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ROUGH CUTS | Davao City’s local polls could be exciting

Vic N. Sumalinog

LET us start our column today in a sad note.

     We learned through social media that the husband of our friend Ms. Olive Puentespina whom we had worked with before in an emergency response NGO, died last November 15, 2021. Yes, Dr. Roberto Palmares Puentespina Jr. or Dr. Bo to his friends had peacefully joined our creator. He was the son of iconic Davao Orchid grower Charita P. Puentespina and Roberto Puentespina Sr.

    The cause of his death was not stated in a social media-posted obituary which could have immediately answered the question of many on what caused his death.

     But to us, we would rather that we let time provide the answer to that question. Instead, we’d prefer that we ask how he lived his life and not how he died. Bo Puentespina, a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine, was a passionate environmentalist and devoted lover of nature. And that is possibly the reason why when he was up to his death, involved in the operation of the Malagos Garden Resort and the company’s other side businesses which include a dairy farm, he introduced measures that made not just the employees but the customers also aware of the need to protect the environment as well as to treat the animals like fellow habitats in this universe.

     Now that he is gone untimely we are hoping that he had bequeathed his ideal traits to those he left behind especially his widow Olive and children.

     We extend our heart-felt condolences to Dr. Bo’s family. Rest in peace Doc.


     After last Monday’s deadline in the substitution of candidates expired at 5 in the afternoon of that day, the local political scenario in Davao City has become clear as crystal. That of the national landscape however, is getting even more muddled and is creating a much murkier political water.

     It is even making harder to fathom what is in the mind of President Rodrigo Duterte when he made Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go run for President and carry another political party as platform of his candidacy instead of the PDP-Laban Cusi faction which has been banded around for the longest time as the administration party. Of course Senator Go would not be made to carry another vice presidential tandem but Mayor Sara. In other words, it would become an all-Davao team.

     And since the President is also running for senator, will he be endorsing the Go-Sara tandem when he will barnstorm in Marcos country, the Ilocos Region? We have no idea how awkward it would be if that happens.

     But as is the message of one common mantra among Philippine politicians crafting a strategy just to attain one’s objective is not limited to what is morally acceptable.  That is, if it has to go beyond the norms, then so be it as long as it makes one win.

     On the local front however, the move of Mayor Sara to abandon her reelection bid and instead opt to run for the Vice Presidency is giving the possibility of an excitement-laden election for the mayorship. 

     With Vice Mayor Basti Duterte substituting Sara for the city’s top post the other aspirants, especially lawyer Ruy Lopez, may have a better chance of putting up an electoral fight. The battle though, may be an uphill struggle if the availability of resources in the duration of the campaign is factored, which is certain of course.

     Ruy definitely has the edge over Basti in terms of experience in running a public office. He was a workhorse in the office of his late father while still a congressman. Even in his younger years when his father the late Elias Baguio Lopez, was mayor of Davao City, Ruy possibly could have unknowingly undergone tutorship in running the city.  The likelihood is that he might have keenly observed what his father did and how he deal with people of different persuasions.

     And certainly, Ruy is truly a son to his father– passionate in all his work, perfectly placed strictness, and above all a family man not only to his sons and daughters but also to his constituents.

     Ruy is also a lawyer and need not be dependent on anyone including his advisers in making a wise and informed decision on things related to governance. But he, too, is a firm believer of consensus-taking in arriving at a decision.

     On the other hand, Basti, as we earlier said, is still wanting in experience as a local government executive. It is no secret that he once led a “happy-go-lucky” life even as he successfully dodge the glare of being the son of Davao’s top politician unlike others who prefer to share in the limelight.

     The Vice Mayor and mayoral candidate is now in his law school. How he is faring we have no idea. While he has been heading the city’s legislative department for the last three years we still have to see some kind of a barometer with which to measure the performance of the City Council under his leadership. Say, how many proposed ordinances have been passed and are already in effect vis-à-vis the number of those introduced. Also, people need to know how many ordinances of major importance have been passed, approved by the mayor and implemented in response to a given situation like the Water Code, the Amendment of the Zoning Ordinance and some others. The Vice Mayor as head of that department in the local government could have done a much better job if he is aware of all these things – the sometime unwritten requirements attendant to the responsibilities of the Vice Mayor’s office.

     But there is no doubt that Basti has the insurmountable back-up like that of his family’s surname, the resources that are at his easy call, a father who calls the shot in the entire country, and whose influence has definitely rubbed in on his former mayor and now vice presidential candidate sister and re-electionist first district congressman brother. Those definitely are aces on Basti’s sleeves that are ready for the pulling in his mayoralty run.

     How the leading candidates for Mayor of Davao City will capitalize on their individual advantages will most likely impact on their chances in the May 9, 2022 polls. Let us to see. 


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