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The boat is sinking

Bencyrus Ellorin . 

IN September 2015, with Mayor Oscar Moreno fighting several cases, among them the Ajimomoto case, allies thought that the mayor’s boat was sinking.

The biggest political setback then was the decision of the then 2nd District congressman Rufus Rodriguez to run for mayor. Many allies of Moreno, including his city administrator and support groups in the 2013 election, jumped ship and joined Rufus.

I remember getting early morning calls that September 2015 morning about the announcement of Rufus to contest Moreno’s post. I was not surprised. Before that Sunday, the officials of the Centrist Democratic Party were holed up in a Makati hotel with their German benefactors.

Late in the morning of that Sunday, Barangay Lapasan kapitan Omar Labuntog called to invite me for lunch with some friends. He had an 8 o’clock evening flight back home and so we thought Market Market in the BGC, Taguig, was ideal–it is near the airport.

Naturally, the topic was Cagayan de Oro politics. I got to greet the former congressman by phone when Kapitan Omar handed his phone mobile after they talked. I greeted him happy birthday. Later on, he texted me asking me to support his candidacy.

I had thought his decision to run was premature. Mayor Moreno was still warming up and has shown a solid performance despite the babag city council. Later that afternoon, I got a call from friends at the city hall, asking me to support the mayor.

Unlike Rufus, I did not have a direct line to Mayor Moreno. I had a one-on-one interview with him a couple of times, but that was it.

When it was time for Kapitan Omar to rush to the airport after buckets of SM Light, I said that I’ll support mayor Moreno’s reelection bid. But my support was not of consequence. I was, and has always been an outspoken supporter of Mayor Moreno not for anything but because of his felt performance.

Unlike populists who have the penchant for citing the kabus and dinaug-daug in their rhetorics, making promises, always saying yes, Mayor Moreno seeks out solutions and capacitates the local bureaucracy and the community to implement solutions.

Of course, the Moreno administration survived political treachery and opportunism. Those who jumped ship to the other side were left holding the bag, warming their seats at that house on 12-30 Sts., Nazareth. Of course, they, too, lost in 2016.

Fast forward to the present, Mayor Moreno has consolidated his forces. With Vice Mayor Kikang Uy, the administration has a super majority at the city council.

After the barangay election, majority of the barangay chairpersons gravitated to Moreno’s side led by no less than the Liga ng mga Barangay president Alam Lim.

There was also a reversed exodus from the “violet” and “orange” camps. The latest from the “violet” is Alam Lim and majority of the barangay chairpersons. From the “orange,” no less than the CDP president has jumped ship to join Moreno. Agusan’s Ebod Melliza has also joined the Moreno team. One of the “orange” spokespersons, former Lapasan kapitan Omar Labuntog, has also thrown his support for Moreno’s team.

From that meeting at the Market Market, Kap Omar and I continued the conversation–this time, we are on the same side, supporting Alam Lim and Team OKKA.

But one question lingers on: why did they leave that camp on 12th-30th Sts., Nazareth?

(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.)

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