Still quiet in the political front?

All seems to be “quiet in the political front,” as if local politicians, before deciding on which camp they will join in next year’s elections, are still keenly observing political movements in the national councils of power, depending on where the “good-weather winds tend to blow.”

This political uncertainties is typical of the Filipino politicians’ “jump-ship culture” where the flock tends to go with the winner, not necessarily on political principles.

It will only be a matter of weeks when the season of filing certificates of candidacies will start next month.

Except of the potential clash between incumbent Governor Roel Degamo and his likely challenger Bayawan City Mayor Pryde Henry Teves, there are yet no major movements in the local political scene a few weeks before the filing of the Certificates of Candidacy.

Normally, months prior to the filing of COCs, political parties are feverish in conducting “conventions” and meetings to come up with their own slates in every city and town.

By law, the filing of COCs was supposed to be on October 1-5, 2018 but the Commission on Elections rescheduled the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) for the 2019 elections to October 11 to 17 purportedly to provide incumbent congressmen enough time to focus on their legislative work.

At present, there are only loose rumors that several allied mayors of Degamo have switched to the Teves camp leaving the incumbent governor with a closely equal number.

However, Degamo’s records show he has won elections even if he had few mayors in the past as he opted to focus on cultivating alliances with Punong Barangays and other grassroots leaders who could actually bring and deliver votes.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Board is now firmly controlled by the opposition led by incumbent Vice-Governor Mark Macias following the election of the Presidents of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation and Liga ng mga Barangay.

Unlike Degamo, Macias who decided to run for reelection, does not appear to have a serious challenger. The three district congressmen might soon be facing serious credible challengers. It is certain that Cong. Josy Limkaichong of the 1 st District, Cong. Manuel Sagarbarria (2 nd District) and Cong. Arnie Teves (3 rd district) will be running for re-elections next year.

Lady Mayor Degamo of Pamplona is rumored to run for Congress in the third district, while Labor undersecretary Jing Paras who is a strong Duterte ally wants to retake the first district post over the Liberal Party head Rep Limkaichong. Paras said he is getting the endorsement of President Duterte for Congress.

Possibly the only preview on the political tug-of-war will be on how the approval of the 2019 annual budget of the province will unfold now that the legislative branch is controlled by the opposition.

Also a valid issue will be the form of government which might turn federal unless the political tide changes.

It should be pointed out that the 2016 annual budget failed to pass on time due to disputes between the Degamo administration and the opposition controlled Provincial Board.

The delay in the approval of the budget then caused a disruption in the normal and efficient functioning of the provincial government with hundreds of employees unpaid of their wages for months, medical assistance was delayed, etc.

It is just hoped that there will no repeat of the ordeal and that the political actors would spare the ordinary people from the ill effects of their fierce rivalry to power. —30—