The separation of Celso and Beng PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 05 September 2015 14:30

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

Although, unconfirm and unannounced, the political alliance of Mayor Beng Climaco and District 1 Congressman Celso L. Lobregat is imminent and coming,  gauging from their answers during interviews. This political break-up goes with it their followers, supporters and friends. The biggest development is,  both of them  have the same group of supporters, followers and friends, because they came from the same political stable of the late Maria Clara Lorenzo Lobregat, former Mayor, Congress Representative, Constitutional Convention Delegate (Concon) and the first lady mayor of the city. Congressman Lobregat and Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar do not have problems if they break-up politically, but, their followers are between the “mortar and the pestle” and they cannot claim neutrality, because, whoever wins, the neutral followers will loose their livelihood and connection. Their followers have to swallow “hook, line and sinker” or else scram and find a new leader.

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This political development is like the situation of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) followers,where recently they demonstrated thousands of them in the streets of Metro Manila, demanding for a separation of the Church and the State. Not all INC followers fully understood this demand, but rallied behind their Ministers lest they be declared “tiwalag” or banishment from the INC where no member wanted to be declared a “tiwalag”. But, it has a different outcome although similar with the Lobregat-Climaco/Salazar political break-up. The INC is showing its muscle as a strong political lobbyist dangling millions of voters, voting as a block and can make national leaders and candidates squirm in their seats, whenever the INC will “rattle its sabers”. The city’s political development of long time political partners, breaking up without a fight, is not a surprise. From the very beginning of their political alliance, the idea of political separation is traditional, and has been their laying dormant and idle, and it is in the minds of all skillful politicians, that one day, political demands of the time will only have a room for one and two is a crowd. And, political elimination will start when that demand crops up, like today in Zamboanga City where the political turf is getting narrower and the stakes are getting bigger and lucrative. The greatest and youngest Roman general, Alexander the Great conquered the whole of Asia Minor, which is the now Middle East and parts of Europe, just for one thing, expansion of the Roman Empire and the spoils of those conquered lands are needed to finance and maintain his empire. In short, power breeds greed which is insatiable

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Shakespeare’s immortal love story of Romeo and Juliet has a line on separation. He says “parting is such a sweet sorrow, to early seen unknown and known too late”. Perhaps, the imminent political break-up of Celso and Beng has been known by their political camps earlier and they believe it is a “sweet sorrow” to end the political alliance, rather than blame each other for the city’s infrastructure projects, sanitation processes, law enforcement and security measures and lastly even the manner of personnel selection which many accused Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar of hiring the “wrong staff for a right stuff” like a “square peg on a round hole” and Congressman Celso Lobregat is also accused of property purchases for the city like the Land Fill in Salaan to be in violation of some environmental prohibitions during his term as city mayor. It is like the “tug of war” game. Perhaps political separation is the best solution to free the city on these issues because by then the controversy will stop.  “Who among you that does not have any sin at all may throw the first stone”. My late father once said “if your house is made of glass, don’t throw stones at your neighbor.”

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The political followers of both the Celso and Beng camps are in a quandary. Most hard hit is Vice Mayor Itturalde. He started his political career with Celso and improved it on Beng’s term. For the Vice Mayor to stay in the city’s politics, he has to choose one side  loyally and firmly. To stay neutral on a crisis is weakness and not independence that is only good for your “piece of mind”, but very bad for your political career. Tagalogs says “Huwag mamangka sa dalawang ilog”, the meaning is as clear as the water in that “ilog”. Some city councilors are also in that predicament, choose your sides before you will be considered “tiwalag”. Politics is a serious matter and like a big business enterprise, it cannot afford to loose or go bankrupt

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Scoop: From political pundits:Tthey say if they will indeed politically break up and decide to slug each other in the city’s political arena, Celso will take, Councilor Mariano or Erbie Fabian as his vice, while Beng Climaco-Salazar will take Mannix Dalipe or Meng Agan as her vice. Vice-Mayor Itturalde will be Beng’s candidate for congressman in District 2, and Councilor Sadain in District 1. No mention of Celso’s candidates for District 1 Congressman while District 2 is equity of the incumbent, Madame Lilia Nuno will be Celso’s bet. Except for Congress representative of District 2, the other positions are just from the pundits. You may agree or disagree.