Seares: Capitol high-rise project, Kawit resorts deal await poll results

News Sense

IT’S not too early to talk about what would happen if candidate A would lose to candidate B, say Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña to his rival Vice Mayor Edgar Labella or Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale to would-be returnee Rep. Gwen Garcia. Or vice versa.

And it’s not unimaginable since one or the other would be the result of the event scheduled 24 days from today (Tuesday, April 16, using the exclude-the-first, include-the- last method of keeping count). The immutable law of cause and effect: We hold an election. Some win, others lose. Only one person for each seat of public office will be proclaimed winner and assume the coveted position.

Not a “when”

And the result is an “if,” not a “when,” unless the candidate has no competition, the seat is not contested. Or one has the control of events because he (1) rigs the election or (2) can have his rival killed.

Even if the opposing bet is token or the match is utterly lopsided, there’s still the tiny chance of an upset, as what happened in the Talisay City mayor’s race in 2013 when a David slew a Goliath.

The matter of poll rigging is perpetually debated on. Cebu’s Serge Osmeña made the most recent lament (last week) about his loss in the 2016 Senate race. Killing the rival is no longer unthinkable; it is fairly doable these days, given the spate of killings in Cebu that have gone unsolved and unpunished.

Managing the causes

When a candidate protests that it’s a “when” and not an “if,” it’s mostly bravado and optimism. Third-district congressional candidate Toledo City Mayor Sonny Osmeña recently corrected Nanding Celeste on air when the broadcaster/propagandist Celeste prefaced a question, “If you win...” No, no, when I win, said Sonny.

Putting on a confident and brave front is part of the efforts of each combatant to “manage” the factors that produce the result. It whips up support for the candidate, promotes team spirit.

Various tasks

Among various other tasks: Enlisting the help of those who can gather votes, from the purok or sitio leader, who can persuade a few residents, to hacenderos. factory owners, pier arrastre managers, and barangay captains who can herd to the polls hundreds of voters. Promising money or influence for promised votes. Influencing the silent voters who’re undecided or haven’t displayed their political preference. Pumping hands wherever they meet people, voters or not. Getting contributions in cash or other logistics such as propaganda materials or transport facilities. Organizing watchers and lawyers groups to defend the vote.

And many other tasks designed to influence the election result and protect it against other factors that could snatch the victory one has aimed and worked for. It is an “if,” a big “if.”

Big-ticket projects

So indulge in the “what if” game in the mind: What if, say, Gwen would win and return to Capitol? What would happen to the 20-story Cebu Provincial Technology Resource Center? Would the new leadership be bound by the P1.5 billion contract and the bank loan that went with it?

And so on, go ahead and ask in Cebu City: What would happen to the P18 billion Kawit integrated resorts and casino project if, say, the City Council, if not the mayor’s office, would be controlled by the opposition?

A lot of “ifs” on politics and business in Cebu, on many people’s lives in fact, which would only start to settle down in the grand scheme of things after the proclamation of winners on May 13.


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