BIG QUESTION -- The biggest question in the political circles in Mabalcat City is if City Mayor Marino 'Boking ' Morales can still run for a fresh term. Of course his political opponents are saying that's he is ineligible, but his lawyers are arguing that he can. His followers, the like of Deng Pangilinan, chairman of the Mabalacat Water District and thousands followers are still in contention that Mayor Boking can, and will run and will win. That they say with strong conviction.
THE CONTENDERS -- Board Member Cris Garbo already made public in many occasions his running for mayor, and according to him 'come hell and high water nobody can stop me. Not even if my Pareng Boking will again throw his hat in the arena.' The other one is former Vice Mayor Noel Castro. He made an unsuccessful run the last time, but he will try his luck again this time. He told me so when I had a chance meeting with him recently.
LEGAL ISSUES -- The joke among Mabalacatenos is that they will have a 'permanent mayor' in Mayor Boking. He has been their town executive in the past 20 years, and by the looks of it, if he can jump over the legal impediments another possible nine years at the city hall.
Morales met the Capampangan Media Inc. members last week at the Holiday Inn in its regular Friday forum presided by Federico 'Dick' Pascual, Philippine Daily Star ace columnist. The mayor disclosed the legal legs he can lean on, and in all confidence he said he is allowed by law to run. Pascual who's from Mabalacat was extremely curious how Morales can go over the barnacles after the latter's third term is expiring in June 30 next year.
THE EXPLANATION -- I was in Macao last year for the Pacquiao-Algieri fight at the Venetian, and I bumped on Atty. Romy Macalintal in the comfort room while we were both relieving our kidneys. He is by the way Morales' hired election lawyer. I queried him if Morales can still run, and he said 50/50. That's the lawyer in Atty Mac.
I am no lawyer and I have a scant knowledge on the legal issues surrounding the case of Mayor Morales, but my understanding of 50/50 is that legal maneuvering can settle the score. Our justice system in the country is far from ideal. One flaw in the system, it is so protracted. Meaning, the delays can wear out litigants.
ASSUMPTIONS -- It is expected that once Morales will file his certificate of candidacy (COC), interested parties will lodge a case that will seek his disqualification. Since the filing of COCs will be October this year, so an ample time is given to those who will file the complaints.
But the time is not on the side of the complainants. It favors the defendant. This is the scenario I foresee. In case Morales will be disqualified, he can dribble it at the Comelec, that will reach up to an en banc. If the Comelec ruling disfavors him, he can seek shelter at the Supreme Court? Some lawyers have so many tricks in their bag. And maybe Morales, if he wins will be in his swivel chair at city hall and the ruling will be handed few months before the election of 2019. How about that?