Today about 60 million Filipino voters will troop to the voting precincts to elect their new sets of national and local officials. To be elected by the electorate for national positions are 12 senators and the more than two hundred members of the Lower House including representatives from the so-called partylist groups.
The voters will also elect officials of their respective local government units starting from the governor to vice governors and members of the Provincial Board in the case of provinces; and mayors, vice mayors and councilors in the case of cities and municipalities.
In Davao City however, there is actually no election as far as the positions of mayor and vice mayor; even for the position of congressman in the city’s three districts. The Davao City electorate will just be affirming today the continuation in office of Mayor Sara if our hunch that she will trade candidacies with brother Pulong for first district congressman did not materialize.
Today’s voting will also be another affirmation of the formal entry of another Presidential son Baste Duterte to the position of vice mayor.
The same also applies to the basically unopposed candidacies of those who are running for representatives of the city’s three districts.
Former vice mayor Pulong, if he did not trade places with sister Sara, is running with only pittance candidates as opponents. Meaning, he could very well rest at the thought that those who filed their candidacies for the position in the first district cannot claim even an iota of doubt that they could win against Pulong.
Similar situations are also obtaining in Davao City’s second and third congressional districts. Come-backing Vincent Garcia has nothing left but the announcement that he has come back. So is another congressional candidate in the third district, Isidro “Sid” Ungab. Not even a shadow of an opposition has come his way. For Ungab it is all but the proclamation.
What is giving the elections in Davao City today some semblance of excitement is the contest among aspirants to the City Sangguniang Panlungsod.
As we all know, the Davao City electorate will be choosing eight councilors for each of the three districts.
But what is interesting is that all the aspirants are claiming affiliation either with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod party or his daughter Mayor Inday’s own political baby, the Hugpong ng Pagbabago, or both. In the real sense of the word these two political groups are virtual twins sired by both the father and daughter.
The two home-grown parties’ formation is not about giving the Davao City electorate option to choose. It is a product of bright minds out to confuse the enemies. It is a strategy to ensure that whoever wins in today’s polls will ensure that the city remains under the clutches of the ruling family. That is, that whether the winners come from the Hugpong of the President, or the Hugpong of the incumbent mayor Sara, the local government administration remains under the Duterte domain.
Yes, if it were a case of plant propagation the Davao City’s political leadership has adopted the budding process. The brains behind this adaptation have taken a bud from the original Hugpong to grow another one. And as the growth became wide-spread it executes a consolidation process to support the main trunk.
And this is exactly what is happening in the Davao City political arena. Many are competing to be under the tent of the party in power even as they have to elbow themselves finding for a better place to finish in the contest for council seats.
Yes, there will be no doubt some of them may come out winners in the not-so-bruising electoral fight. But in the end, their bruises is nothing compared with the thought that they won because they are the more acceptable members of one party systematically split to institutionalize a hegemony that is seen to prolong the organizers’ hold of power.
Of course, for anyone to perpetuate in politics and its attendant power, he or she has to be innovative and creative in crafting strategies that are easily adaptable by the people.
So, as early as tomorrow morning we will know whether the “budding” strategy is working to attain the objective it is aiming at — political domination not just in Davao City but in the entire country as well.