Saturday, September 23, 2006

Thing I'd Like to See This May 2007 Elections

While buying a pack of Marlboro Lights in our neighborhood tiangge, I overheard a group of tambays hotly discussing certain polticial candidates and their chances of winning in the May 2007 elections. Their "political permutations" were not only entertainingly funny but were also quite right on. Their "in-depth political analyses" would have given Professor Pepe Miranda (of Pulse Asia) a run for his money. It is then that I realized that elections will definitely push thru. Not only are our friendly neighborhood tambays talking about it, recent developments are also pointing towards that direction what with Joe d V's cha cha choo choo train losing steam and the Sigaw ng Bayan-inspired People's Initiative encountering a blank wall.

Not to be outdone, I am also listing down the things that I would like to see this coming May 2007 elections. Katuwaan lang ni:

1. Susan Roces running against Iggy Arroyo. Miss Roces, Susan Sonora in real life, is a true-blue Negrense who was studying at La Consolacion College-Bacolod City before entering showbusiness. She spent most of her childhood in Negros Occidental and continues to have some relatives in the province.

At present, there is no local politician in the 5th District of Negros Occidental who is strong enough to challenge Congressman Ignacio "Iggy" Arroyo. The said district's former representative, Apolinario "Jun" Lozada (whom Iggy defeated in 2001), is not making his presence felt. Besides, should Lozada decide to square off with Iggy again, local pundits predict that he will be soundly defeated. On the other hand, the widow of screen legend Fernando Poe Jr. will surely give Mr. Arroyo a run for his money (no pun intended). For several years now, the Erap-FPJ opposition group has been outwitted, outsmarted and outclassed by MalacaƱang's political operatives and their every political gambit defeated time and again. If they are able to ease out Iggy from Congress, then it would be a small but meaningful victory for their group para makatikim naman ng panalo ang grupo nila. And besides, gusto ko rin naman makitang matalo paminsan minsan ang pamilyang Arroyo.

In a Roces-Arroyo fight, I predict that the political Godfather of Negros Occidental, Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco would remain neutral since he has close ties to both. I also know for a fact that Iloilo 4th district Congressman Ferj Biron (who is a self-made millionaire) would be more than happy to see Iggy go and may even throw in some moolah to Susan's campaign kitty. This is so because the sister of Iggy, Marilou Arroyo-Lesaca, will be running against Biron in Iloilo. So the fight would be about even steven - a classic "moviestar popularity vs. money/machinery" grudge fight. The only downer is, I don't know if Miss Roces was able to register in Negros Occidental in time for the one-year minimum residency for candidates.

2. Cong. Ferj Biron running for Governor of Iloilo. A doctor of medicine by profession, Ferjenel "Ferj" Biron is a self-made man who made his millions importing cheap medicines from India and/or Pakistan and selling it here in the Philippines. Coming from a family of modest means in Barotac Nuevo, Ferj put himself through medical school in Iloilo City thru hard work, discipline and natural intellect. During the 1998 elections, he ran for congressman in the 4th district of Iloilo but lost to the incumbent, the late Congressman Narciso "Narcing" Monfort of Dumangas, Iloilo (who is incidentally also a medical doctor like Biron. Monfort's unforgettable campaign tagline was "Narcing na, Doctor pa!"). In the last 2001 elections, Ferj again ran but this time against former Passi Mayor Jesry Palmares, scion of the politically-prominent Palmares clan of Iloilo. This time, he won.

This coming May 2007 elections, Biron will again face a formidable opponent in the person of presidential sister-in-law Marilou Arroyo-Lesaca. Although not a tumandok (old-timer) of Iloilo, Lesaca was convinced to run for Congress upon the prodding of Biron's old nemesis, Jesry Palmares. Last month, Biron's fellow colleagues Iloilo Representatives Art Defensor, Janet Garin and Rolex Suplico approached Lesaca to ask her to run for Governor instead. The three representatives offered to unite and combine their political might in support of her gubernatorial bid if only to prevent "all-out war" between two administration forces in Iloilo (Biron is still a member of the administration Lakas Party in Congress). To their dismay, Lesaca turned down their offer.

As of the moment, there is no administration party stalwart in Iloilo strong enough to seriously challenge the incumbency of Governor Niel Tupas. At various times, the names of Vice Governor Armanda, Garin, Suplico and Lesaca were "floated" as possible challengers to Tupas but all eventually fizzled out. Formerly with the administration coalition, Governor Tupas chose to stick it out with Senator Franklin Drilon after the latter asked President Arroyo to resign in what is now known as the "Hyatt 10 Press Conference." Understandably, MalacaƱang wants Tupas out of the Iloilo Provincial Capitol.

If I were Biron's political handler, I would advise him to run for Governor instead. Let Lesaca have the 4th district, tutal mas mataas naman ang Governor e. I will also advise him to tell the three Iloilo congressmen: "O sige, ako na lang iiwas kay Lesaca. Tatakbo akong Governor if only to prevent 'all-out war' and defeat Tupas. Pero dapat suportahan ninyo akong tatlo." If Lesaca in her vindictiveness still decides to go after Biron and run for governor, at least I would have raised the financial stakes -- Lesaca now has to raise money to fund an electoral campaign in five legislative districts instead of one! (It is said that if there's something that Ferj has a lot of, it is money.) And Inday Marilou's " pagka-vengatibo " and Toto Ferj's "Christian-like humility" could be played up as a campaign issue in the local media and might just tip the scales in favor of Biron.

3. Alex Lacson running for the 6th District of Negros Occidental. Remember the book "12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do to Help Our Country" which generated quite a buzz awhile back? Well, "12 Things.." was written by Alexander "Alex" Lacson, a young Manila-based lawyer who hails from Kabankalan, Negros Occidental. Idealistic yet soft-spoken, intelligent yet humble, Atty. Lacson to me is the epitome of what a leader should be. Despite his prominent-sounding surname, Alex grew up poor and put himself through school with the help of his many siblings. He first studied at the Philippine Military Academy but finding out that military life was not for him transferred to UP where he eventually finished his law degree (You can read more about him if you buy the book). Congress needs a fellow like him.

4. Rolex Suplico running for Senator. This did not come from me: this is the "buzz" currently circulating in Iloilo's coffeeshops. I suspect this "Rolex-for-Senator rumor" was floated by Suplico's camp in order for them to get a feel of the people's reactions. Be that as it may, I am interested to see how Suplico will fare considering that he is not even remotely within striking distance of the "Magic Circle of 12."

Incidentally, Rolex like Alex is also a former PMA cadet who quit and studied law in UP. Suplico is an "estranged" nephew of Governor Niel Tupas and is married to Teresa Cancio-Suplico whose family owns Goodwill Bookstore.

5. Nong Tawe running for Mayor of Roxas City. Emmanuel Billones or Nong Tawe to those who know him has been a trusted political lieutenant of the Roxas family for generations, and I mean it literally. Nong Tawe had worked for the late Senator Gerry Roxas in the '60s - 70s, the late Congressman Dinggoy Roxas from the mid-80s to early-90s and Senator Mar Roxas from the early-90s to date. His is a type of loyalty quite rare in politics nowadays. I would like to see him become Mayor of Roxas City for I believe that that kind of loyalty should have its rewards, di bala?

6. Toby Monsod appointed Chair/Commissioner of COMELEC. Toby Melissa Monsod is young, driven and very strict. Most importantly, she is IT-savvy having worked as DTI Assistant Secretary for IT and chairperson of ITECC. These I believe are the characteristics that a Commissioner (or Chair) of COMELEC should possess. Moreover, she had previous experience in the Commission having worked as her father's Chief of Staff back when Christian Monsod was still Chair.


mong said...

there was a rumor na tatakbo si susan sa qc vs belmonte, kaso sinabi agad ni susan na wala siyang balak tumakbo sa susunod na halalan

Iloilo City Boy said...

In my opinion Belmonte is doing a good job in QC so it would be unfortunate if Miss Roces would run against him. But as you said, wala siya balak tumakbo.

Anonymous said...

About the 5th District - Iggy Arroyo defeated Jun Lozada and fmr. Board Member Bebot Mirasol in a three-cornered fight last 2004.

Anonymous said...

Obviously you are a person who does not know the real Ferj Biron. You are just a person who has been fooled again by his "Christian like Humility". Ferj started of by swindling his way thru life. Does a good Christian bribe directors to win bids for his business? Does a good christian bribe people to win an election? Does a good Christian lie under oath? Ferj is blinded right now by his arrogance and you are also being blinded by his charades. You are his friend now but lets give it a couple of months before thats changes and you realize his true nature. All his enemies now were his best friends before....Monfort and Tupas to name a few. You will be added to his list shortly if it hasnt happened already. He hasnt done anything for the people of the 4th district and thats why hes afraid hes going to lose against lesaca. Pity the people of Iloilo and spare them from allowing him to run for governor.