Lapid's Choice

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Sunday, August 10, 2014


POLITICIANS in difficult situations, like patients with terminal cases, are advised to seek a "second opinion."

This is how Senator Lapid finds himself today - whether to run for Angeles city mayor or contest the first congressional district.

It was only recently when Lapid was lionized by some village officials led by former city mayor and ex-congressman Lazatin. They endorsed his candidacy for mayor, an act considered by Lapid's relatives as "throwing him to the lion's den."

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True enough, the Office of the Ombudsman has suddenly revived or initiated a graft case against the senator. He was charged of anomalous overprice in his purchase of fertilizers when he was governor.

There is no proof that strategists in the "lion's den" which may look like the Pamintuan camp had a hand in the filing of the graft case. What I know is that deadly land mines have been planted to forestall Lapid's easy march to the City Hall.

The movie action star-turned politician had successfully evaded litigation over a string of graft cases in the past. He had been acquitted in most of the previous suits before this fertilizer scam was activated. How he would skirt about or go around this land mine will define his fabled stunting ability and jumpstart his way to Angeles politics.

Let us wait and see how the senator's supporters can mitigate the fallout from the graft case or prevent such similar suits that will require emergency damage control.

What is certain is that the brilliant and creative minds in the lion's den cannot take Lapid's threat to the ruling administration sitting down. These people have mastered the art of "calibrated preemptive strike."

The senator does not need to be a rocket scientist to learn from recent history. The man called EdPam had vanquished Blueboy Nepomuceno, the flag carrier of the famed Nepo clan, in the mayoralty. The clan has a vast resource of loyal and staunch supporters in the city. Then EdPam conquered Tarzan Lazatin, considered Pampanga's most astute and erstwhile political kingpin.

The best prize fighters of the two dynastic clans had underestimated the fighting ability and resilience of the former underground worker who had been arrested and tested in military confinement during the martial law regime.

EdPam had also beaten former city mayor Abad Santos, the only politician who had dealt a simultaneous death blow to the fathers of Tarzan and Blueboy at the height of their famed leadership in local politics.

But Senator Lapid does not consider history as his guiding light. He believes he has a destiny based on great luck and captivating charm. I wonder how his persona as the heroic Leon Guerrero riding on a white horse can fare in Angeles City where late model SUVs and eight-cylinder race cars compete for exiguous road space. Consider the land mines, too, along the way.

*****

Board Member Michael Tapang, the provincial media's darling for Porac mayor, was the honored guest at the maiden Talk Widus" held at Widus five-star hotel, one of the three top hotel-casinos at Clark, the two being Fontana and Holiday Inn. The 8:30 a.m. Wednesday "kapihan", a special event by the Pampanga Press Club, with the Society of Pampanga Columnists, is hosted by Widus led by Gen. Manager Alfred M. Reyes, a renowned hotelier and management guru in the hospitality industry. The hotel is undergoing massive expansion work and added facilities with world class standards.

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

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