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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, April 6, 2016
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Slugging time - 3


There is little slugging between Vice Mayor Greg Gasataya and former Vice Mayor Thaddy Sayson who are both eyeing to represent Bacolod in the Congress. They were councilor for several terms and had been vice mayor as well. In this sense both have legislative experience that will do them well in Congress.

Under Sayson's leadership, the Bacolod Sanggunian received national recognition for its performance as the best in the country. He was fortunate that he had a council that was cooperative and not beholden to a mayor who dictated what it should do. Unfortunately people did not consider this good enough when he ran for mayor in 2013. Will he make it to Congress where the clash of ideas and arrogance are most palpable?

Vice Mayor Greg Gasataya had a council that hears only the voice of Monico Puentevella rather than the welfare of the people. Thus Gasataya was tied down by the composition of his council and this prevented him from showing his best. When Puentevella was suspended by the Sandigan for graft and Gasataya took over as mayor, the council showed its true image that stalled meaningful legislation.

Of course it was not Gasataya at the helm of the council during the interim but Councilor El Cid Familiaran who had to walk a tightrope. He did well to keep sanity at least intact in that council but underscored nevertheless the inane among its members.

Gasataya showed his capability to make strong decisions which are vital in legislative work. The Congress is a bed of politicians with a high sense of importance of self. One must be able to walk softly and yet firmly which Gasataya showed under hostile environment. He has an amiable personality that is necessary in seeking support for legislative proposals and dealing with the executive branch for projects for his district.

Carl Lopez is one person who can work alone and effectively at that. He has personal charisma and resources with connections in the national scene. His family connections are extensive and this opens to him many doors. In the event he becomes a congressman, more doors will be opened to him. He is schooled in the family of principled men and women and can be relied upon to keep his word. His term as councilor showed what he is and what he can achieve even on his own.

But personal capability is not enough in a political environment as Bacolod's and some are less comfortable with a family as Carl's. Mar Roxas suffers from this public perception and despite preponderance of his personal and government resources, he lags in the public choice for president.

Carl Lopez relies on the Liberal Party as its official candidate but has yet to build a political machinery of his own. That takes time and money to organize.There also is need for professional political operators who will carry the main bulk of the work. Will the LP-Bacolod support Carl alone since, as of this writing, the NPC Bacolod is also for Roxas?

The candidates for vice mayor of Bacolod is a one-sided combat. Number One Councilor El Cid Familiaran of GrupoProgreso is being challenged by Vladimir Gonzales of MKK. I say it is one sided because twice Gonzales ran for office in Bacolod and he lost. He ran for mayor and vice mayor and in both instances he lost. The last time he was also a candidate for vice mayor of Puentevella and he was trounced by Greg Gasataya by a mile.

There were talks that he was jettisoned by Puentevella but it seems Gonzales does not believe that claim and he accepted to once again throw his hat into the ring.

Ideas-wise Gonzales has a plenty but politics is not a matter of ideas but performance and presence. Gonzales has little to show in both regard. He makes his presence known only during election campaigns and when he takes a radio advertisement.His ideas are also somewhere else. Sure he has a memorial park and condominium businesses but these have only collateral benefits for the people.

Facing him is Familiaran who was twice elected as top councilor. He spends most of his time with people and is well-publicized for his work in the council and beyond. In terms of presence and personal touch with people, few can match El Cid. He is in real terms “familiar” with them as they are with him. Topping the polls twice is proof enough.*






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