PJ and Junjun-A A +A
Sunday, October 14, 2012
LIBERAL Party’s Junjun Davide gained the political momentum and the perception of enjoying the upper hand when Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale left One Cebu and 5th district leader Nito Durano took his oath before President Noynoy Aquino months ago. But much changed after the filing of the certificates of candidacy early this month. Pablo John “PJ” Garcia did not only stop the LP momentum with maneuvers of his own. It seems Davide also committed mistakes that whittled away from his camp several LP originals while at the same time preventing One Cebu mayors from jumping to his side.
Crucial, I think, was Junjun’s announcement that LP candidates would need to source out their own campaign funds. Mayors definitely need projects and additional campaign funds that One Cebu is willing to give. It seems Junjun also failed to deliver projects from the opportunity opened by the late Jesse Robredo.
So far, even Rep. Tom Osmeña’s P400-million aid to first district projects has not been able to convince mayors to abandon PJ and go for Junjun.
While writing this piece at home in Talisay City, I can hear the program marking the fiesta bisperas that sounded like a One Cebu rally. I recognized the voices of Sam Costanilla, Rep. Eddie Gullas and that theme song that signals the arrival of Gov. Gwen Garcia.
There are friends who say not putting up weak LP candidates against incumbents is part of Junjun’s strategy. He will rely on P-Noy personally campaigning here in Cebu that may include some sort of accommodation with the unchallenged mayors. Still, I think this won’t work without an adequate campaign kitty on the eve of the elections.
Nevertheless, we have seven months to observe the coming political twists and turns.
Had talks that Boy and Paz Radaza would clash for Lapu-Lapu City Hall’s top post turned out to be true, it would have made the electoral contest interesting. Efrain Pelaez did not stand a chance last 2010. Samot nga nibalik na ang grupo ni Ahong Chan sa mga Radaza.
Getting the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) to pay taxes seems to be more of a challenge for Mayor Paz. I understand that the money would go to the construction of classrooms. Despite the good cause, however, the mayor has to deal with the political powers that be at MCIAA.
In 2010, the surveys drastically climbed in favor of Tommy when he announced the appropriation of some P600 million in projects for Cebu City’s south district. I could remember that the projects included fund assistance for senior citizens and the distribution of scholarship certificates for 2009-2010 high school and ALS graduates. This happened at a time when Atan Guardo, who started spending right after the 2007 elections, began scraping for extra funds.
Today, I am curious how south district voters see Tom’s appropriation of P400 million to help Junjun Davide in Eddiegul’s turf. Within the next few weeks, I expect skirmishes at the Cebu City Council over Mayor Mike Rama’s P13-billion budget proposal. Also, expect pro-Team Rama councilors to vigorously question the release of scholarship funds for congressman wannabe Bebot Abellanosa.
Will BOPK councilors succeed again in drastically slashing Cebu City Hall’s budget in 2013 like this year? Let’s watch closely.
Despite the highly-urbanized nature of Cebu City with a large middle class, the one who delivers, especially fund assistance projects, gains the support of majority of the voters. Apparently both Tommy and Mike know this. Being the main beneficiary of the scholarship program, it is also understandable that Councilor Abellanosa tops local surveys. He does not need to engage former Usec Totol Batuhan in debates and other forums.
Bebot only needs to continue his daily handshaking activities, singing during sorties, and sponsoring bingo games. How will this situation impact on Batuhan’s new politics advocacy? They’re now saying Bebot has peaked while Totol’s numbers has begun to go up. All I can say is: the next seven months in the district will be a battle between old and new politics.
I can’t describe the battle at the north district as one between old and new politics.
On one hand, daughter Cutie gave way to her dad Raul del Mar. The wily Raul’s main challenger is the well-known showbiz personality Annabelle Rama.
Can Annabelle’s star power overcome Raul’s machinery in the north? Star power alone, in my view, is not enough. Team Rama needs to build a grassroots organization for their congressional candidate.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 15, 2012.