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ROUGH CUTS | No signs of local poll activities yet




Vic N. Sumalinog

IT’S STILL a little less than a year before the next election. On the national scene there are already names peddled around as most likely candidates for the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. The senatorial aspirants though are still fluid up to this time although based on the efforts of some to have a strong exposure in the national media, we can sense who they possibly are.

In Davao City, however, we can already deduce that the mayoral, vice mayoral, and the congressional polls will be something like a “walk in the park” thing for the incumbents. As for the position of mayor, even if incumbent Sara will be tempted to cast her lot on the Presidency, the likelihood is that her brother Vice Mayor Baste will throw his hat in her stead. And for now there is no one known from any semblance of local opposition who will ever dare challenge the vice mayor.

Of course there will be many who think that they are more capable than the incumbent tenant of the vice mayor’s office. But do they have the guts to openly fight the present vice mayor logistically, machinery wise and the “it” needed to carry out a bruising campaign during the elections? Do they have a name that is easy to recall and spell during voting time based on influence?

As to the second highest position in the city, many would perhaps believe that the election could be fair game. That is, on the assumption that the local ruling local party will not make an open endorsement to any one of the candidates for the vice mayor position. Or that the candidates stand on equal footing logistically, influentially, and in terms of educational background.

The same may also be true for candidates for the Sangguniang Panlungsod. Those who run have seemingly equal status as to their closeness to the present gods at City Hall and Malacanang, established connections in the community, and have similar logistical preparations.

Meanwhile we have yet to hear of any names that have any semblance of political strength to try their luck in running against the present incumbent congressmen in the city’s three districts. In the third district for example incumbent Sid Ungab need not even post his accomplishments in the various social media platforms. The completed projects are quite visible and can very well speak for the performance of the third district’s representative in the Lower House.

As to the second district incumbent Vincent Garcia is now catching up in informing his constituents what he had accomplished and what are still forthcoming. One or two could possibly lunch a more credible challenge against him.

They are councilor Danny Dayanghirang and businesswoman Joji Ilagan Bian. Unfortunately, the two are both losers in their first try. And they may not be able to match the well-oiled machinery that Garcia has accumulated and maintained for some time already.

Also, we are certain that they do not have as much guts as the incumbent’s family to run a rough and tumble campaign in a literally rough terrain of the second district and the need to put up a balance of either terror or wiles should these be necessary.

The same situation is prevalent in the first district. What with the erstwhile opposition to the Dutertes in local politics, the Nograleses, now being effectively shackled with a strategic political alliance with the tenant at City Hall and above all the one lording it over in the Palace?

We know that the Nograles patriarch has been dead for over a year and before he died there was already a modus vivendi between the once political opponent families courtesy of two of their children’s closeness to each other.

Of course, the rapprochement could not have happened had it not been for the approval of the President. But certainly there are observable considerations. Just look at where Karlo Nograles is now and why he decided to forget his intention to remain in his old Congressional seat. And quite clearly, he seems to have the imprimatur to express his intention to run for the Senate. Are these not indications of a trade-off that was negotiated to formalize the reconciliation?

But whatever, next year’s election for local posts in Davao City would again be “boring’ the way it used to be in the 2019 polls, or even more. That scenario of course may change. But for now it is unlikely.

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