Editorial: ‘Reasonable opposition’-A A +A
Monday, September 3, 2012
CONSIDER it as not as earth-shaking as the 7.6 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Eastern Samar last Saturday. After all, the Liberal Party (LP) taking control of the Provincial Board (PB) is not a sudden move but a gradual one.
It is nothing but an offshoot to the gradual shift in allegiance of a good number of PB members in the past months, starting with the decision of Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale to accept the offer to team up with LP gubernatorial bet Hilario Davide III for the May 2013 elections.
Even Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia must have expected this development to unfurl because since Magpale’s transfer, the hold of her One Cebu party over the PB had gradually weakened. Things bottomed out for the said party when PB Members Wilfredo Caminero and Peter Calderon formally joined the LP over the weekend.
Like any leadership takeover, a reorganization of the chairmanships of the various committees is in order, although the new PB majority postponed its implementation yesterday, preferring to deal first with the position of majority and minority floor leaders.
Magpale described the new majority as “reasonable opposition,” a variation of the term “fiscalizer” and not really a synonym for the word “obstructionist.” It is interesting to find out how that will be translated in the new majority’s actual dealing with the governor’s acts.
The change in the complexion of the PB did not come about after an election; rather it is a by-product of partisan positioning going into the elections next year. The takeover agenda, therefore, is obviously to use the control of the PB to gain political advantage.
Critics of the Garcia administration naturally welcome this development because they feel that the previous setup wherein both the governor and majority of PB members are with One Cebu did not serve the ends of transparency and democracy.
They felt that transactions like the controversial purchase of the Balili property in Naga town would have been exposed and nipped earlier had a “reasonable opposition” existed in the PB.
That is the positive side. But the new setup could also conjure a situation similar to what is now prevailing in Cebu City between Mayor Michael Rama and the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK)-dominated city council. The possibility of the new majority turning out to be more of a “partisan” rather than a “reasonable” opposition is not remote.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 04, 2012.