Yap’s party shift shakes political cauldron

BOHOLANOS ARE RAGING AGAINST THE ILL-EFFECTS OF THE MULTI-PARTY SYSTEM  in our political structure.

This followed after the sudden shift of political party affiliation of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Rep. Arthur Yap to PDP-Laban which is now the administration’s political bandwagon party.

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Obviously, the political preliminaries are starting to show off as the next election is just 19 months away.  Because of this multi-party system, politicians consider political parties as just like ordinary organizations. In fact, the zealousness of a fraternity – in terms of loyalty to group principles- could even be more respected compared to how political parties nowoperate. 

Bottom line is-  it’s really- personality (not party) politics which prevail tending towards “personal accommodation” as the polls get nearer.

This public antipathy versus the multi-party system was validated in a random survey conducted by dyRD’s “Radyo Merkado” radio program-  which resulted in a high  92% favoring the return to the two-party system which was then the Nacionalista Party (NP) and Liberal Party (LP).  The elections then were colored with the so much political conviction coming from being die-hard party members, and a slew of consistent political reasons why one supports a candidate. 

This time, under the multi-party system, the political parties have no meaning at all- to both the candidates and the electorates. It’s just like adding a  name of an organization where a person belongs to.

In the case of Bohol’s political landscape, the multi-party system can result in a major overhaul of the political lineup for the coming elections in 2019.  Rep Yap’s joining the PDP-Laban will automatically translate into a  parting of ways between Gov. Edgar Chatto and Rep. Rene Relampagos who used to be with Yap under the so-called “yellow”  coalition party of ex-president Pnoy.

So now, heretofore allies will transform into political opponents in the event that the last termers Chatto and Relampagos stick it out with the Liberal Party.

On the other hand, the much-talked-about gubernatorial plan for Cabinet Secretary Leoncio “Tuloy” EVasco, Jr. is another consideration. This will create a Big Divide between Yap and Evasco if they decide to clash for governor since they now both belong to the Duterte administration. But the final say will rest on the lips of President Digong himself as de facto political party leader.

Evasco told the CHRONICLE last week that his political path much depends on Digong’s need. In charge of at least 8 functionalities in government, the Cabinet Secretary is one of the most powerful in the Circle and takes a lot of load off the back of an embattled president. 

If the need is still  that grave by 2019, “Tuloy” can just imagine Digong (a long time ally) lament – “you all helped push me to the presidency only to desert me for another position when I need  you in the Palace.” For Evasco, his own political choice is secondary to the president’s say-so.

Other political pundits, on the other hand, are of the view -that the best time for any administration ally to seek a political elective position is 2019- not 2022 when President will be moving out of the presidency ending his six-year term. That makes the gubernatorial plum in 2019 such a delicious low-hanging fruit for any administration ally.

Another political permutation would be for a Relampagos to run for governor and thus merely “switching” places with Governor Edgar Chatto also on his last term. Will it, therefore, be a Yap-Relampagos gubernatorial battle? Unlikely, Watson.

For congressman Rene had made several public pronouncements that he will never clash horns with Yap. This brings to memory an election when Relampagos withdrew his congressional plan in the 3rd district to give way to Yap. In fact, the Third District poll machinery of Relampagos was for the mere picking of Yap. That sacrifice is now reaping a sealed  “gentleman’s agreement” which both seem to respect up their graveyard. 

Rep. Relampagos is a realist. He can rest momentarily -politically-and look at business opportunities – knowing as he fully does – that the name Relampagos is always a  political stock-in-trade in Bohol and that his political machinery -at least in the 1st and 3rd districts will remain potent, regardless.

Likewise, political analysts cannot imagine in their crystal balls a Yap – Evasco gubernatorial dogfight since this will be counter-productive against the present dispensation.Likewise, Evasco could have the possible upper hand to possibly resurrect cases against Yap during Arroyo’s term. 

Therefore, it’s a  political bloodbath Digong will not allow as Yap has also been his workhorse for his economic agenda- sponsoring legislative initiatives to carry out Digong’s Economic Agenda as chair of the powerful Economic Affairs Committee in the Lower House.

The only thing certain is it will have to be one or the other. Not a slambang fight between party mates. But what if Evasco decides to slide down to run after the vacated first district position of  Chatto?  And Yap becomes solo administration candidate for governor?

Then, the currently restored friendship of Gov. Chatto and CabSec. Evasco might be at odds again. But there are saner political pundits who believe if not the governorship, Evasco will not just so easily trade the huge turf his Cabsec position covers in exchange for a mere congressional district. The only other possible reason for him to do that -is that Evasco is sick and tired of Palace politics- which many predecessors in the Palace had called as a “pit of snakes”.

No such thing- Evasco avers to the Chronicle.  There is harmony between his camp, that of Executive Assistant Bong Go and Executive Secretary Salvador Meldedea. “It is only the saboteurs who do not want the President to succeed who are manufacturing these intrigues between us.”, he concluded.

In the event that  Yap will be considered as the PDP-Laban gubernatorial timber and polls were to be held tomorrow, it is only the re-election bid of 2nd district Rep. Aris Aumentado that can be assured of victory since no contender appears on the surface bold enough to clash against the young Aumentado. Likewise, it is believed Aumentado will not join in the messy fight for the coveted Governor’s post but will just safely complete his last term in the next election. That would not complicate the youthful Aris’ young political life.

Under the multi-party system, the 3rd congressional district seems to be an easy-to-win open season to whoever will run for Congress since there will be no incumbent congressman since Yap is serving his last term.  (An incumbent is always hard to beat).  The name of former Loboc Mayor Leon Calipusan has surfaced as a congressional timber while perennial loser businesswoman Cheche Toribio has been silent these days.  The only possible strong contender, if reports are rife, is that supporters of the last termer solon will possibly endorse his wife, Carol, a Lobocanon, to go for Congress- primarily to ensure a solid vote from his district in his gubernatorial bid.

It could never be this fluid in terms of candidates if it was a two-party system. But such is our political reality today.Grin and bear it.

For comments: email to dejarescobingo@yahoo.com or bohol-rd@mozcom.com



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