WHEN a different leader takes over, one can usually expect something new, a new mode of governance perhaps, a new program, or a new vision. But with the take over of City Hall by a recycled mayor and erstwhile vice mayor, what are the chances that something new is in the offing?

Unless a miracle has happened, the next three years will give this city more of the same. There’ll be more of traditional politics, more of imperious governance, more of autocratic decisions, more manipulation of the community, and more of dysfunctional democracy. And at the City Council, there’ll be more sycophancy, bootlicking, and kowtowing to the Boss Man. Plus, per habitual practice, no one will bother with reports to the people!

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The question is, will the people stand for One-Man Rule? And will it remain unchallenged?

Consider the City Council: Its composition was determined by only one man û the Boss Man. It was supposed to be a party slate; but the so-called party didn’t even hold a convention to screen and choose its lineup. No formalities, no nomination process.

The decision on who was to run for vice mayor and kagawad was made solely by the Boss Man. He decided it at the last minute and without prior consultation, which made some of his gang unhappy. If you’re just a gang member, who would dare to challenge the Boss Man? But who would be happy with One-Man Rule?

Of course, the sectors favored by One-Man rule are not likely to challenge or defy the hand that feeds them. They never got a better deal than under One-Man rule. The squatters who got Piso-Piso land grants got to build ramshackle dwellings in City Hall-provided relocation sites. They’ll certainly be happy with more of the same.

The next wave of squatters will be even luckier. It’ll cost them only half-a-peso (next to nothing!) for land to build on, as promised in the campaign. Of course, they’ll be happy!

There are those who wallow in patronage and political favors -- bridge and road builders, BOT contractors, gambling syndicates. They too will be happy with more of the same. Why change, let alone challenge, a win-win arrangement for them and for City Hall?

Now count all of these happy people and compare the total with the rest who are unhappy. Chances are the unhappy ones will be in the minority. That is to say, their voices will count for nothing, unless, of course, they dare to challenge an autocracy disguised as democracy! What do you think? Email:valdehuesa@gmail.com