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Rough Cuts | What went wrong?

Who would have thought that the person who put an end to the reign of the Floirendos as political godfathers in the Davao Region last May 13 election was their own creation?

Yes, it cannot be denied by anyone, not even by the new kingpin of politics in the two northern Davao provinces in the person of re-elected Congressman Pantaleon Alvarez, that he re-entered politics with the door opened for him by the Floirendos. And they were the best of friends with Floirendo scion Tonyboy until they parted ways two years into the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In fact it appears that in the squabble between then speaker of the House Alvarez and his erstwhile friend and benefactor Tonyboy it was the former who was on the offensive. He caused the investigation of the allegedly anomalous agreement to use the thousands of hectares of the Davao Penal Colony land reservation as part of the massive TADECO banana plantation. For this Congressman Tonyboy Floirendo is now facing a case in the Sandigang Bayan.

But even as Floirendo and his group had their hands full in waging the court battle that could be changing the family’s business landscape,Alvarez was silently “termiting” the base of the Floirendo political clout.

He had established alliances with several erstwhile Floirendo-identified mayors, governors, congressmen and councilors. That is why it did not come as a surprise when Tagum City mayor Allan Rellon aligned himself with Alvarez.

Even the other politically influential Uy family that include former Tagum City Mayor Rey “Chiong” Uy and former ComVal Province Governor Arturo “Chongkee” Uy and his son incumbent ComVal governor Tyrone Uy became Alvarez’s allies.

This change in the political landscape in Davao del Norte and ComVal Province seemed total as Floirendo Jr. himself was trounced by one of his avid supporters – his creation in fact. In the case of Alvarez he put a nail on the political career of Anthony del Rosario who is governor of the province until he filed his certificate of candidacy for congressman of Davao del Norte’s first district. And to think that Del Rosario, a son of former governor Rodolfo del Rosario, was a seemingly formidable foe being part of the Floirendo family and in all likelihood beneficiary of a large campaign chest.

Last May 13, he was beaten by Alvarez in a manner that no one expected. Of course Del Rosario was in all humility, quick to accept his defeat and claimed that he respects the voice of the people of his district.

The Floirendo bet for governor also lost to one who was the least expected.

We have no doubt that even as the Floirendos are nursing their hurt due to the unfavorable result of the election they are most likely figuring out what went wrong with their campaign. They are possibly reviewing every detail in their strategy so they would know where they were upended by the Alvarez advisers.

Personally though, we believe that the Floirendo campaign planners may have entertained the notion that their candidates are too deeply rooted that they could not be easily displaced. They might have thought that the charisma and influence of the late Floirendo patriarch Don Antonio Sr., still remains. Hence they may have allowed complacency to rule in the way they handled their campaign. And seemingly Alvarez saw this weakness and this is where his team hit hard.

We also saw some weaknesses in the Floirendo group’s propaganda support. They probably did not make periodic review of the outcome of their media campaign including the use of media itself. We have observed that those who used to work for them in previous elections dating to as far back when the grand old man was still alive, were already barking for the Alvarez group.

We even suspect that the Floirendo campaign was carried on air mostly by the company-owned broadcast station which may not be far-reaching as some other radio stations.

The other possibility is that the old guards in the Floirendo political affairs unit may not already be around. They may have retired or replaced with young blood most of whom prefer interactions through the cyber venue instead of the interpersonal where their mean men used to find time to have coffee with stakeholders, rub elbows with them and in the process earning their respect and loyalty.

Yes, they were the Floirendo men who can be seen in flesh and not in pictures in newspapers and in the boob tubes.

For certain the people in Davao del Norte may have been longing to find their second or third generations.

May be the present generation Floirendos should look into this aspect as early as today if they have to recover their lost political ground.

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