OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide () - May 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Before anything else, I will react to a beautifully crafted text message sent by the political officer of Sen. Loren Legarda. She carried the beautiful name Lorraine. I normally just keep comments from our readers for my own consumption only. But, I will make Ma'am Lorraine's note an exception because of the important information she revealed to me.

One. Ma'am Lorraine said that Hon. Councilor Augustus Pe is not the point man (my term) of Sen. Legarda. They are just friends and the city councilor is helping the senator's vice presidential ambition. This means that Hon. Pe is not campaigning for Sen. Mar Roxas, the vice presidential bet of BOPK where he belongs.

Two. Ma'am Lorraine is not aware of any marching orders given by His Honor, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, to Councilor Pe to campaign for Sen. Legarda. By acting on his own and in obvious disregard of Mayor Osmeña's stand, Councilor Pe is trying to demonstrate that BOPK tolerates the junking practice.

Three. Ma'am Lorraine said that Sen. Legarda, while a member of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) is aligned with Sen. Manuel Villar, NP presidential candidate. In emphasizing that Sen. Legarda remains steadfastly an NPC stalwart, she has no alliance with the KUSUG local party of former Mayor Alvin Garcia. I took the text of Ma'am Lorraine as a signal to the KUSUG that it could adopt its own bet for vice president.

So much for that text of Ma'am Lorraine.

The other day, former Sen. John H. Osmeña announced his withdrawal from the mayoralty race of Cebu City. That, I think, signals the end to the political endeavors of the revered Cebuano legislator.

I use the word "revered" because notwithstanding the harsh words leveled against him by his own cousin, Mayor Osmeña, and some of the senator's detractors, I remember the first time I witnessed him participate honorably as a member of the House of Representatives. I was then representing my school, UV, in a national student leaders' forum in Manila. In my effort to see how Congress' deliberation would proceed, I took a side trip to Congress. What I saw made me revere the senator, then our congressman.

Sen. Osmeña spoke of his fear. The specter of Cebu City's youth being brought to the drug lord's den chilled him no end. In his sorties thru the inner parts of the city, he claimed to have seen how the drug menace has grown and he feared the youths' future. Worse, according to him, was his information, mostly fed by Mayor Osmeña's second hand information, that a man, listed high in the battle of order of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, might be enjoying the protection of an aspirant for city mayor.

With that revelation, he anchored his fear. Fearful that the candidate for mayor, described as "drug lord protector", might get elected, the senator would not want to splinter the votes of the opposition. In his judgment, he also has his share of voters, in much the same way that the other opposition candidates have theirs, too. He realized that in their state of disunity, their chances of preventing a drug lord protector from being elected mayor are marginalized. Thus, he would rather suppress his personal interests and have his supporters cast their votes in favor of a common candidate.

No matter how I look at the move of the senator, I can only view it as a form of nationalism. If he withdraws from an electoral contest to give a winning chance to another candidate with less fearful agenda, that is nationalism to me. The senator's concern for the future of our young earns him that label. I may be extremely generous owing perhaps, to my first impression of him, but I am not sure if he knows me such that certainly I am not and cannot be his propagandist.

Yesterday, Hon. Vice Mayor Michael Rama, strengthened the perception Sen. Osmeña created. The vice mayor described the senator's desistance from the mayoralty race, as "tinalawan". In a manner of speaking, that confirms the fear of the senator and reinforces the call for unity among the opposition. If that fearful perception were indeed true, I can only expect Mayor Osmeña, to distance from his anointed successor and throw support to his sister. It is remote, but plausible.

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