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Opinion

Politicians’ commitment fluid  

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT - Atty. Ruphil Bañoc - The Freeman

During national elections, many people wait with bated breath as to the bets of local politicians.

Like patient suitors, presidentiables wait for the sweet yes. But local politicians are clever ones. They know how to play the game. Therefore, what you see as their “commitment” is most of the time no commitment at all. In other words, everything is still fluid at this stage.

It can still be recalled that in his presidential bid Jejomar Binay got the nod of One Cebu through the leadership of the current governor. When the tide of public support went to then candidate Rody Duterte, Binay had to be dumped, although we do not really know what happened inside.

To his credit, Mayor Michael Rama stayed with Binay to the end. For some people, such act hurt Rama’s candidacy. Mike lost to Tomas.

Former Mayor Tomas Osmeña supported Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party. But he had to ride on the tide, albeit indirectly. He continued to publicly support Mar, but the “Let’s DO (Duterte-Osmeña) it” slogan was all over the city. Osmeña knew the pulse of the people.

So, don’t get too excited if your mayor, governor or congressman is supporting your presidential candidate today. Most politicians don’t decide on the basis of unshakeable principles. They are pragmatists. They decide based on what’s best for their career or their political future.

We will all see the evidence of this when the election is already very near, and when to their estimation, the victory of a presidential candidate becomes irreversible.

Prior to that, they will send mixed signals. They will raise the hand of a presidential candidate today, and then do the same with another candidate the following day. They can, of course, offer every excuse under the sun for doing such act. They say the Capitol or the City Hall is open to every visitor that comes, including presidentiables.

Aside from the knowing the pulse of the people, politicians also decide based on who can give them the funds and other considerations. It’s about the “sibot and sabot”. They will not just carry national candidates without valid and concrete reasons for doing so.

Only very few local political parties can rely on their own funds. They tend to beg for it from the national parties. Some Cebu political parties, however, are part of the few. I refer to BOPK, for example, which can run its own campaign without the resources to be provided by Manila. The same may be said of Partido Barug, Alayon, One Cebu, and Bakud.

This may explain in part why national candidates are tireless in courting the Cebuanos. This is on top of the fact that Cebu is a vote-rich province with more than two million voters.

This is not to say that outside resources will be insignificant because in political combat every possible help cannot be discounted.

Again, on who will be the bet of local politicians, it is simply too early to be so sure. It is always wise not to count the chicks until they have hatched.

My piece of advice to ordinary voters is that do not be too emotional to the point of calling your friends, relatives, neighbors, etcetera “stupid” or “bogo” just because you have different opinions on who your bets are. Do not allow relationships to be ruined just because of your loyalty to politicians who do not even know you personally.

MICHAEL RAMA

Philstar
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