RDR’s turncoatism and the lull


By Cha Monforte

dec 21

It’s completely no surprise that Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario jumped ship from the administration’s Lakas-Kampi-CMD to Liberal Party. To recall, weeks before Gov. RDR’s defection last month, word already spread that the governor would follow suit to his son Anthony Rafael (AGR) to LP’s lap, and yes he led in that great bolting, carting a good chunk of mayors and other elected officials including Tagum City Mayor in the District 1. In the district, the governor already carved out good name as a political kingpin even while District 2 remains to be the known bailiwick of the Floirendos (read: former Cong. Tonyboy) with Cong. Anton Lagdameo.

We must be clear on this. Gov. RDR months before, in the words of his son, who is now running for congressman in the first district, was suddenly replaced as national treasurer of Lakas-Kampi-CMD and as party’s regional chairman. In the latter, he was replaced by Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon. In short, RDR, we surmised, fell out from the good graces of Malacanang (read: GMA), and afterwards, in the words of one boardmember, “he has been harboring ill feelings about his demotion in Lakas leadership hierarchy.”

That was the prelude of things before his son AGR earlier resigned as Lakas member mi September and actively campaigned to support Senator Noynoy Aquino’s bid to presidency.  With that, we then speculated that AGR was just an advance party of the governor to the opposition although midway before this bolting there was that annoyance about RDR’s endorsement of presidential ambition of former DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane. Talk was that the governor endorsed Ebdane in his way of lobbying to the Palace for the fast-tracked completion of the Talaingod-Bukidnon road, but then it flickered out as soon as Ebdane resigned from his post to make true his plan of running for the highest position of the land (But now he is running for governor in his home province of Batanes).

But quite surely “RDR is not used to being in the backseat in the politics of the province, he’s always in the front seat since then,” another boardmember told me referring to what has been talked about by pundits that the governor might end up holding an empty bag on the big scenario that, knowing that the governor’s son is treading stray from the administration’s path, the Floirendos might end up officially calling the shots for Lakas-Kampi-CMD for the entire province and not RDR as the “alleged provincial chairman of Lakas” (in the governor’s very own words told before me in an ambush interview). We thought midway that he would insist rooting to be with “Lakas origs” peopled by ex-President Fidel Ramos and ex-Speaker Joe de Venecia but such stance was nipped in the bud by the Comelec’s ruling giving a go-signal for the merged Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

What now after RDR’s siding with the opposition about half a year before the May 2010 elections? His turncoatism just reinvents himself, his politics. For so long a time that he has been rooting with the traditional politics of the Establishment since the 70s, except his reported covert support to Ramos close to the homestretch in the 1992 elections while he first paddled the canoe for Monching Mitra, and now he has a shining moment of unraveling himself a little not too late and a little not too soon to finally side with the opposition. Was it because he has no more Tadeco to protect? “It was not my own but a collective decision,” he offered a caveat.

But it is still a rose no matter what you call it. By turning true yellow now from the blue, red and white or from the rainbow colors of the administration’s coalition, RDR finally morphed into a gallant foot soldier of the opposition in the province shaking off his old politics of always rooting with the administration and thus now he is wanting to demolish the politics of the Establishment that he has been closely imbedded in for lengthy four decades.

It was then a recipe of confusion when son AGR first floated, after he was healed following a seven-month bout with cancer, that he was neither with the administration nor with the opposition when he declared he would still run for congress. But it was more than another seed of discord fanning the reported long running family feud if the ex-Ms. Universe Margie Moran did not back out from the gubernatorial race, for the two political kingpin families in the province would both have to spend much against each other in the coming polls.

But in the end, the silencing of both now, with RDR and Cong. Lagdameo running unopposed and with AGR’s virtual admission to Congress given a very weak congressional rival, who has long been an absentee in the district, only shows that blood is really thicker than water as much as it unveils that lesser political mortals in the province are as much subject to the political strings held on hand by their respective masters even if they are pitted against each others in what could appear as proxy electoral battles. That, while the victories of the political masters are much assured at the end of the day. But the question that arises now is: will RDR really dig in for Noynoy while his pamangkin by affinity Cong. Anton is showing to be a rapid Lakas fanatic? In the coming campaign period, we’ll know that. Meantime, it’s Christmastime and there’s seeming lull in the political front after that COC filing.

BLOGS AND BITS: Davnor Vice Gov. Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio sees that their LP team is formidable, with the presence of Tagum City Mayor Rey Uy. But the vice gov added: “wa lay lubotay”. Baby is opposed by gov-less vice gubernatorial candidate, Boardmember Roger  “Dangpanan” Israel …. Two lawyer Lopozes are running for congressmen- Atty. Jun Lopoz, the eldest, in Comval Uno, and Atty. Rex “Tata” Lopoz in Comval Dos. Atty. Jun is seeking Change, while Atty. Rex charges that his rivals- Cong. Rommel Amatong is a “great burgis” and former Gov. Joecab Caballero is a “great trapo”…. Davnor Cong. Arrel Olano was accordingly sandwiched and cornered making him run as independent Lakas vs. Mayor Uy vs. Yayong Gementiza. He was accordingly prevailed upon by Gov. RDR so as not to throw a monkey wrench to his alliance with Uy, who is a known close friend of ex-Cong. Tonyboy Floirendo. Expect a good three-corner mayoral fight in the Tagum City …. But wait, not to be discounted is retired police investigator Cesar Cuntapay, the mayoral dark horse among pundits. That makes it a four-corner fight…. In Nabunturan, the formidable tandem of mayoral bet Raul Caballero and vice mayoral bet Ago Maglana has emerged. They have also a powerhouse slate for councilors in the Comval capital town…. Monkayo Mayor Jun-Jun Brillantes is unopposed, so with Gov. Chiongkee Uy and Vice Gov. Ramil Gentugaya. The three are emerging political triumvirate in the next political tempo in the province after the polls, as Cong. Way Kurat Zamora chose to retire himself to assure victory for his daughter Maricar in the three-corner congressional bout. Maybe yes, maybe no as Atty. Jun Lopoz, the Liberal Party standard-bearer, is fast inching his way to the nooks and corners in the district, organizing, while the controversial ex-police officer Cesar Mancao is accordingly fast giving his bucks around…. In the end, Cong. Amatong has to spend much- in millions- and not Gov. Uy if only to defeat the still bankable ex-Gov. Joecab, who chose to run for congress after a long time of saying “I am either (for gov) or (for cong) pa rin”.

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