Holding on beyond 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 06 March 2018 11:41



Question: Can a famous name hold on to the most powerful seat in Zamboanga without the financial backing of a political party once potent and mighty?

She does not name-drop unlike her fiercest foes. She doesn’t talk about raising revenues by imposing new taxes, nor does she tackle head-on political dissent and disagreements with her allies. She simply goes about doing what she thinks is her job as local chief executive that’s something not admired by the locals who prefer cleaner surroundings, adherence to laws and better infrastructure to secure future generations. In her almost six years in office, she has introduced only one major project, still unfinished, and relies on her own promise to “Build Back Better” after the bloody siege in 2013, the same year that she was elected as the city’s top honcho.

Even an honest, sincere and dedicated politician like Madam Maria Isabelle Garcia Climaco-Salazar with a sainted name is facing tremendous odds against her perceived 2019 adversary who has a sweet name, unmatched accomplishments and is not “e pluribus unum” as his Silimanian lawyer would say, but “is the one.” And as what Julius Caesar declared as he was crossing the Rubicon, “lacta a lea est.” Year 2019 is one local election that will equal the Climaco-Suarez sage in 1953.

Madam Beng has not cut her ties with the Liberal Party (LP) to join the super majority, PDP-Laban. She has stood forthright as an LP member even when obviously disadvantaged by the force and money of the present administration of El Presidente.

The 2019 election is shaping up to be ugly as friends will cross swords in a contest for political supremacy. The dying LP is relying on someone who has never before faced a Goliath to save their bacon in Sunset City. Her claim is that she is the daughter of a politician and the niece of one of the great mayors we’ve ever had. Mr. Celso L. Lobregat stakes his claim of fame as the grandson of Don. Pablo Lorenzo and the son of the venerable Mrs. Maria Clara L. Lobregat, a woman revered for her benevolence and compassion for the poor.

Mr. Lobregat has been killing himself working tirelessly for more than 20 years to bring development to Zamboanga, most of them, though, concentrated in the barangays. One single project stands out — Paseo Del Mar. Mr. Lobregat isn’t a baby with diapers crying for whole cow’s milk. He is a powerhouse with a lot of juices. If this perceived Battle-Royale becomes a reality, Mr. Lobregat, as measured by his whale of a lot of accomplishments, would have the edge, although a nose’s length, but still an edge, good enough to win the high-staked derby.

Madam Beng’s is that she was born here, raised and educated here and matured here. Her father was elected to the city council when she was still a baby. She almost became a Carmelite nun, but her father convinced her that he would have to have a successor.

Her profile solidified, the opposition tried repeatedly and desperately to recruit her. She always declined, swearing her loyalty to the Lobregats and the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) along with semi-retired Mr.  Erbie Fabian.

As elections in the past grew more intense and with the opposition falling apart because of power-struggle, voters increasingly turned “red”, the color carried by the LDP and Mr. Lobregat. Which meant that the chances of the opposition winning City Hall got dimmer and then subsequently faded away like “old soldiers.”

Mr. Lobregat is preparing to seize the day from Madam Beng. By October, we will know for sure. Both must watch out, though, for a moneyed third force from the south who is ready to take them on.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 March 2018 11:44