Strange bedfellows

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

A consummate politician told me, many years ago, that politics is the art of compromise. In fact, he pursued his statement by saying that a politician, to be truly successful, need not play his game “too good”. There are times that he should compromise even his basic tenets in order to survive. I am not at liberty to reveal his name because the truth is that it was his counsel for me not to play it too good that caused the breakup of our alliance. It offended my youthful idealism.

More than being an art of compromise, politics makes strange bedfellows. I mean those times when men, different in political persuasions, come together and join forces to pursue a desired common goal. The internet explained the meaning of this mid-19th century idiom thus “meaning political alliances in a common cause that may bring together those of widely differing views.”

There are recent observable signs that point to politicians of different colors here in Cebu City becoming strange bedfellows. A focal point of observation is Kasambagan Barangay Capt. Franklyn Ong. Following Ong’s victory in the 2018 barangay elections, he set his attention at becoming the head of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC). He locked horns with Mabolo Barangay Capt. Niña Mabatid. Both of them were allied with the group of former mayor Tomas Osmeña. We then observed that their battle royale was a war of logistics that Ong won.

Today, if you happen to go around the city, you will see hundreds of large tarpaulins posted in almost every conceivable location. These are very expensive-looking materials that carry the face of Ong printed alongside the picture of other barangay captains. In Barangay Pit-os for instance, the photo of Barangay Capt. Nilo Tariman is printed on the tarpaulins with that of Ong’s while in Barangay Mabini, it is the image of Barangay Capt. Richard Adolfo’s. True, these tarpaulins announce a vigorous campaign for people to get vaccinated, but we see a political gimmickry behind it. And we have to acknowledge the advertising acumen of the Kasambagan village chief.

Early on in my mind, I thought that Barangay Capt. Franklin Ong was aiming to be vice mayor of this city. There were persistent reports that he would be the running mate of former mayor Tomas Osmeña. Their team-up would form a formidable opponent of an Edgardo Labella-Michael Rama tandem. But, lately, there have been reports that the face-off of Osmeña and Labella is not happening because the former is focused on getting the congressional representation of the south district and the latter is hounded by health concerns. It is thus bruited that Rep. Bebot Abellanosa will run for mayor and the BOPK will push Ong to be the vice mayoralty candidate.

Amidst all these are reports that Ong is not the best of Abellanosa’s friends. In fact, in some ABC meetings, Ong pounds questions on Abellanosa’s projects. Some of Ong’s allies who are not Osmeña supporters are asking that Rama take him as a running mate. If that should happen, we shall see the concretization of this thing called “strange bedfellows”.

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