions of governor, congressman and senator only. Did Senator Drilon decide to include the lower positions of mayor and vice-mayor on his own? Did he do that as the Chairman of the LP? That kind of set-up does not seem to be standard in all the provinces, cities and municipalities where the Coalition operates and where a situation similar to the political tug-o-war in Bacolod exists.
But not only that: during the Coalition Rally at the Plaza, Mr. Drilon raised the hands of a non-LP candidate for councilor. He followed this up by declaring a “free-zone” insofar as the positions of councilor in Bacolod City were concerned.
As the designated Chairman of the Liberal Party, Senator Drilon’s primary responsibility is to strengthen the Party, from its lowest structure at the purok level all the way up to the highest elective position in the government. He apparently was not doing that Saturday night.
It was probably a spur-of-the-moment thing when he raised the hands of the councilor candidate who was the master of ceremonies and who was therefore conveniently there. But that man did not belong to the Coalition and Mr. Drilon failed to raise the hand of a single LP councilor candidate at the Pavillon because he was not around. The message projected by that action was disturbing, to say the least.
These actions of the Senator where he seems to overly-favor the Coalition over that of the local party-mates raises troubling questions that must be asked now, before they become complicated issues later:
a.- in the light of the coalition, who will handle the campaign for the senators – only the Coalition? It appears so at present because the local LP members are not consulted about it;
b.- on election day, who gets to hold the election returns for the Liberal Party as the Dominant Political Party, the Coalition? The Election Code mandates that the return should be with the dominant political party;
c.- who appoints and supervises the watchers for the Party, the Coalition? But the Coalition in Bacolod has candidates who are in direct competition with Party candidates.
Senator Drilon may have the interest of the President in mind when he appears to favor the Coalition over his local party-mates. But this time around, he seems to be tipping and already going over-board, way beyond his call of duty.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 25, 2013.