A family affair PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 May 2018 11:58

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — Twenty-two months after his assumption into office, does El Presidente enjoy the same level of popularity and trust from the 16 million or so Filipinos who voted for him? The barangay elections, by law a non-partisan contest, will serve as the gauge because he claims that his strength comes from the “masa”. I’ll explain later.

His win in 2016 was a resounding rebuke of the then powerful Liberal Party and elitism against the recharged PDP-Laban which has morphosed into a super-majority party that appears to be in control of all the three branches of government.

By huge margins, the PDP-Laban and its guest candidates took the premier races in almost all cities, municipalities and provinces, scoring convincing wins even in yellow regions. If the barangay narco-list purposely released by PDEA is authentic and that those in the list have been validated to be drug dealers and protectors of drug lords, the intention to crush remnants of the “Amarillo” in the barangay level may have been successful. Understand that  barangay chairmen and their respective kagawads (at least most of them) are benefactors of past regimes. They control their strongholds like the Roman camps in Winchester and Worcester in centuries long forgot. Understand, also, that families control the outcome of barangay elections, not a narco-list that is supposed to generate loud huzzahs from the voters.

A day after “Mother’s Day”, the barangay polls will be El Presidente’s first referendum as the top-most employee contracted by more than 16 million Filipinos. It will mirror the diversity of the voters from Bisayans, Muslims, Tagalogs to everybody wishing for a better life as promised by El Presidente during the campaign.

Non-partisan as the law prescribes it to be, the politicians will clandestinely finance their “pambato”. Right now, emissaries with “maletas” filled with money are doing the rounds, knocking at the candidates’ doors in the still of the night, handing goodies and legal tender for distribution to their respective constituents. The exchange, of course, comes with pledge that if they win they’d pay back the favor in terms of votes in 2019. Behind those “maletas” and fat envelops are election donors allegedly connected to Malacanang and Davao.

In beloved Zamboanga, if he wins another term, will Liga ng Barangay President Gerry Perez get a second mandate to sit as a member of the city council? As everybody knows, the local legislative body is fraught with dissension as to who should run for vice mayor in 2019, and with whom.

The narco-list released to time with the barangay elections is an indication of despondent administration think tanks worried that El Presidente might lose the grassroots. If that happens, the mid-term elections for the administration candidates will be in jeopardy. So far, Malacanang and Davao have miserably failed to deliver on their promises to an already angry and hungry base — lift the poor from abject poverty, provide employment, end “endo”, fight real graft and corruption, clean the police of undesirables, cure the country’s monstrous traffic, protect the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and control the staggering inflation that hurts the lower-middle class and the poor.

Forget de Lima, Trillanes and Sereno. They’re just patriots trying to keep their jobs.

Malacanang will try every means possible to keep its base solid. The barangay elections are only one of the many political strides that must be hurdled by El Presidente.  Charter Change, the shift to federalism, the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law, the proposed “One Belt, One Road” massive infrastructure project with the People’s Republic of China that will, as many economists predict, send the Philippines wallowing in debt, are still on his desk.

For Zamboanga, the results of the barangay polls will determine who (Madam Beng or Sir Celso) will win for mayor in 2019. Like I said, it’s a family affair.