Highly-charged PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 April 2016 11:28

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Los Angeles, CA. — “Team Amarillo” has probably seen all its traditional and liberal ideas upended by “Team Colorao” now that it is under extreme pressure to stop the Red Charge to the polls. There are no “knights in shinning armor” in this contest, only repeaters of past elections.

The veterans — those who have witnessed many elections — warn that the fencing between Mayor Climaco-Salazar and Rep. Celso Lobregat will lead to nothing. This is a highly-charged election as gleaned from the campaign of the protagonists. The mayor stands to benefit from this heated word-war because she is facing two light-weights. Mr. Lobregat’s numbers are said to be skidding. But with the resounding receptions he has been getting in west coast sorties, I know he’s still the front-runner in the first district.

This is how rough the road is to the polls. A third party, someone like former Mayor Vinnie Atilano or Water District Chairman Nonie Aranez, should come between the mayor and the congressman for a fence-mending meeting. Mr. Lobregat has stunned people with his consistent attacks on the mayor, a character he did not display in past campaigns. Yet, the lady mayor isn’t his chief opponent. Everybody knows Mr. Lobregat’s sterling track record as a three-time congressman and three-time mayor. No one can question that.

Since last year, the mayor has embarked on an extensive campaign which was put into action with her “build back better” slogan that has bore fruits since the September 2013 bloody siege that devastated at least four barangays. However, her politically-inexperienced election captains have been reportedly outgunned and outmaneuvered by Mr. Lobregat’s propagandists and operators. This puts the mayor’s city council tickets in both the first and second districts in jeopardy. How the middle-class voters, national and city government workers and first-time voters respond to the political cold-war will determine who will win on May 9.

Leading up to today’s commemorative program of “Dia di Ma’m Caling”, the Rojos have renewed their attacks on the mayor by calling her group a bunch of liars. I guess that Mr. Lobregat’s strategists have figured it out that attacking the mayor where it hurts is what will help the Rojos gain majority of the seats in the city council. But, as I wrote in past columns, mudslinging does not win elections. I could be wrong. With a few more days left before a verdict is handed down, the control over the legislative body hangs narrowly in the balance for the “Yellow Army”.

In the second district, the fight is between a star and a rising star. Mr. Mannix  Dalipe, former councilor and vice mayor, is pitting his political experience, educational qualification and esteem family background against a well-financed incumbent Rep. Lilia Nuno. Mannix is the son of former vice mayor and appointed mayor Manuel A. Dalipe who was the first chairman of the Zamboecozone. The elder Dalipe was responsible for pursuing seven barangay water projects during the presidency of Ferdinand E. Marcos.

The District II election promises to be nail-biting primarily in Tetuan, Divisoria, Mercedes, Bolong, Curuan, Tugbungan, Putik and Sangali. Whoever wins here gets to be elected. The ex-factor here is former congressman Erbie Fabian. He should be able to deliver the swing votes, so to speak, to either candidate. Like Mrs. Nuno, Mr. Fabian is a Nacionalista.

Spending by the incumbent, I was told, is minimal considering that Mrs. Nuno has the distinct advantage in numbers over the young Dalipe. I was also informed that Mr. Dalipe has been receiving campaign donations from powerful donors and known families in the east coast and that his campaign has created a thunder, enough to shake Mrs. Nuno’s campaign.

Mr. Dalipe may have earned the admiration of economists and progressives with his open endorsement of a plan to transform Mercedes District into a second city preparatory to the construction of a new international airport threat.

In 1981, the elder Dalipe, together with the legendary Cesar C. Climaco, agreed to the priority plan of the Department of Transportation and Communications then headed by Jose P. Dans to transfer the airport to Mercedes to decongest the city proper, thereby expanding the city’s economic and commercial bases. That plan never materialized because of Climaco’s tragic death and the EDSA revolt.

The younger Dalipe said he will pursue this project that has been long overlooked by non-progressive leaders.

Four years ago, Mr. Fabian revived this airport project with a letter to then DOTC secretary, now presidential aspirant, Mar Roxas. Someone blocked Mr. Fabian’s reiteration for political reasons. Erbie is a Nacionalista. Roxas is a Liberal. Claro?