Monday, October 30, 2006

Edu Manzano for Governor??

THE GUARDIAN, a local daily in Iloilo, has reported that Edu Manzano may challenge incumbent Iloilo Governor Niel Tupas in the 2007 polls citing DOJ Secretary Raul Gonzalez, the party honcho of LAKAS in Iloilo province, as their source. Manzano, who is currently Chair of the Optical Media Board (OMB), has roots in Concepcion, a town in northern Iloilo and speaks Ilonggo fluently.

I believe that Edu Manzano's name is being floated because there is currently a dearth of strong candidates to challenge Tupas, a Liberal allied with Senator Frank Drilon. At one time or another, the names of Vice Governor Obet Armada, Congressman Rolex Suplico, and Congresswoman Jeanette Garin were floated but eventually fizzled out. Now, it's Edu Manzano's turn to be "floated" and in the succeeding months we will know if his "candidacy" will pick up in the province.

If it is true that Mr. Manzano is indeed planning to run for Governor of Iloilo, it will be the first time that a showbiz personality will vie for that office. I have nothing against showbiz personalities entering politics. For example, Vilma Santos seems to be doing okay in Lipa. What I am against are those moviestars who, eventhough they know they don't possess the requisite intelligence, management skills and familiarity with policy issues, run for office only on the strength of their popularity (Richard Gomez, who is reportedly eyeing the gubernatorial post of Bulacan, comes to mind). But Edu Manzano has some experience in politics (he was formerly as Vice Mayor of Makati) and also some skills in managing a large government bureaucracy (as Chair of OMB) so I think he is qualified to vie for the post. But having been "away" for so long, the question in my mind is whether he is familiar with the current issues and problems the province is facing today. And although I like his sense of humor (I believe he has more promise as a comedian than as a dramatic actor), I have serious doubts as to whether he can "acclimatize" himself quickly in Ilonggo politics and issues.

So, will good looks and moviestar popularity defeat party machinery and old-school politics? I do not know. The only other showbiz personality I know who entered Ilonggo politics was the late Rio Diaz (who married Congressman Charlie Conjuangco and became Vice Mayor of Pontevedra, Negros Occidental) and her winning I believe had less to do with her celebrity than her being married to a Cojuangco. Thus, positive voter reaction to a moviestar candidate has not been proven yet in Western Visayas. Also, the trend nowadays even in moviestar-struck Metro Manila (as shown in the loss of Rudy Fernandez in Quezon City, Philip Salvador in Mandaluyong, Joey Marquez in ParaƱaque, etc.) seems to be that good looks and celebrity are no longer sure-fire guarantees of electoral victory. In order to win, Manzano must first show that he is serious in running for the post. Most important, he must not only show Ilonggos that he has the necessary political skills and managerial ability but must be able to convince them that he is in fact a far better administrator than Governor Tupas. How he will do that is up to his campaign team.


media savvy said...

Have nothing against Edu personally (neither against Gov. Tupas), but can he do something about Guimaras first? Here's one celebrity who could probably have galvanized his fellow celebs for a fund raiser for the oil spill victims, the way their counterparts in the US always spring to action after disasters (9/11, Hurricane Katrina, etc.) But sadly, I have yet to hear of any concerted effort from Ilonggo stars, like Edu, in this regard. How can we believe he has any iota of concern for Iloilo?

Besides, he has hardly made any headway in the fight against piracy, as head of OMB. Anywhere you go, whether it be Greenhills, Mile Long, or Ruins, etc. there are still a lot of pirated CDs/DVDs still being sold. Speculations are rife on why this is so...but I won't mention them here. ;-)

Iloilo City Boy said...

Quite true. But the fact that he is being considered by LAKAS Party elders for the gubernatorial post, despite his "shortcomings," says a lot about the state of politics in this country wherein more premium is given to popularity rather than track record and experience. I think it is also unfair for aspiring local politicians who spent years building up their reputations, working hard to improve their areas, only for the highest post in the province to be "usurped" by an "outsider." Most elected officials in Iloilo worked hard to get were they are now. Congresswoman Jeanette Garin, for example, is a summa cum laude and a medical physician, young and hard-working. I think she is qualified for the post. Governor Tupas started his political career as a Councilor then rose up to Mayor, Congressman and Governor so he has decades of experience in public administration.

Anonymous said...

Hope that the province will not be tainted by showbiz. There are alot of intellectual people in Iloilo to run the public office.