2019 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 13 May 2016 13:09

BEHIND  THE  LINES

 

San Jose, CA. — The elections are over. The 2019 election campaign has just begun.

If the figures don’t change, Mayor Ma. Isabel G. Climaco-Salazar, Vice Mayor Cesar Ituralde and Rep. Celso L. Lobregat will have a fresh mandate. Former vice mayor Mannix Dalipe scored a huge upset and will be the new congressman for District II.

The mayor has not written a book, unlike Hillary Clinton, who most likely will be the next president of the United States of America. Mrs. Climaco-Salazar has been incredible, though, during her first term, appearing in countless,of television shows and doing radio and newspaper interviews. The 2013 bloody siege and the refugee crisis were her “ultimate tests” — managing to turn bad occurrences into exemplary feats. City Hall, not the monastery, is to be her home. Her overwhelming victory sent a guileless answer to the people questioning her ability to govern: I am fit to be mayor.

She is a progressive, as all young politicians should be — ever dynamic and forward-looking. She has opened new roads to unclog the hateful traffic snarl. She may be “contented with little things, yet wishing for more.” People seemed to have embraced her with love and she has reciprocated them with compassion and sacrifice.

There were bad speculations about how she was running her government — her quiet soldier-husband, a slatternly newspaper account about a bridge in the east, the questionable resettlement program and the alleged overpriced mobile clinic that hasn’t been purchased yet. These are cases waiting to be filed.

There will be speculations (again!) about her high-flown plan to build a theme park somewhere in the east coast, her grandiose design to open up new roads in the Tetuan-Sta. Catalina area and her push, as was Erbie Fabian’s, to have a modern international airport in Mercedes-Talabaan barangays. She will take these criticisms graciously as good-natured and well-educated people do.

By the way, former trial judge, Jesus Carbon, has been altruistic in his legal practice and effectively shielding the mayor from all sorts of rustic innuendoes about graft and corruption. Acting City Administrator Elmeir Apolinario, too.

The mayor, like her “kuya”, has big thoughts. Both are superb in creativity and masters at balancing the budget. While the man from the White House has abandoned Coke and rum, forsaken cigarettes, but not “adobo con amargoso and radish”, Little Sis has not discarded her simple old-hat vogue and off-color attires to go with her pair of favorite “Crocs” slip-ons.

The next three years will be fun to watch, a combination of obsession and exhilaration in the fight for City Hall. The mayor has got it made until 2019 — maybe up to 2022. Ask any Rojo and he/she will tell you that she’s unbeatable. Ask any Amarillo and he/she will tell you that “kuya” is unbeatable.

If you want to get Mr. Lobregat talking for hours, open the topic on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law at Kape Zambo while listening to country singer Drigo Balbon belt out tunes from the jumpy 70s to the jaw-dropping 2000s, including “Moon River”.

Mr. Lobregat was once a horticulturist, having grown one of the best flower fields, that included red roses, in Batangas before he became somebody in 1998. He may have been born and raised and educated in tough Manila, but he has developed true love for Zamboanga.

He told me once over breakfast that he would have much to lose if he joined politics. That was a fallacy more than truth. At the moment, based on his body language and carefully-written press releases, he has but one target: CITY HALL. What will matter from hereon to 2019 is making himself stand out and heard more often. There is not an issue that he doesn’t have an opinion, especially if there’s a legal icing to it. It would have been better if he went to law school rather than acquiring a masters degree at the Asian Institute of Management.

Months before the 1998 elections, Rolly San Juan ran a red light while driving a Volkswagen Buggy at the intersection of Jaldon st. and Camins ave. Riding at the passenger’s seat, Mr. Lobregat screamed: “Rol, hende pa yo congressman (Rol, I’m not yet a congressman).” I was seated at the back. His chances then of beating a mega-politico was overblown because of his beloved mother.

Now, his Red Team, a once clan united, is slowly being consumed with civil disobedience. He failed to carry half of his lackeys to victory. Two of his incumbent councilors lost.   Were they compromised?

It didn’t happen the last time, but if Mr. Lobregat firmly decides to retake City Hall in 2019, he will have to start campaigning early because the gyrating effects of campaign money won’t be on his side.

There’s no way that the leader of the Rojos can mess up the plans and programs of the present administration. He doesn’t have the numbers in the city council to carry out his intentions. And, there will be defections before the year is out — from Red to Yellow. The quarterly support from the intelligence fund is to big to pass. PDAF has been declared unlawful.