Nora Soriño .
ILIGAN City — The “15-0” ambition of the ticket of Mayor Celso Regencia in the last elections was almost realized. With the exception of two in his ticket, they all made it to victory.
Now, they’re running again with almost the same names.
Times have changed though. So, this writer’s fearless — I mean, “fearful” — forecast: no 15 – 0 this time for them. Why?
Like I said, times have changed. Regencia and the rest of his ticket were then perceived as the underdogs. The term does not refer to man’s best friend but there’s no quarrel if we use it on them, too. For example, there’s this story of a man who had a dog who was very thin with his mouth drooping and walks in a slowmo. The man’s friend asked what the name of the dog of his was and the owner answered: “Oww, we just name him ‘underdog’…” Ha, ha, corny.
The underdog image then of the mayor was due to his being imprisoned, a case of “ambush me,” his supporters believed. This was in connection of ambush of the convoy of the then congressman Vicente Belmonte, the mayor’s opponent, in December 2014 near the Laguingingan airport in which he was tagged as the mastermind. Belmonte survived the “ambush” but two of his aides died.
Pinoys love underdogs. That includes Iliganons. It helped, too, that their battlecry was to do away with corruption.
That phrase was with strong feelings. As in exclamation point!
Now, Regencia, et al., are no longer the underdogs.
“They’re now the ‘overdogs,’” says Felix, a friend. And they’re now the objects also of corruption allegations by the oppostion headed by Rep. Frederick Siao. Also with strong feelings. As in exclamation points!
Yet, the “red” team of Regencia is still the team to beat. That’s an inherent advantage for the incumbent, they say. “What are we in power for” was a favorite expression of the past and it is still true in the present and maybe, tomorrow, too. Everybody knows what that implies.
But incumbents also have a disadvantage. They are placed in a defensive position. Their transactions and behaviors are placed over some magnifying glass. Not only one magnifying glass but several. There are small, medium and large magnifying glasses.
If the opposition and their minions are good at it, well, the incumbents have to sweat under these glasses, so to speak.
For example, among the mud thrown at them is that of “overpriced supplies” like biscuits that cost P180 per pack when a pack costs only P6. Or some equipment that cost P57 million when it should have cost only P30 million. Or that the mayor, vice mayor and some councilors are friendly with the “kristo” the latter, they say can’t be found in the church but in the cockpit, losing as much as several hundred thousands, even a million per cock derby.
The city officials are not denying their friendliness with the “kristo,” you know, that obiquitous presence in big-time cockfights who is adept in gesturing who are the bettors and for how much. They say that this is “just a diversion.” They are not saying though how much each diversion cost them. Or whether all of that come from their pockets. It is understood though that all those come from their own pockets. But we know humans are suspicious. As in, in millennialspeak.
They’re doing something about the overpriced equipment. They say they are reviewing such transactions and analyzing the ah, suppliers.
There’s one allegation, too, that city officials have got to answer: that sometimes pre-bid conference are made…
At 1 o’clock dawn? Damn…
There. Those are some points why there’s 15-0 no more for the incumbents. But like I said, Regencia and Vera Cruz are still the team to beat. They might still win. But only by a breath away — meaning, they’ll be sweating very much for this victory. Kind of, as they say phyrrhic victory, meaning, at so much cost. That is, if Regencia and Vera Cruz will come out as winners together with some of their boys and girls in the other positions.
Like we said, no more “15-0” this time!