Balay and Samar

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Sunday, August 10, 2014


MOST look at the Aquino administration as one firmly under the control of the Liberal Party (LP). LP President Mar Roxas heads the interior and local government department. LP leader Butch Abad controls budget releases at the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). The former Hyatt 10 secretaries threw their support behind the LP. The majorities at the Senate and Lower House are firmly under the watchful eyes of Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

But the Aquino administration had long been divided even before the 2010 election between two factions. One faction is identified with the LP and LP boss Mar Roxas. This was the “Noy-Mar” faction. They had been referred to as Balay because the center of operations was at the Roxas house in Cubao.

The other faction was identified with those who campaigned for “Noy-Bi.” They split the Noynoy vote adding a huge chunk to what Erap Estrada gathered for his running-mate Jojo Binay. This faction had been called Samar, referring to the Noynoy campaign communications office on Samar St., Quezon City. According to the grapevine, the Aquino sisters threw their support for the Samar candidate.

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These factions continued playing their behind-the-scene games. Sometimes, a game leaks or consciously involves media like Vice President Binay’s revelation of supposed Aquino plans to adopt him.

At first I thought it was part of a purely Binay gambit for him to continue wielding his bases of support within both the opposition and the pro-Aquino faction. Note that though his survey rating is still high, the figures are also going down. Then P-Noy’s sisters openly came out in Binay’s favor.

Hmmm. How is the Balay faction taking this? Is this a factor in Mar’s talk about extending P-Noy’s term? Will Manila Mayor Erap Estrada take this development sitting down?

I am also asking another question. Could the Aquino administration continue with the factional games going out of hand as 2016 approaches?

***

An interesting read into the factional games posted by journalist-blogger Ellen Tordesillas is giving us an idea how the recent Supreme Court decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) heated up internal conflict. P-Noy’s sisters reportedly wanted Abad out for being the brains of DAP. However, P-Noy and Hyatt 10 personalities now in his Cabinet have sided with the beleaguered budget secretary.

***

As this is developing, I expect the nation’s attention will shift to Cebu as Aug. 23 approaches. Key players in the People’s Initiative to Abolish Pork will be arriving. Aside from leaders of the pro-impeachment Makabayan bloc, other personalities who have not taken a pro- or anti-impeachment position are also converging in Cebu.
The momentum for people’s initiative has quickened. During the last Cebu coalition meeting, I gathered that retired chief justice Puno will play a major part of the day’s program. Some 50 nuns from Mindanao belonging to the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) along with some bishops confirmed their attendance. Meanwhile, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma met representatives of Metro Cebu schools.

***

Naga City residents I recently met expressed optimism that two new power plants will be built soon after Psalm or the Power Sector Assets and Liability Management awarded the Naga Power Complex to SPC Power Corp. The residents had rallied more than a month ago demanding for a new plant. They were under the wrong impression that the power company only planned to rehabilitate the old plants there.

They also called my attention to erroneous reports in Manila broadsheets about alleged power crisis in Cebu because the Naga plants had not been operating since 2012. Asa bay crisis?

Meanwhile, they expressed agreement with Mayor Val Chiong who favors cutting down the sick acacia trees at the Cebu South Road to ensure the safety of commuters.

***

After Capitol fell on its face during the recent Black Pearl controversy, a report on an age ceiling of 40 years old for provincial security guards amused me. What’s wrong with guards who are over 40? Mas kusog mohagok?

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Congratulations Eva Psychee Patalingjug for winning the Mutya ng Pilipinas title. Di mauwahi ang Cebuana basta pagwapahay ug pag-braytay.

(Follow @anol_cebu in Twitter)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 11, 2014.

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