BEHIND THE LINES: The name game PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 13:16



San Jose, CA. — Pardon my absence. The Christmas season was too hard to pass.

So what’s in store for 2015? A repeat of last year’s: killings, kidnappings, armed robberies, rape, all the sins defying the 10 commandments. Hopefully, God shall have mercy on us. And what will the honorable mayor say in her State-of-the-City Address when the city council convenes for its first session this year? A lot. But mind you, she will be outdone by the congressman from the 1st district. Zeroing in on the Bangsamoro Basic Law alone will take an hour. How about the congresswoman from the 2nd district? She will talk about her plans to get the Cabatangan properties.

So what’s the game of names? Lobregat. Climaco-Salazar. Fabian. Agan. Dalipe. Jimenez. Dela Cruz. Nuno. Ituralde. Natividad. Ko. Cabato. Velasco. Guingona. These surnames are sure to surface once the campaign period for the 2016 elections starts. Yes, they’ll grapple to make the headlines and sub-headlines (preferably on Mondays). They will, as in past campaigns, dip down in their pockets, strum their wallets and even empty their bank books as people start lining up their doorsteps from 6 am to 7 pm for budget meals and a few hundred pesos. Alas, they’ll swear, as they have always, that they’ll vote for them. These days, people don’t vote on issues but personalities — especially the big campaign donors who have a difficult time distinguishing between who the candidates are and what they stand for.

The candidates need not spend for name recall. They’re known to the electorate. They’ll spend for radio and television airtime of which the moneyed candidates already contracted this early. The opposition, except for their names, have no money cache nor sympathetic donors — only their abominable tongues and awful scriptwriters who delve on hateful lines to picture the administration bets as Beelzebub disguised as celestial beings. That sort-of black propaganda doesn’t seem to work at all, for gone is Cesar C. Climaco. He was the only one who could call you a crook and get away with it with 80 percent of the votes.

Still, it’s a game of names — the most prominent are Lobregat and Climaco-Salazar (in that order). But what’s in a name...? Everything, William, everything. Claiming that he wasn’t wearing his mother’s skirt, Celso Lobregat, termed as a “non-entity” by Mayor Vit Agan’s mouthpieces, overwhelmingly won against a nameful Agan the first time he ran for congress in 1998. But unlike Celso, Agan did not become “The Man” because of his name but because of the ever-fragmented Zamboanguenos who fielded five of their kind against the Visayan juggernaut. Agan wasn’t CCC’s choice for successor but Atty. Susan de los Reyes, the Numero Uno in the 1980 city council election — the first ever democratic local elections during the Martial Law era.

Manuel A. Dalipe had (and still does) the name and charisma, having placed seventh in the Philippine Military Academy’s Class of 1967. The great Erbie Fabian had nothing but a painter’s and a school teacher’s name, but made a name for himself and his family. He wasn’t born with a silver spoon. The rest is reverberating history. Aman Nuno seemed formidable as the “pharaoh” of the barangays until his defeat to a Perez, also a titan of Putik.

Gerky Valesco. His name has been thrown into the atmosphere like a blinding dust as the best candidate for vice mayor, Climaco-Salazar camp. He, too, was a journalist and an artist before joining politics. So is Benjamin “Nonong” Guingona. He might be convinced (or is he already) to run for vice mayor (Lobregat faction). Then, we have Roberto W.S. Ko, two-time vice mayor and one-time appointed city councilor. I don’t think he’s making a comeback, but he can act as the spokesman for the opposition with his vibrant and forceful voice, sensible issues and pragmatic ideas.

Finally, Duterte for president? Atty. Fred Jimenez could be equally tenacious. And, as Mrs. Maria Clara L. Lobregat would say: “Mira quita.”