Broken Print
Tuesday, 22 May 2018 12:11



San Jose, CA. — Zamboanga politics is broken, granulated even.

It has been since the demise of the admirable and marvelous lady, Mrs. Maria Clara L. Lobregat, 15 years ago. She glossed with her vivid Maria Clara dress and her face glowed with charm that even her most avowed critics tottered at her presence. We were stunned at her passing only days after she distributed her traditional Christmas boon to the media and her godchildren — dozens of them, young and old, rich and poor.

First to break the ranks was former Mayor Manny Dalipe and his son, Mannix, now congressman of the second district, who swore in his text message to me that he would wrangle to get the nomination to succeed Mrs. Lobregat as mayor, he being one of the lady’s loyalists. I was in Tagaytay, then, on vacation to attend a wedding when I heard of Tita Caling’s death.

From a “nonentity” to an overpowering statesman, Mr. Celso L. Lobregat, the apparent heir to the throne, assembled his forces to announce that he was running for mayor with the elemental but radiant, Ms. Beng Climaco, as his runningmate. As in Austrian physician Friedrich Anton Mesmer who used his power of hypnotism to hypnotize the public in 1775, Mr. Erbie Fabian mesmerized the public and ran for congressman and won.

Ironically, the second biggest casualty was Mr. Fabian. The assumption was that a powerful, moneyed adversary from the north wanted to claim the throne from the Lobregats. It was concluded that only Madam Beng could defeat a “formidable” opponent in the person of Mr. Romeo Jalosjos. The rest is history.

The list of casualties is long, each of them with a different resenting story to tell about their fallout from the graces of the red party.

The headlines so underscored, the remarks so condescending and the obliterated long-standing friendships never to be conjoined, Mr. Lobregat,  Mrs. Salazar, Mr. Fabian and Vice Mayor Cesar Ituralde are now worlds apart, breaking a once vaunted alliance that brought about economic boon to a city crying for development. Que lastima!

The rise of Mr. Lobregat and Mrs. Salazar meant that they would capitalize on their popularity and unequalled political savvy and intelligence. But since the last elections, a “civil” war has shaped up between the two undefeated titans.

Well, both are against Zamboanga’s inclusion in the new Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), assuming that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law is passed. Both are in agreement that drastic measures should be taken to improve the city’s law and order conditions. Crimes are on the rise, again. We still, however, have to listen to their views on the removal of Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno through a quo warranto petition.

The Senate is poised to question the decision of the “Magic 8” who  opted in favor of the petition. The move would probably have made history. (In the United States, the last attempt to remove a Supreme Court Justice began in 1804, and proved to be a failure.)

Another matter: What is their position on the proposition to abolish the 1987 constitution and replace it with a federal-parliamentary charter? You see, some of the provisions of the federal constitution might run contrary to the present regional boundaries. It could be that Zamboanga is OUT of the ARMM based on the proposed BBL. It is possible, also, that a federal constitution may have Zamboanga INCLUDED in the ARMM, i.e. Zamboanga city, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato and Maguindanao forming one of the independent federal regions. Who’s to stop congress from doing that? A divided Supreme Court? But it’s possible, d’ba?

At stake here is whether or not Mr. Lobregat and Mrs. Salazar could get their act together, instead of fighting for one coveted seat, and avoid a distasteful election since the Cesar C. Climaco-Hector C. Suarez bitter wars in the 50s and 60s. Zamboanguenos don’t want to move backward. We’re beginning to see good times. We don’t need divisive rhetoric nor actions from either of them.

When the “allies” were fighting for political control after Mrs. Lobregat passed, a priest stepped forward to fix the problem. The solution meant losing some of the “loyalists” because they were loquacious about the solution. It was time, they said, to plan their own political destinies.

Quoting William Shakespeare, I once described Mr. Lobregat, Mrs. Salazar and Mr. Fabian as this: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

Time to fix what is broken, gentlemen and lady, before the bell tolls for you.