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ROUGH CUTS | Davaoeños: Missing the elections of old

Vic N. Sumalinog

WHEN will the local elections in Davao City be back to what it used to be — one real contest for the candidates especially for the Mayoral and Vice Mayoral positions; when will people in the city ever have two or more persons who present themselves for choice to be their leaders?

     We have no doubt that there are a good number of residents of Davao City who may not be in accord with the way the present local leadership is running the local government affairs.  That is a given in every administration, no matter how best a mayor or governor for that matter tries. After all, the good side of an administration normally comes to the surface when a new leadership is installed and there are enough bases for comparison.

     Today people in the city know that Mayor Sara is doing her best just to try to meet the normally high expectations of the constituents. But based on many unexpressed as well as privately expressed observations of her administration, the reality is that there are indeed still many who feel she should have done even more or better on certain matters including responding to the pandemic.

     Given the situation however, and the Mayor’s access to the national leadership where support is normally sought, and of course the resources needed to run a bruising, sometimes  intimidating, and very expensive campaign, who would dare challenge the local incumbents even if it is the lesser “god” who will offer to or be made to take over the helm of the local government?

     That there are other equally intellectually, perhaps financially (we doubt through), physically qualified Davaoenos dreaming of casting their lot in the mayoral or vice mayoral position, they lack at least two of the most important requirements in such a quixotic run. These are organization and connection to the powers up there.

     So, what is happening over the last many elections of the highest leaders in the city has been such a boring contest. The sector for elected officials where election has some semblance of making some real choices is that for members of the City Council.  But first and foremost, the elections appear first to be a contest toward getting included in the local administration line-up and later to get the first opportunity to have his or her hand raised by the top god of the reigning political party.

     In fact during the last local elections we noted that some candidates who were so desperate in having their hands raised by the lady mayor, had to do some innovative ways if only to make it appear they were endorsees of the local administration party honcho. They took advantage of modern technology using the computer’s photoshop application.  It was easy to detect because in almost every candidate’s hand -raised by the mayor, she looks to be  wearing the same clothes and makes the same pose as well as wearing a similar smile. And we would not be surprised at all if the same trick will be resorted to by some council candidates this coming May 2022 elections.

     Meanwhile, we are starting to notice that certain political personalities from the third district are getting to be very visible in every activity where Mayor Sara is invited or simply present.  On television coverage and in pictures published in still operational local newspapers like the Mindanao Times, they are seen walking side-by-side with Mayor Sara grinning from ear-to-ear, perhaps hoping that such smiles could help them remain in the voters’ minds.   

     Our take on this is that despite the vaunted well-entrenched political position of incumbent third district Congressman Isidro “Sid” Ungab, there are still those who entertain the notion that they could snatch the Mayor’s expressed support to the current third district representative. In other words, these politicians could be entertaining the idea that they’ll be backed by the local party gods to square off with the seemingly undefeatable Sid.

     Will they be able to sway the Mayor’s trust from Ungab to them? And if they can, will they be able to convince the third district electorate that they can be a better replacement for Ungab?

     As usual, our favorite quote for this is the one from the late former Davaoeno senator Landring Almendras, “Let us to see.” Tan-awon nato, he, he, he.


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