Citizen Celso PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 27 March 2016 15:00

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

 

Los Angeles, CA. — “Adelante Zamboanga!” Is the boldest declaration for economic and political independence of the undefeated CELSO LORENZO LOBREGAT. Despite his controversial contra to the passage of the Bangsamoro basic law unless retailored to make it constitutional in form and substance, Mr. LOBREGAT is devoted to his people and Zamboanga that that trait seems to be in the family’s DNA.

His grandfather, Don Pablo Lorenzo, helped dozens of Zamboanguenos through other means, like employment. His grandmother, Dona Isang, succored the sick whenever she was in town and gave alms to the poor and fed them in their Nunez ancestral home. Benita was still a little, helpful girl at that time.

His brothers and sister have walked different streets of “goodism”. As the patriarch Mrs. Maria Clara L. LOBREGAT said, doing good is the moral code of the family that started with Don Pablo. I don’t know whether he had role models when he was still a civilian working for a giant corporation in Manila. Celso probably did, because he has developed a kind of speech that resonates as when John F. Kennedy spoke during his inaugural that has lingered for generations.

Exactly a year ago, I wrote: “Celso is the wizard of local politics, having control over the city council, the barangay council, the businessmen’s councils, council of elders, the council of the elite and all other councils, including the boy and girl scout councils, needing financial assistance. The only council not clearly for him is the Fourth Estate.

Years ago, he declared with a forceful voice in one of his speeches at the city council that the “best has yet to come.” It hasn’t, of course, come. Let’s give it a little more time, shall we? He’s been mayor for nine uninterrupted years and almost three years as congressman, not counting the six years (1998-2003) that he’s been our representative in the House. Oh, yes, the speculations about his family, health and nocturnal life will always be present, impertinent though they may be. Only those opposed to him talk with a gibberish tongue.

Mr. LOBREGAT doesn’t fancy gold chains and necklaces, nor does he carry a trinket in his pocket to drive away bad spirits. He has always been unafraid to face the enemy. The politicians in the other fence dare not debate him on issues, especially when she raised the real property tax that has taxed the rich and landed. I thought the administration of the yellow brigade would amend the tax ordinance and lower the real property tax to a much reasonable level. But, no. The city government needs the money to build more infrastructure that will lead to economic advancement. Ergo, Don Celso was right. I’ve not seen a men so unafraid to speak what he thinks and audacious in what he intends to do.

I surmise that he has a plan on how to solve the crippling water crisis, the power dilemma and the dreadful law and order conditions. Those plans, if any, can only be executed in coordination with city hall, a turf he no longer controls. If he raises the hand of mayoral candidate retired police General Mario Yanga today, the official start of the campaign for local elective positions, that will signal his plan to bulldoze all structures where illegal drugs are being manufactured, shoot (like RD vows to do) the drug lords and criminals and jail the smugglers.

I know his mettle and determination. Still lingering in the city jail is a suspected Chinese drug-dealer, although another one managed to pay his way out. He denounced the smuggling of the black corals by local Chinese businessmen that led to a senate inquiry. Since then, the suspected smugglers of the black corals have escaped the cuffs of the law and are in the country using another name.

Most importantly, Don Celso knows how to use people — his people. First, there was Percival Ramos who questioned the anomalous housing project for the evacuees. Then, Miya V. Abubakar attacked city hall over the donations the city received for the 2013 siege. These are two very quiet, uncontroversial members of the city council. Coming soon: Rudy Lim, Vic Liozo and Rey Candido.

Citizen Celso rides on!