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Rough Cuts: Why can’t they stop running?

The elections are barely a week from now. Earlier we manifested our notion of the possibility that there will be a shift in the candidacies of now reelectionist Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and her brother, resigned vice mayor Paolo Duterte. That is, that Mayor Inday changes places with Pulong for the congressional seat of the city’s first district, and now congressional candidate Pulong taking the place of Mayor Inday. And we project this to happen a day or two before May 13, the date of the election.

We are not giving up that idea of ours. The reason is simple. Such a move has already several precedents, the latest of which was the case of the now incumbent barangay official of Biao Joaquin. During the last barangay polls the husband who was the barangay chief filed for reelection for his supposed last term. His wife filed her certificate for barangay Kagawad. But two days before the barangay elections they traded places. And since no one ran against her then incumbent husband the wife did not have any problem breezing through to the top barangay post. We are looking a repeat of this scheme in Mayor Inday and former VM Pulong.

After all, it is common knowledge that the primary goal of the former vice mayor is the mayorship of Davao City. And it is also well acknowledged that Mayor Inday who is a lawyer and feisty at that, is looking forward to a much higher national position – the Presidency that is now occupied by her father.

We also believe that should Mayor Inday become a member of the House she is a cinch to become Speaker despite the big names surfacing to be interested in the position. And how can she not be a cinch to the Speakership when the Davao City Mayor, through her Hugpong ng Pagbabago party, is already building coalitions with other regional and sub-regional political groups. In fact she has been endorsing this and that congressional candidates and even bets for local government positions. So, no matter how one reads the messages of her activities it can always be led to the conclusion that right at this early Mayor Inday is already building the foundation for her national run.

Of course we could be wrong. But until the last hour to election time comes and no such shifting of candidacies happen, we will remain optimistic that our hunch would materialize. And we are crossing our fingers on that.

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Some years back we had the opportunity to have coffee with a politician in one of the local government units in the Davao Region. During that time there was no talk of running for reelection because the term of the person concerned was barely half way through. However, the politician, a mayor of an LGU for that matter, told us that running for reelection was far from his mind. He said that being mayor was financially and emotionally draining. Knowing that constituents run to the mayor for financial and material assistance at any sign of problem, we cannot help but believe in him.

Personally knowing his lifestyle, we indeed thought then that had he not married a gainfully employed woman he would not have provided for his family with the level of a mayor’s salary at that time. But he was lucky to have married a woman who was receiving much from her employer.

Nevertheless, we thought then that he will stick to his statement that he was at that time not considering running for reelection. But months after our coffee table conversation his close confidants were already banding around that he was running for a second term.

So, the next question that comes to our mind was, “What circumstances made the concerned mayor change heart?” Why did he suddenly forget his prior statement that being mayor was financially and emotionally draining? Did that mayor suddenly find a money pool that no amount of draining can empty its source?

Well, stories similar to what that mayor told us some years back were also shared with us by some of the councilors in Davao City who are running for reelection. That is, that they’d only be good for one term since the pay could hardly make both ends meet for their families.

But look what is happening now. They are not only maximizing the three three-year terms for a total of nine years, they are also allocating the same position for their sons, daughters, brothers, husbands, and the wives. And why are three-termers coming back with gusto?

This brings back to mind the situation of the various gold rush areas in the once undivided Davao del Norte. Speculators, small and big miners, traders and protection racketeers trooped to the places forming ants-like lines ready to join the exploitation activities. Why, because there were so much gold veins to find and exploit. Not even cave-ins could stop their onslaught.

Making an analogy of the gold rush situation we can only conclude that somewhere in the political fields lie not only pots of gold but also the beginning of endless gold veins for the picking by the thick-faced and greedy politicians masquerading as public servants.

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