Monday, November 06, 2006

It's Official: Philippine Election Season Starts

Barely a week has passed since the Supreme Court thumbed down the People's Initiative and the air is now abuzz with rumors of who will run for what office. Hopeful aspirants are now "doing the rounds," checking their bank accounts, assessing their "media contacts/political assets inventory," organizing caucuses, etc. - in local parlance it is called "positioning." It's as if, like in a race, our politicians were just waiting for the Supreme Court to sound the gun. And with the People's Initiative announced dead, the Philippine election season is now truly on.

In Iloilo City the talk of the town right now is the supposed plan of Senator Frank Drilon to vie for the city's Lone Congressional District post, which is currently being occupied by the son and namesake of DOJ Secretary Raul Gonzalez. But in a media forum in Iloilo, "still-Hyatt 10 member" Rene Villa (the former DAR Secretary and close associate of Drilon) and Senator Kiko Pangilinan (Drilon's Liberal party-mate) denied that Drilon intends to run for the said post. But actions speak louder than words - reports say that Drilon is starting to do the rounds and spending more time in the city and in fact has started his own free medical services program for indigents recently. There are also rumors that the fractured political opposition in Iloilo City will unite for the May 2007 polls under a Drilon (Congressman)-Malabor (Mayor)-Facultad (Vice Mayor) ticket. It is also interesting to note that the son of Governor Niel Tupas, Nielex, is intending to run not in their bailiwick (in the 5th District Iloilo) but as Councilor in Iloilo City together with former No. 1 Councilor Joshua Alim and incumbent Councilor Perla Zulueta.

For their part, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and Congressman Jun Gonzalez belittled the rumors, saying that they are quite confident that their LAKAS party will once again sweep the polls whether the local opposition is united or not. Although the two did not say it outright, but everyone in Iloilo City knows that they already "hold" almost all the Barangay Chairmen in the City. In fact, the usual comment of pundits here is: "where will Drilon get his barangay liders when almost all are already in Gonzalez's camp?" So the perception of Ilonggos right now is that Drilon's group is "dehado" and Gonzalez's party is "llamado." This is so because, by possessing the so-called "machinery vote" (which is roughly 15-20% of the total voting population in Iloilo City), the Gonzalez-Treñas group has "partida" or is already ahead of the Drilon group. Therefore, the two groups will campaign for and fight over the remaining 85-80% "market votes." Note that within this "market votes" are retail and wholesale votes (i.e. the "voting blocs" like Iglesia ni Cristo, El Shaddai, Adventists, urban poor groups, etc.). And if look at the track record of these "wholesale" voting blocs, they usually go for the "llamado" candidates or those they perceive are winnable. But all in all, the elections in Iloilo City promises to be very exciting should Drilon decide to vie for the post, especially if he manages to unite the local opposition.

In national news, the Opposition and Administration parties are also positioning their bets and both camps are bragging that they will sweep the polls. This early, ousted President Erap Estrada unveiled a complete, "powerhouse" senatorial line-up (which incidentally included 2 administration senators*), namely:

1. Loren Legarda
2. Manuel Villar*
3. Ralph Recto*
4. Kiko Pangilinan
5. Gregorio Honasan
6. Tessie Aquino Oreta
7. John Osmeña
8. Tito Sotto
9. Chiz Escudero
10. Alan Peter Cayetano
11. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III
12. JV Ejercito

Not to be left out, PGMA's political adviser Gabby Claudio also claimed that they will "cream" the opposition to "avenge" their PI defeat. But when pressed, he did not say who the candidates will be (takot siguro kay Ermita) only disclosing that they are still "screening" possible candidates (which means wala pa talaga sila line-up). But based on an earlier pronouncement by Mike Defensor, the following are most likely to comprise the administration line-up:

1. Mike Defensor
2. Angie Reyes
3. Francisco Duque
4. Prospero Nograles
5. Eduardo Ermita
6. Lito Atienza

I am also curious as to why "Small Mike" did not mention reelectionist Senator Joker Arroyo (who he claims as his mentor) and incumbent administration Senators Ralph Recto and Manuel Villar in his line-up. Probably it was just "spur of the moment" talking on the part of Mike.

Mike Defensor did not mention him but the scuttlebutt in Iloilo is that TESDA Director-General Augusto "Buboy" Syjuco is likewise running for senator and in fact has already thought of a monicker ala Mar Roxas's "Mr. Palengke." Syjuco wants to package himself as "Tito Kalbo" and has in fact a Sunday radio program with the same title.

Speaking of Mar, talk is he will be the campaign manager of the Liberal Party (Drilon Wing) senatorial slate, which tentatively is comprised of:

1. Noynoy Aquino
2. Kiko Pangilinan (it seems he is on everybody's list)
3. Randy David
4. Ruffy Biazon
5. Sonia Roco (as guest candidate)

I know that Mar's first love is behind-the-scenes campaign management. In fact, before he became Congressman he was his late brother Congressman Dinggoy's campaign manager. He is also very up-to-date when it comes to electoral campaign technologies and developments. So I am glad that he will be doing what he loves most this 2007 elections. Mar might even give Gabby Claudio a run for his money!


media savvy said...

sad, sad, sad....

Iloilo City Boy said...

Yes I wrote earlier that Edu Manzano is being considered for governor of Iloilo (for lack of winnable candidates vs. Governor Tupas)- see my October 30 entry.

media savvy said...

yes i commented there too.

as for mar roxas, can someone pls ask him where is the P500k he so brazenly publicized that he would donate to Guimaras oil spill victims? Press release na naman! Kagamo!

Iloilo City Boy said...

Nag-promise ba siya? Di bale kay sukma-an ko siya Media Savvy...

Anonymous said...

pwde ka ask ano gid ang duties n responsibilities sing isa ka city councilor? diri sa iloilo city