BEHIND THE LINES: No contest? PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 21 March 2015 11:28



San Jose, CA. — I’d be seeing my primary doctor in Los Angeles soon. She is a member of the Associated Hispanic Physicians of Southern California. She will direct me to a cardiologist who’s going to peep into my congested heart and see if I’d need a flush. At the same time, I’d be visiting a good friend, Titong San Juan, who loves face-booking, especially looking at frames and videos of Manny Dalipe’s (his classmate in high school) high-breed roosters and what’s on in the National Basketball Association in relation to the drowning Los Angeles Lakers (this season, at least), Magic Johnson’s LA Dodgers and the NCAA March Madness that starts today. He sent me an email saying that a political observer where he lives believes that a Lobregat-(Climaco)Salazar encuentro ain’t gonna happen in 2016.

Investigating, I found out that this political analyst who hasn’t been home (Zamboanga) for 30 years and who likens himself to a statistician and historian loves talking politics. A Lobregat-(Climaco)Salazar battle of the titans not happening next year for the crown jewel of Zamboanga? That’s what most sports pundits said about the Mayweather-Pacquiao golpe-golpe. They’re drinking alphabet soup by now.

But I’m inclined to believe his hypothesize considering that he called the outcome of the local election in 2013 correctly and the New England Patriots beating the favored-to-repeat Seattle Seahawks in the superbowl. Don’t “take things always by their smooth handle,” as Thomas Jefferson would advise, because politics is a rough game that only fools play. Let me explain.

Congressman Celso, the leader of the Lobregat Empire, has the machinery, the money, the rural votes and most of the big campaign donors on his side. Since the 1992 presidential election, Mr. Lobregat called the shots in the campaigns, directing traffic, so to speak, and feeding and paying the poster brigade headed by Junie Orendain (now, do you still wonder how he got to be appointed city administrator in 1998?). Unlike Samson’s weak head, he will not lay his on a woman’s lap and wake up overpowered by her and her loyal guards.

That’s why he can’t be defeated. He has a hard heart, which is “worse than a bloody hand,” as Persy Bysshe Shelley rhymestered. He fired most of his mother’s executive assistants and political appointees because he wanted fresh minds and faces — people he could trust and, well, order around in the middle of the night or one minute before lunch break or five minutes before the City Hall serene blared at five o’clock in the afternoon.

“He is a slave-driver,” one infuriated subordinate exclaimed. Echoed a department head at City Hall: “He wants to be city engineer, planning officer, the health chief, city agriculturist, a glorified clerk, purchasing officer, and even the presiding officer of the city council.” Yet, the people who were embittered and outraged by his Pharaoh-management romp and verbose conferences where he didn’t fail to reprimand his chiefs for not meeting their targets voted for him time and again. Is it because there is no better replacement?

I have been with him in five electoral campaigns. He skillfully engineered all the propaganda wheels that made the opposition look like tyros. He learned the campaign ropes all by himself, taking some bits of guidance from the old adriots (all of them now dead) and masterfully practiced the only thing that mattered in a campaign — wise spending.

On the other hand, Mayor Ma.Isabel Climaco-Salazar doesn’t possess any of the above: no machinery, no money, no heavy campaign donors, no-nothing. In all her past campaigns, she relied heavily on the Lobregat machinery. She had a handful of young people with different sexual orientation going around with her to distribute leaflets. Even her present position is a “gift” from the Empire. And who’s going to take it away from her? The Empire! She might have the vaunted Liberal Party and the yellow army on her side. And, perhaps, the military. She might also have some wealthy chinks in her MK purse, but these are donors who bet on both sides.

Titong’s friend might be correct, but gold is hard to let go — or maybe when it stops glittering?