“Time will tell” PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 15 June 2018 14:45

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

I returned 10 days ago and nothing’s changed: sweltering heat, dirty sidewalks, bad traffic, carbon monoxide emission by old vehicles,  uncollected garbage and, most of all, exchange of invectives by quarreling politicians. After listening to the arguments on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), I surmise with amusement as to who are SABIONDO and who aren’t.

Years after Lot 36 was purchased by the city government from Mr. Pol Wee Sit, an adopted heir of the Wee Sit business empire, nothing was done to buy the three buildings sitting atop Cabatangan overlooking the city, and now rotting its cares away. At the time, all that was needed was a conference among the city mayor (Mrs. Maria Clara L. Lobregat), the executive secretary (Eduardo Ermita) and a representative of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for a deal to buy the structures — the amount of which was diligently computed to satisfy all parties. I was told that the buildings now cost P350 million, an amount that, based on the present budget, the city does not have.

Reading the news the other day about the controversial buildings, the “credit-grabbers” are both wrong. It was then Congresswoman Lilia Nuño who proposed that the buildings be not included in the ARMM and that such a proposal was funneled to then Senator Bong-Bong Marcos for inclusion in the Senate version of the BBL. Attorney Vicente R. Solis has all the pertinent documents relating to this controversy, he being the former legal counsel of Mrs. Nuño. Anyway, that’s water under the bridge.

If the successors of Mrs. Lobregat lobbied for the purchase of the Cabatangan properties, the buildings would have been ours by now, City Hall would have been transferred there as envisioned by Mrs. Lobregat, and the ARMM irritant permanently removed. Unfortunately, they sat on it. Who’s to blame for their ineptitude?

I was killing time at KCC to have a budget lunch at “Mano-Mano” when Mayor Beng Climaco suddenly appeared in her usual casual holiday attire. So, we sat to chat about Cabatangan, 2019 and her likely mayoral opponent. Her body language and illustrative “time will tell” comment told me a lot of things. She’s running for a third and final term in 2019. There are four “candidates” posturing to be her runningmate as Mr. Cesar Ituralde is graduating as vice mayor. I’m guessing, but it looks like Mr. Mannix Dalipe will be her congressional reelectionist in the second district. No mention as who she will field for congress in the first district.

From all indications and from the “tsismis” reaching her, the illustrious Mr. Celso L. Lobregat, who holds the franchise for “Turk’s”, will oppose her and field his brother, businessman Jomar Lobregat, as his successor in the first district. Jomar ran and lost two elections ago to Mrs. Lilia Nuño in the second district. I also gathered that Nino Bonito Mr. Mike Alavar will be Mr. Celso’s runningmate.

While waiting for the strike of 12, I called former Congressman Erbie Fabian who was at hole number 10 lining up a birdie putt after a remarkable front nine. He, too, confirmed without a dint of hesitation that he is running for Congress in the second district, making it a three-cornered fight among him, Mr. Dalipe and Mrs. Nuño.

Mr. Fabian lost in 2013 to the well-funded, Lobregat-backed Mrs. Climaco-Salazar. But that defeat all the more ignited his fighting spirit, as all Ateneans possess, and declared, as did Hubert H. Humphrey, “Defeat, like victory, is only a passing phenomenon in a political career. The battle for one’s ideals and beliefs must go on...”

After a six-year hiatus, Mr. Fabian has resurfaced like a nuclear submarine to face the moneyed. He is bringing with him his impeccable credentials and, above all, SINCERITY to serve.

Going back to Mrs. Climaco-Salazar, she didn’t look a bit bothered at the “news” that Mr. Lobregat is facing her in 2019. Everybody expected that scenario in 2016. He has scored a flurry of points with his substitute proposals of certain provisions of the BBL that will be the subject of discussions by the bicameral conference committee of congress. Mr. Lobregat, as his alleged “sabiondo” critics shout, is a middle-of-the-roader, for he abstained in the BBL voting. He didn’t shout with the supermajority and took the safer ground. Good for him?