EVEN as political watchers speculate on a possible collision between Mandaue City Mayor Luigi Quisumbing and Representative Jonas Cortes in the next local elections, they also ask what happened to the 2013 promise of Luigi, then a congressman, and Jonas, then the mayor, that the lone district for Mandaue would already be created before 2019.
To be precise, it was Luigi who made the public announcement: "I'm happy to announce that Mandaue will become a lone district before the 2019 elections." Luigi filed the bill but by July 2016, he was already at City Hall while Jonas was in Congress. "Jonas will carry the ball," Luigi said.
Many people saw it at the time as a team promise. Would the two answer to that promise separately, if not together?
What we know
Here's what we know so far about the possible breakup between the two 2013 allies:
* They made separate oath-taking ceremonies, one for 14 barangay captains allied with Jonas last Sunday; the other, for 13 barangay captains identified with Luigi last Monday;
* Each political bigwig was not invited to the other's oath-taking ceremony; apparently, each didn't want his activity to be a show of force but the result was one's suspicion of the other's motive;
* Neither one declared a break-up but the signs of a possible split are there: the massing of each camp's force and other unmentioned acts, which "puzzled" Luigi, since the barangay and SK elections cannot be ignored.
What we don't know
Here's what we don't know:
* Whether Luigi would stay as mayor or return to the House, which was said to be his preference before until the deal with Jonas was forged;
* Whether Jonas would like to return to City Hall, which has been talked about for months now but not confirmed by him personally;
* What could've caused the change of mind, if there is: Is Jonas sore at Luigi over policies and moves that hurt the former mayor's friends and constituents? Is Jonas expecting an attack on his own interests?
Too early, too late
While Luigi is saying it's too early to talk and do politics, filing of COCs (certificates of candidacy) for the May 13, 2018 elections is scheduled for October 1-5 this year.
That will be 97 days (from today, June 26) until October 1, first day of filing COCs, and 321 days until election day. Too early or too late.
No wonder people are inclined to believe Jonas has started preparing for May 2019 since May 2018 or even before that. While Luigi has been busy on his projects for Mandaue, Jonas may have been actively preparing for the possible battle.
Counting barangay chiefs
While Jonas's 14 is one barangay captain more than Luigi's 13, that may give a razor-thin advantage in the ABC elections but not, by itself, indicative of the strength of each camp on election day.
To check on strength of each camp, find out which has more barangay captains whose barangays have more voters and which are more effective in getting the vote in their respective turfs.
Many other factors influence the results of each election. But the bigger number (Jonas's 14), when compared to the smaller number (Luigi's 13) had its initial startling effect. People sat up, took notice and talked.
Tell us about it.