Shifts in the political wind

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Friday, December 20, 2013


MY GOOD friend Ribomapil “Joeyboy” Holganza Jr. is again ending his stint with the Provincial Board (PB).

He was PB member when Emilio “Lito” Osmeña was governor, then returned as ex-officio member of the PB representing the Federation of the Association of Barangay Councils (FABC) under former governor Gwendolyn Garcia. With the election of the new set of barangay officials this year, he has been replaced by an administration party stalwart.

Joeyboy is a former activist, which means that he has been trained to analyze shifts in the political wind. He therefore chose not to run against Celestino “Tining” Martinez III, who won as chief in one of the barangays of Bogo City and who was gunning for the FABC presidency. Martinez will replace Joeyboy in the PB.

Since Liberal Party’s Hilario “Junjun” Davide III won the post of Cebu governor, change in the political landscape in the province has been swift. Garcia is focusing on his new job as a member of the House of Representatives representing Cebu’s third district and her One Cebu party hasn’t shown signs it would be active as opposition.

That has allowed Davide and the LP to consolidate their rule in Cebu practically unhampered.

***

The smile on the faces of the new officers of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) in Cebu City says it all. The new officials led by Tisa Barangay Captain Philip Zafra are allied with Team Rama. For the first time in years, the dominance of allies of the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) has been cut off.

For some time, barangay captains not allied with the BOPK in the city were either ostracized by the ABC officials or voluntarily steered clear of the organization. It is possible BOPK allies will return the favor now that Team Rama allies are at the helm organization. That’s how politics in the city turns.

Zafra will now be in the city council replacing Michael Ralota, a BOPK ally. That means Team Rama will now have five allies in the city council. That’s not the majority but it at least lessens the arrogance of the majority BOPK councilors. I just hope, though, that Zafra will make a good account of himself by “showing up” during the sessions.

***

One of the effects of the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (Pdaf) can already be felt this Christmas. Members of the House of Representatives used to play Santa Claus during the season, giving Christmas gifts to constituents and even some media people. Since the faucet has been closed, the flow of gifts has stopped.

I don’t think congressmen would use their personal money to compensate for what they lost when the Supreme Court declared the use of the Pdaf as unconstitutional. Doing so would drain their resources, which is really limited without the Pdaf.

I remember when I covered the Capitol beat when Vicente “Tingting” de la Serna was governor. Tingting sought to change the political culture by refusing to implement major infrastructure projects which he said is a source of corruption through the SOP or commission.

The result was that Tingting seemed to “vanish” during the Christmas season. He was not often seen at the governor’s office and our impression was that he was evading people asking him for gifts. That was perfectly understandable considering his style of governance.

I wasn’t surprised, therefore, that he ended up hesitating about running for another term, which I think was a factor in his losing in his reelection bid to Pablo Garcia, Gwen’s father. Being a politician apparently drained his personal resources.

He must have felt better off as a law practitioner since then because he never ran for public office again.

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 20, 2013.

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