Leadership crucible
OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide (The Freeman) - June 13, 2019 - 12:00am

The seemingly ongoing developments in the unpredictable world of Cebu City politics are turning to be a test on the leadership for Mayor-elect Edgardo Labella. I am referring to the reported intramural involving the local leaders of PDP Laban. If we were to consider the rumors that fed on the rumblings in the city’s political ground, Councilor-elect Nina Mabatid, of the north district, appears to the central figure.

There is no doubt that this lady councilor is a member of ruling PDP Laban. Her campaign posters showing her hand raised by President Rodrigo Duterte showed her apparent closeness to the president. No other bet for the city sanggunian either of the north or south district was so privileged. I wondered why I did not see any election material of re-electionist Councilor Raymond Garcia’s hand raised by the president when it was reported that he was the personality who organized the first appearance of President Duterte here in the third quarter of 2018. It looked to me that the president’s personal endorsement should be a factor that made Mabatid reach as high as number two when the votes were counted.

To be sure, the local candidates of PDP Laban for councilor in the north district, aside from Mabatid, were Raymond Garcia, Joel Garganera, Ramil Ayuman, Ernest Herrera and Noel Wenceslao. There were six of them. The other two, Jun Alcover and Rey Lauron had the Certificates of nomination of UNA which were signed by Michael Rama. Mayor elect Labella headed the PDP Laban. Congressional bet Richard Yap also carried the PDP Laban banner.

The brewing squabble reportedly involves Mabatid, on one side, and her party mates in the PDP Laban camp, on the other.  This is where Labella, should look into. Insiders told me that the campaign strategies of Mabatid, buoyed up by huge funds, did not sit well with her party mates. She had “Warriors” a term she coined for her leaders in every sitio in each barangay. I observed that those warriors worked in as relentless manner as well paid employees would. For example, when I passed by Sitio Huyong-huyong, Barangay Bacayan, on my way home from farm one early evening, I saw three of Mabatid’s Sitio leaders on their job!

That those warriors campaigned for Mabatid alone seemed to be the rancor in her party mates’ heart. The five other PDP Laban candidates for councilor felt that the efforts of the hordes of the Mabatid campaigners were focused on making her get number one such that they forgot she had co-candidates to help. Indeed I heard, after election, that had she carried the entire slate in her huge and well-funded campaign organization, there would have been more winners from the PDP Laban.

Labella then has to deal with the agony of those in his political party who lost supposedly on Mabatid’s one upmanship. It is going to be ticklish. The balancing is not going to be easy. If the Mabatid strategy complained of were true, Labella has to find out why she did it.

EDGARDO LABELLA
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