The Three Kings and Three Musketeers in Philippine and Cebu Politics

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - January 6, 2020 - 12:00am

Three is a lucky number in 2020, according to astrologists. Who are the three most powerful politicians in the Philippines today? Who are Cebu's most credible and perceived officials who are the strongest local politicians this time?

The sixth of January had always been known as the feast of the Three Kings, which should demarcate the end of the Christmas season in the Philippines. However, I have been told by my parish priest that the Vatican has changed its liturgical calendar and transferred the feast to the Sunday most proximate to January the sixth. That means yesterday. Nonetheless, we write on the three most important kingpins in Philippine politics today. I would hasten to add who are the top three most powerful politicians in Cebu today, with three supporting reserves. The same is true in Cebu politics. In the hands of these 12 individuals lie the future. They are my own choices, based on my own set of criteria, which includes, organization and network of influence, money and logistics, and credibility and popularity.

In the Philippines, the three kings of politics are President Rodrigo Duterte, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, and an unnamed powerful businessman who has the money and the influence as kingmaker. In Cebu the three kings are Gwendolyn Garcia (should we call her queen?), first district and Cebu's most senior congressman Eddie Gullas, and, hold your breath, Congressman Duke Frasco of Cebu's 5th District. The three musketeers of Philippine politics are Manila City mayor Isko Moreno, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, and Inday Sara Duterte Carpio. The kings have already proven themselves. The musketeers are those who have tremendous potentials. The three musketeers in Cebu are Cebu City mayor Edgar Labella, Vice Mayor Mike Rama, and Deputy Speaker PJ Garcia.

President Duterte has a very high popularity rating. He is the single most influential political leader in the Philippines today. He now has an organization and wide network of influence among local government leaders. The solid north of the Marcoses is strongly behind him. Central Luzon is also supporting him due to his alliance with GMA, and other leaders in Central Luzon. Even, southern Tagalog is behind Duterte. All these in addition to Mindanao and the Visayan blocs are enough to propel him as a vice presidential timber, whether his presidential bet is Bongbong or Inday Sara. Bongbong is still strong because of the solid north and the money of the Marcoses. Philippine politics is about money, organization, and popularity. Marcos has chunks of shares of the three factors. The unnamed power broker is known by all but whose identity is just whispered around.

In Cebu, there is no more powerful politician today who will stand a chance to beat Governor Gwen. She consolidated her powers, strengthened her network, connected herself with the Duterte bandwagon. And she has money, a lot of money, bundles of them. But she needs to win the case filed against her. Next is Congressman Eddiegul, the most durable, best-loved, and perhaps the most clean of them all. He has no enemy and his only disadvantage is age, but even that is turning out to be a positive factor. He is highly respected even by his potential rivals. I have never heard any negative remarks against him. Duke Frasco is the brightest new shining star in Cebu politics. He achieved something that no one ever experienced for more than 70 years, defeating a Durano and ending the Durano dynasty.

The Cebu musketeers, Edgar Labella, Mike Rama, and PJ Garcia are still young and will have enough time. They are clean, and full of passion and energy. They need a mature adviser so that their moves would be well-planned, calculated and with optimum impact. I am sorry to say that the days of the Osmeñas, Cuencos, Duranos, and the Kintanars of Argao are over. These are different times, with new challenges. New kings and musketeers are going to lead us in this new world.


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