THE billboard at the intersection of Mamay Road and Carlos P. Garcia Highway (Diversion highway) cropped up a day after the automated result of the local elections was known: "Pikat mo Pete."

It did not mean anything to me when I saw it as I drove to the right towards the Davao International Airport. While it caught my attention, I thought that it was just part of an advertising serial presentation that would end up with an eye drop that promises to relieve a sore eye.

Click here for Election 2010 updates

But the innocuous sign obviously caught the attention of radio commentators ahead of me. When I tuned in on dxRD "Baruganan", Nerio Guimte and Vic David (who looked like Manny Cabrera) were having fun over the "pikat" billboard. As they were ribbing each other on air, it dawned on me that the drift of their commentary is a priest who had been using the pulpit to campaign for Speaker Boy Nograles who was running against Inday Sara Duterte in the Davao City's mayoral race.

The name of Fr. Pete Lamata grabbed the front pages about two years ago when he refused to receive the "pahalipay" (Christmas goodies) for the poor parishioners in Buhangin, a program which the Duterte administration traditionally does. The snub and the rejection of the gifts would have been consigned into one of those quirks in the daily activities of the city government except that it signals the beginning of a politically slanted slur on the vice mayor who was unkindly dubbed "Inday Badiday."

That slur soon branched out into steamy controversies divulging the civil status of the priest. You cannot fault Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for his knee jerk reaction, but even the mayor cannot stop the unsolicited tips that revealed the marital ties of the man in the frock. From what I gathered later on, the mayor clamped up when, Nanay Soling, advised him to stop. The mayor did and kept his promise to his mother even at the height of the election fever.

But Father Pete thought this is a free country, he has not stopped articulating his preference after a brief silence. Neither Inday Sara nor Mayor Duterte ever evoked the name of Paring Pete anymore, probably comforted by the possibility that the Holy See will eventually look after the parish priest like it did with some priests and bishops in the US and Europe who do not conform to the discipline of celibacy.

Even the naughty radio commentators eventually consigned Pete as one of those activist clerics and left him with his constitutional right to campaign for his candidate and his celibate mores.

But obviously some quarters do not want to just let Pete's failed politicking pass. This time the billboard elicits a message of the same import as "Inday badiday."

On her inaugural speech, the Inday did not rebuke anyone including those who called her "badiday". The youngest (32) mayor Davao City ever had still prefers to be called Inday maybe humbled by the overwhelming support (her lead over the candidate of Pete being 228,000 votes) that the parishioners all over Davao City gave her.

I do not know whether Pete is joining attempt of the Nograles Team to question the results of the automated elections. I was told that the team wants a recount. I was also told by some wags that Duterte's Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod wants to join the Team Nograles in pursuing that move for a recount. Somebody intimated to me that if the Nograles team is cocksure there were irregularities done in the last computerized polls they too want to know how this was done and who did it.

Mayor Inday and VM Rody Duterte can actually give away 100k votes and still win but Karlo Nograles, one of the three survivors in Team Nograles, will actually be teetering on the edge with only 11k over Mabel. For whatever this protest may amount to, I too surely want to know whether the automation really works.

In the meantime, let us brace for a new management style at City Hall. Some of the doyens have been changed and younger blood who are more dynamic and creative are on the helm of the city bureaucracy. Inday Sara may not have mustered the expletives of her father, but she can be as tough if not tougher than him. We have actually an excellent team here. The father takes care of the legislative department which I, personally, am confident will have less of oratory and showmanship. The VM has also vowed to continue with his role as the guardian of peace and order.

Mayor Inday on the other hand had very clear vision of where she is going to steer Davao City into. She knows the tourism and business potentials of the city and is aware that this southern capital has been drawing billions of investments from domestic and foreign firms. The partnership is perfect giving confidence to the lady mayor to say that no more free rations of rice will be given to the poor. No more mendicants in the streets of Davao. They will be taught how to fish, so to speak, and then after that each to his or her own industry and diligence.

I too look forward for the city to gather all the street children, clothe them and send them back to school where they will learn but also absorb the basic lesson of discipline. With this, we need not worry about the evil spawned by the Kiko Pangilinan law.

Inday, whom Pete called Badiday, has the guts of her father and a clear vision of her own and more importantly, she knows where and how to do it.