Bencyrus Ellorin .
WHAT did Pompee La Viña smoke last Saturday that suddenly he thought, as he claims, to drop by the PBA game between Magnolia Hotshots and Meralco Volts to shake hands with Mayor Oscar S. Moreno?
As a damage control to an embarrassing situation he had placed himself in, La Viña tried to spin his presence in the out-of-town PBA game which was sponsored by Mayor Oscar Moreno, Kikang Uy, Klarex Uy and Alam Lim. He claimed that he went to the PBA game even after a tiring day of four rallies to shake the hands of Mayor Moreno?
Why would he suddenly want to press hands with the man he vilifies 24/7 since he set foot in the city to run for mayor?
Truth to tell: He wanted to show his Bong Go connection. When he passed by the mayor, Bong Go and Philip Salvador, he immediately shook hands with Go who was seated in the middle. He wanted to sit nearby but no one budged. Before leaving the three, Go motioned to him to shake the hands of Mayor Moreno. And the mayor, gentleman as he is, offered his hands.
As the game progressed in the middle of the first quarter, boos erupted from the rafters. Nothing unusual was happening in the hardcourt but, lo and behold, a man in denim blue polo shirt entered with an entourage in tow. As it became clear, he was the man who has been calling the mayor “kawatan.” Later, people started chanting “Moreno, Moreno, Moreno.”
The shame of getting booed, and then walking out at half time after Bong Go endorsed Team OKKA/20-0 was a comeuppance — a shame he brought upon himself.
Except for the boos, it may not have differed much had Felix Borres, another mayoral candidate, came to watch the game.
Candidates for national positions often encounter happy problems when barnstorming the provinces.
It is not unusual for opposing local candidates to share support for certain candidates. Such is the case of Bong Go. He is supported by the local slate of the PDP-Laban, dubbed as Team OKKA. In fact, Team OKKA is going the rounds every night to campaign for PDP-Laban’s “Mabago ko to” which stands for Mangudadatu, Bato, Go, Koko and Tolentino.
Bong Go and Bato dela Rosa were here over the weekend. The difference was Go solved his happy problem. He spent time with both the PDP-Laban, acknowledged the Team OKKA/20-0 in his speech at half-time of the out-of-town PBA game between Magnolia Hotshots and Meralco Bolts and the Padayon block earlier.
Dela Rosa had the temerity to meet with the opponent of President Duterte’s anointed one for the congressional seat of the city’s 2nd District. It was very unusual as the president has gone out of its way to endorse Liga ng mga Barangay president, Councilor Alam Lim. The most recent was the president’s phone call to Mayor Moreno.
Jeers to Bato’s ungratefulness!
Mayor Moreno had a lucky streak during his birthday week. The well-loved mayor turned 68 on Feb. 28.
First was the reversal by the Ombudsman its earlier finding of probable cause for grave misconduct, announced last Monday, Feb. 26. This means the Ajinomoto case is finally done. The administration aspect of the case was dismissed by the Court of Appeals in 2016.
Then on Friday night, at a pulong-pulong for the “Mabago ko to” senatorial slate in Barangay 40, President Duterte called. The phone call which was patched to the public address system was for the people to hear the president’s endorsement of Balaba, a former TV journalist and a close friend, and family friend Alam Lim.
The main points of the conversation between the president and the mayor were the following:
• The President acknowledged they are members of the Roa clan and schoolmates at the San Beda Law School.
• The President then asked for support for Balaba and Alam Lim. He said while he is accessible to the people, it would matter if the two, his close friends, are elected. He then tried to explain “nahikut man gud ko,” but quickly added, “haruson nalang nang tanan dha. Walay problema sa ako…”
He also thanked Moreno for the campaign they are making for “Mabago ko to,” and promised to come here soon.
• On his war on drugs, he said his last three years would be the most difficult time for those in the drug trade.
Last week, I had a conversation with a friend close to the Palace. I was told they are “listening” whether the raising of hands of a mayoral candidate by the President was gaining traction. While the endorsement may give some votes to the new guy, it may not matter much because of the “Dutreno” (Duterte-Moreno) majority block.
They may have listened.
(The author is a former journalist with experience in managing and editing online news portals here and abroad. He is now a public relations consultant and political campaigner. One of the social media groups he co-administered was a finalist in Globe’s Tatt award in 2012.)