Sula: Oca's dilemma


AS THE window slowly narrows, former congressman and mayor Oscar Rodriguez contemplates the future of his political life. His question is unlike that of Shakespeare's character, Hamlet.

In his soliloquy, Hamlet ponders on a classic question: to be or not to be. In Oca's case, the equivalent question is: to run or not to run. Hamlet is contemplating suicide. Oca probably thinks about political oblivion, not obliteration.

I guess both weigh heavily in the mind of the fictional and real protagonists. The decision does become heavier for any moral man like Oca, not perfect, but moral, if political.

On the one hand, there is long, avowed, inviolable friendship. Solomon said that there is friend who sticks more than a brother. Politics though is no respecter of relationship. The commonality among Oca, Edwin Santiago and, perhaps, even the audacious and intrepid Vilma Caluag, is friendship. The degree is relative. This is a personal and a moral issue.

On the other, there is the endless cajoling and nettling call of friends and supporters to take the city hall because it is emerging to be a different house now. This is civic, not personal, just as moral.

If he chooses the "to be" part of the question, which is to not run, then he will opt for a nobler mind. Meaning, as Hamlet puts it, to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. In Oca's case, that may mean giving up politics altogether and be confined, to use a cliché, to the dustbin of history. Six years of being out of politics is a long time, especially in this time and age of speed where it's faster to be irrelevant.

Of course, no regrets. His name is synonymous to good governance, or to being a vocal exponent of I, anyhow. That shows in the many awards earned by the city LGU under his and his successor's watch, more on the latter. Referring to EdSa, the reversed eponym of a moniker that is.

If he chooses the "not to be", or to run, that is, then he must be ready "to take arms against a sea of troubles." That includes opposing EdSa. Forget about Vilma Caluag in the equation, in the meantime. She's not on equal footing. A word of caution though: she could be the Delilah to Samson, which is the middle name of Oca.

The sea of troubles is potentially tragic. EdSa is not just a friend. He professes to be a loyal one, and based on his last press, who respects Oca that much he is almost unwilling to oppose him. EdSa is Oca's disciple, in many sense of the word, may be not verbatim ad literatim. How do you handle a friend and disciple on the other side of the fence?

Remember politics is contact sports, combative, adverse and, in most cases, negative. One must be ready to beat the other to the ground to win. It's not unlike UFC matches. You're lucky if you end up with bloodied nose only.

I'm not sure if either or both are willing to throw mud at each other. If the answer is yes, as sure as the sun rises in the east and sinks in the west, it will be mutual destruction. Heavens forbid, cans of worms, real or invented, will be par for the course.

In other words, if Oca decides to run, get ready to rumble.


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