The irritants

An administration that is already facing so much criticisms from the general public must be wary of the people they bring into their fold if not properly vetted, because chances are, these people may just further widen the crack that is already there.

The last election was almost a landslide for the slate of Bacolod Mayor Bing Leonardia. Their only irritant is Councilor Jun Gamboa who, despite being the lone opposition, has done a good job in ensuring that his voice gets heard over the din of overwhelming ayes for whatever the chief wants passed.

But, unfortunately, that seeming unity has been seeing cracks lately and there are talks of obvious rifts among the officials.

Some have been their own doing in their attempt to climb higher and endear themselves to the powers that be. Some say the rift is caused by insecurities when others get ahead of them in terms of public approval. And yes, other cracks are caused by people brought in from outside who have been stepping on toes to move forward their own agenda.

I’ve said it before and will say it again…..the COVID pandemic has awakened a lot of people from their stupor. Many who are usually indifferent to the goings on in the city and even at the national level are now seeing things for what they are.

The culprit is the long lockdowns that drove people to social media and made them more critical. We saw for ourselves who are worthy of being called leaders and who among them dared to set aside politicking, even to their own personal detriment, just to serve the public.

One of them is Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and there is this perception, including mine, that he did a great job as IATF chair but was clearly sidelined when he started getting popular.

For whatever its worth, El Cid’s credibility has not diminished and while he obviously has his own coterie of supporters spread his personal projects in social media, it is done subtly without much fanfare and for that alone, I continue to hold him in high esteem over others who plaster their faces in their giveaways. How ‘trapo’ can we get!

Mayor Bing Leonardia’s initial action or lack of it, at the start of the pandemic has been widely criticized. But after the initial shock or scare perhaps, the city has been making a headway and largely because of the direction and help from the national IATF that brought in Gen. Mel Feliciano and Dr. Nico Selibio from the World Health Organization.

I know Nico personally. He is a close friend of my niece and he was a Doctors for the Barrio scholar. He first served in government as the municipal doctor of San Enrique at the time of the late Mayor Mayok Magno.

But now that the general and the doctor are gone, there are stories circulating that someone brought in new irritants, one in particular that has sowed discontent not just among elected officials but among government employees.

Based on accounts, this smooth-talking person has the ear of top guys and gals in office and has a penchant to deride others to ease himself/herself within the inner circles. It has been alleged that he/she was the reason why someone was ease out and now in floating status.

Unfortunately, this person is deemed indispensable at the moment but because there was very little vetting, I am pretty sure that this will boomerang soon in the faces of those who placed him/her there.

I heard that even the media had a field day when this person even attempted to change the statement of one official. Hmmm. Or that time when a sector came forward to complain against this person because he/she interfered in an event that had political repercussions. Clearly, when things like that happen, they have lost control over this person and woe to them when bigger things surface as they’ve apparently given juicy positions to this one.

It is not farfetched that positioning for the coming elections is already in the works. While the administration has their own social media page/s, there are others sprouting to demystify the present leadership. While it is sometimes fun to browse through these opposition pages, it is sometimes tiring to follow the conversations because it’s all talk – no hard evidence.

Obviously in the running is businessman, Vladimir Gonzales, who has gone on an offensive through various platforms and it’s a clear indication that he will attempt to bid again for the mayorship. But, I also heard from the grapevine that if there are other contenders for the post, Vladi will gladly sit back and support any opposition candidate.

The call for former 3rd District Rep. Albee Benitez is still very strong and many are predicting that if he will run against Mayor Bing, it will be a very, very tight race. Of course, Albee has denied any plans in the past but then again, nothing is impossible in politics.

What is interesting though are talks that if the cracks within the united party now cannot be repaired, we may see a new group from within, arming themselves against the current leadership. Ah….but this will only happen if they have the balls to do it – and I mean that, they have the balls, but they must use it.*

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