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‘The fox and the grapes’

Herbie Gomez .

BY July 1, Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno and Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano will start serving their third office terms. They will also be constitutionally barred from seeking reelection in 2022. That means Moreno isn’t going to be the “star” in the 2022 show in Cagayan de Oro; neither is Emano going to be one in Misamis Oriental.

The two political victors, both wounded, are recuperating now but sooner or later, as they rise and prepare for their next political battle, they would most likely find the political forces realigning in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental.

By all indications, the realignment of the forces would be a major one given that the legal restriction on local chief executives already serving their third office terms would naturally boot them out of their current offices. Add to this is the fact that, for the first time in decades, there will no longer be a Dongkoy Emano factor both in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental.

Political allegiances are bound to change because whether one likes it or not, Oca Moreno will cease to be mayor of Cagayan de Oro while Bambi Emano won’t be governor of Misamis Oriental by mid 2022.

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The major players in the next elections in the city and the province are going to be political families.

(There is a newcomer, Councilor-elect Girlie Balaba, who has the potentials of becoming a 2022 game changer because of her being the apple of Duterte’s eyes, but the well-oiled broadcaster turned politician is still unreadable.)

In Cagayan de Oro, it’s going to be the families of Rep. Rolando Uy of the 1st District and Representative-elect Rufus Rodriguez of the 2nd District. Imagine what happens if the two political families reach an agreement not to fight each other and just coalesce!

The Emanos would still have factored in the city had outgoing Councilor Nadya Elipe, who replaced her late father Dongkoy, succeeded in unseating Uy’s son Kikang, the current vice mayor. Winning in the vice mayoral race would have given the Emanos a strategic position and a fighting chance in the city in 2022. But instead, the Emanos’ Padayon Pilipino party was nearly decimated in the city in last week’s elections; the only surviving Padayon Pilipino member in the city council is Councilor Lordan Suan.

The Padayon Pilipino however remains strong in Misamis Oriental but given the fact that Gov. Bambi Emano will be left with no choice but to step down in 2022, it would be interesting to see how he would be able to sustain the strength of his Misamis Oriental group that will find itself without an option but to look for a new standard bearer who can call the shots.

Nadya’s husband, provincial board member Prexy Elipe, would have increased the chances of the governor keeping the capitol under his family’s control or influence beyond 2022. But Elipe lost in the vice gubernatorial race to provincial board member Jigjag Pelaez.

In Misamis Oriental’s 1st District, the major players would be the family of outgoing congressman and Gingoog vice mayor-elect Peter Unabia, the Pelaez brothers, and possibly, the Guingonas who may attempt a comeback following their crushing defeat in the May 13 elections.

In the province’s 2nd District, it’s still going to be the family of the Batman-and-Robin team of Julio and Juliette Uy and, of course, Gov. Emano who may or may not seek his old congressional post. Or, Bambi may choose to run for vice governor the way his father did when he gave Tinnex Jaraula the chance to lead the city from 2007 to 2010. In order to do that, the governor has to find another Tinnex Jaraula, a winnable bet, who’s willing to give the post back to him in a silver platter after three years. But who among the big names in Misamis Oriental’s politics today are willing to do a Jaraula? The Unabias? The Uys? The Pelaezes?

Whether Bambi, the last politically fit Emano standing, chooses to take a rest from politics or seek another position, one thing looks almost certain: the next governor will no longer be from the Emano family.

***

There was an ancient Greek storyteller named Aesop who was credited for a number of fables collected across the centuries. Although the historicity of his life is in doubt owing to the absence of writings that he clearly authored, a body of work called Aesop’s Fables that has been credited to him has become part of the storytelling tradition that continues up to this day.

One of the Aesop fables, No. 15 in the Perry Index, has been immortalized in the 1884 English translation by Harrison Weir (although there are other versions). Weir’s translation of what was claimed to be based on original sources: “A famished Fox saw some clusters of ripe black grapes hanging from a trellised vine. She resorted to all her tricks to get at them, but wearied herself in vain, for she could not reach them. At last she turned away, beguiling herself of her disappointment, and saying: ‘The Grapes are sour, and not ripe as I thought.’”

Here is a fox that wanted to feed on grapes from a vine but failed to reach them. After repeated attempts, it chose to convince itself that the grapes were green and wouldn’t taste good anyway and then left without acknowledging its inability to figure out how it can get hold of some of the juicy fruit.

Norwegian social and political theorist Jon Elster calls such pattern of mental behaviour “adaptive preference formation.” It is when someone attempts at reducing his feeling of mental discomfort as a result of his conflicting attitudes, ideas or behaviours by expressing disdain and criticizing others — everyone or everything — but himself.

For those in need of a refresher or who forgot what their English teacher taught them, The Fox and the Grapes is where the expression “sour grapes” originated from. Pastilan.

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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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