Wenceslao: No Cebu politician in Senate

WHILE PDP-Laban’s Rodrigo Duterte winning the presidency is a downer for me, the possibility of Liberal Party’s (LP) Leni Robredo winning the vice presidential race is the “upper.” Robredo’s leadership quality and positive traits could balance off Duterte’s weaknesses as a public official. The vice president is but a spare, true,but it’s calming to know that we would have a reliable spare tire in Robredo.My wish is thus, and this is harsh, for Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to lose in the final tally.

Another saving grace is the result of the senatorial polls.With 95.9 percent of the election returns (ERs) already accounted for in the partial unofficial tally, it looks like the candidates that are in the top 12 are already assured of a win. Many of the probable winners are known for their adherence to the tenets of democracy. I am sure they would battle a Duterte dictatorship, if ever.

I will start with Akbayan’s Risa Hontiveros and the LP’s Leila de Lima. I also would have liked Makabayan’s Neri Colmenares to make the list, but two possible wins out of three is already good enough. The two women, I say, could end up being the most principled senators around.

Hontiveros is finally on the verge of winning in her third try. If so, she would be the first among the existing progressive groups to ever make it to that level. Her being in the Senate is therefore comforting for me. I am also glad that even if former justice secretary de Lima went against the pro-Duterte tide, she managed to hold on to the 12th spot. I am sure that, as a senator, she won’t be intimidated by a Duterte presidency.

Topping the list of reelectionist and former senators who are in the top 12 is Senate President Franklin Drilon (second). Following him are Vicente Sotto III (third), Panfilo Lacson (fourth), Richard Gordon (fifth), Miguel Zubiri (sixth), Francis Pangilinan (ninth) and Ralph Recto (11th). I feel they also could defend our democratic processes if these are attacked.

I say former Tesda chief Joel Villanueva placing first is a surprise, and so too millionaire’s son Sherwin Gatchalian making it to the top 12. I thought Villanueva is a breath of fresh air in the Senate until I heard reports of the maneuvering done by his father, Jesus is Lord’s Eddie Villanueva to ensure a win for his son. As for Gatchalian, he is proof that you can win an election without showing your face if you have money to spend.

Finally, we have my boxing idol, Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, the congressman from Sarangani province. Many people lambasted him for the anti-gay slur he issued and for his absences in Congress. But even if I admit there were many candidates more deserving of the position of senator, I will give Villanueva the benefit of the doubt.

I am sure, for example, that he can be better than the “silent” Sen. Lito Lapid. Besides, his boxing promoter, Bob Arum, wants Manny to stay retired so he can function well as senator. So there will be no more fights for Manny.

What can be considered as tragic of sorts for us Cebuanos is the failure of Sen. Sergio Osmeña III to make it to the top 12. This completes the demise of Cebu’s presence in national politics at a time when a Cebuano from Mindanao, Duterte, is president. What makes this more telling is that two other Cebuanos from Mindanao, Zubiri and Pacquiao, will be in the Senate.

I look at the political landscape in Cebu and feel that the “golden years” of Cebu politics is already gone for good. Which is sad.

(khanwens@gmail.com/ twitter: @khanwens)
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