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ROUGH CUTS | A worthy candidate? Yes, but…

Vic N. Sumalinog

Will the local election for mayor of Davao City be exciting as it used to be several elections ago?

     We are raising this question after we finally got a clear confirmation that the position former third district congressman Ruy Elias Lopez, son of the late former mayor and congressman Elias Baguio Lopez, is running is that of the mayor of the city. Yes, of course because Ruy Lopez has the name, the stature, the education and the proven ability to be a politician of caliber.  The question however, is whether or not he is a worthy opponent to a Duterte, either incumbent Mayor Sara, incumbent Vice Mayor Basti Duterte, or to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte who is rumored to go back to his old post when Sara moves to higher elective office via substitution come November 15.

    The other question is what made Ruy Elias think that he has the chance of winning against any of the three Dutertes earlier mentioned? Has he factored in arriving at his decision the necessary major requirements for a credible run?  Has Ruy accumulated enough financial resources or even promises of support at this point in time? Does he have the manpower and other resources for a bruising campaign? What about the requirements for easy and fast mobility? And above all has he been able to retain the loyalty of community leaders who helped him get elected to Congress when he ran for that office?

     To be honest there are still qualities of Ruy’s father Elias, the late first and only indigenous Bagobo mayor of the city, that many Davaoenos are looking for from the son. The question is, does he (Ruy) have these?  

     Yes, these could be a major drawback in Ruy’s candidacy considering that the younger voting population of Davao City may not have the opportunity to personally interact with the younger Lopez because most of Ruy’s youthful years were spent in Manila where he studied his law degree and later practiced his profession as a lawyer and a work horse of his father in Congress.

     Even when he was congressman representing the third district where we belong, his presence, though quite regular in the city, was not felt by the younger generation. Of course he was popular and frequently bonded with by his former classmates in high school at the Ateneo de Davao University like the late Al Aboitiz, the late councilor Louie Villafuerte and many others who were sons or daughter of elite families during his time.

     But there is no arguing that times have changed. The younger generation voters, with majority of them first time to be voting this May 2022 elections, Ruy’s name even with his family name added, is already alien. That is why we believe that the mayoral candidate, though worthy as he is, may have a lot of time needed for some catching up. Therefore we believe that doing such will be a tall order for him and his leaders. They need to move around the city a lot and re-introducing himself with more emphasis on bringing back the name of his father. Even in the rural areas, especially in the uplands where the Lopez name used to be venerated considering his affinity with the indigenous inhabitants in the area, would already be possibly a rough sailing for the candidate. Why, because it cannot anymore be denied that most of the leaders of his father, the late Mayor Lopez, may not anymore be around to vouch for him. They were his father’s contemporaries and it is likely that they may not be already be around or that they may be too old to actively engage in a rigorous campaign sorties.

     On the other hand, whoever of the three Dutertes will finally become the final candidate for mayor, his family name is synonymous to authority, to the last resort for the people’s problem/s to be brought and see that particular Duterte as the provider of solution, whether or not such solution is something of expectation or fulfilled. Meaning, that a Duterte is the ultimate “go-to” official or the final problem solver.

     Now, back to one of our questions here: Is Ruy Elias Lopez a worthy candidate?  Yes, there is no doubt that he is. But as to whether his run can provide the excitement that used to characterize the pre-Duterte era local elections, we can say, without fear of contradiction that he could not. 

     Of course six more months could make a lot of difference for the Lopez candidacy. That is, if he is indeed very serious about it; that he will endeavor to fill at least even just a portion of the gaps in the requirements of a good mayoral run between now and May 2022.

     But as we said here in this space earlier, that is a very tall order and we cited some, if not all of the reasons. We just hope that Ruy Elias Lopez will be able to figutr it out in this crucial period in the election for the top post of the city; do a Rudy Duterte when the latter ran against the then formidable Zaf Respicio in 1988. Thanks to political genius of Ruy’s father and the late Senator Landring Almendras and the late Congressman Nonoy Garcia.



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