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Thursday, 18 June 2015 10:17

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — Her fiery speech in the Senate on the proposed Bangsamoro law and the forceful reiteration on Zamboanga city’s exclusion from Morolandia; his persistent and resilient fight for Zamboanga’s welfare and independence from Muslim autonomy and the onerous provisions of the proposed new region; and, finally, the so-called “suspicious manifesto” that naughtily seeks to split up her and him.

Zamboanga has reached a boiling point in the battle for city hall in 2016. About this time last year, I said that the incumbent holder of the executive chair will run for re-election. I also said that the former occupant will make a comeback, based on his pronouncements. I was also right on the money when I picked June as the kick-off month for the campaign for next year’s election. From hereon, her and his schedules will be marked with public fora, speaking engagements, “pulong-pulong”, special appearances and sessions on the same subject matters — the Bangsamoro Republic, the irritating blackouts and the skidding peace and order conditions.

There are already attempts to destroy the leadership of Ma. Isabel G. Climaco-Salazar in relation to the 2013 violent siege of Zamboanga just three months into her ascendancy as mayor. People are still asking why the attack could not be prevented when everybody with a cell phone knew it was forthcoming at precisely 5:00 a.m. of September 9. City Hall, then, was well-connected with the intelligence community, right? Her detractors, obvious as to their identities, will play, replay, play and replay the video of the bloody hostilities instigated by a band of rebels whose commander is Nur Misuari. That unforgettable incident sent Zamboanga farther back in terms of economic growth. Other than the siege, which is not entirely her fault, Mayor Salazar up to this point has come clean.

What of Congressman Celso L. Lobregat? He will draw up a rehashed “Contract for change, unity and continuity” for his dying national party (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino) and his brother’s local party Adelante Zamboanga. He will sum up what he did since 1998 after he overwhelmingly defeated a political juggernaut in Atty. Vitaliano D. Agan. Everything’s well done, sir. Absent that, the fight to get back City Hall is a little difficult, si?

Just for the sake of amusement reading, let’s just imagine that Mrs. Salazar and Mr. Lobregat will cross swords in 2016. Who’s got the edge? Any Climaco die hard will say that she does. To the league of ladies and gentlemen that followed the Lobregats since the days of Martial Law, Celso is the man. It is of the belief that, judging from the tremendous votes she has acquired in all contests she was in, Mrs. Climaco-Salazar will crush anybody in her path — except, perhaps, Celso. He has proven to be tough and unafraid of the bullets that may come his way because of his public condemnation of certain provisions of the proposed Bangsamoro juridical government.

Mrs. Climaco-Salazar has a temper that angers some veterans of the media. She is a snub (daw). Ever since, she has had her own media, perhaps just to make sure that she isn’t quoted out of context. So does Celso. Both seem overcautious in dealing with issues. Mrs. Climaco-Salazar has a competitive advantage over Mr. Lobregat because she has learned a lot from the string of bad luck that has happened in less than three years in office, and counting. But Mr. Lobregat’s people look at these hard luck as debacles to Mrs. Climaco-Salazar’s re-election bid.

And, lastly, to whom will the Filipino-Chinese invest their money on?