Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Uncertain Future of Zubiri Politics Part 1

This opinion piece by Marcos C. Mordeno on Mindanews, I guess, is worth anybody from Bukidnon's cents' worth. Here's how it goes:

Media outlets in Bukidnon have aired Gov. Jose Ma.. R. Zubiri Jr.'s plan to run for vice governor in 2010. 

Now on his third term, the former congressman and father of Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri is not about to hang his jersey and sit on the political equivalent of a bench. And with the rout of the Acosta family in the 2007 elections, nothing seems to stand along his way and that of his chosen successor, Vice Governor Alex Calingasan.

But the local media has been timid enough to say what the grapevine has known all along: Zubiri will ask Calingasan to step down after six months so the former could regain the top provincial post. It looks like Nonoy Joe would just be taking a brief sabbatical. There will be no real transfer of power, only a token period of time for Calingasan to get a feel of being governor.

A source said that as quid pro quo Zubiri has promised the future ex-governor (Calingasan) the post of agriculture undersecretary. That, however, depends on who succeeds Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Calingasan, who worked at the regional agriculture office before joining politics, will have to keep his fingers crossed that Zubiri can still rub elbows with the next president. In other words, his fate may rest on his patron's choice of 'presidentiable'.

If it is of any consolation, the elder Zubiri has shown adeptness in dealing with major political players. Like other traditional politicians he bets on the perceived winner and is always ready to jump ship whenever the situation calls for it.

Zubiri's choice of guests of honor for Bukidnon's foundation day celebration would always betray his political preference for the moment. Last year, he invited former Senate president Manuel Villar, whose presidential ambition is known to everybody and who was then leading in surveys.. Although allied with Malacanang, Zubiri, in 2007, campaigned for Villar as well as for Senators Francis Escudero and Loren Legarda, sure winners who all ran under the United Opposition.

But the Senate shakeup last year, triggered by the C-5 controversy which implicated Villar, saw Senator Zubiri switch loyalty to the new Senate president, Juan Ponce Enrile. Such decision could only have been made after consulting the governor. Villar had lost father and son and possibly a huge chunk of Bukidnon's half a million voters.

So for this year's Kaamulan the province has invited Legarda as guest of honor, a few days after the Pulse Asia said a Loren-Chiz (Escudero's nickname) tandem could get 40% of the votes cast in 2010.

Surveys, however, as the late Senator Raul Roco said, are just roadmaps. They never show the humps and potholes along the way to Malacanang. What it all means is that Zubiri's choice could still change until the last minute depending on what would benefit him most. Only one thing is sure: he will win as vice governor and get back the governorship after six months.

Calingasan, on the other hand, will only sit it out for six short months inside the capitol before relinquishing his would-be post to the old occupant.. If he runs out of luck, i.e. if he does not get the undersecretary portfolio, he might just retire in his ranch in small Libona town and wonder if he really became governor.

Talk about eradicating dynasty.

Now my two cents' worth:

By going a notch lower, without necessarily demeaning the post of vice governor, I must stress, Gov. Joe Zubiri proves my longtime suspicion that he would cling to Bukidnon politics against all odds. Is he desperate enough? Why?

There would, understandably, more questions raised than sensible answers here. For one, the governor has reached the end of his political road. He has nowhere to go but down, NOT UP. Blame it on Migz? Well, it can be easily argued that Migz' accomplishment in politics, so far, is all about generational improvement. Get the drift? With the exit of GMA, Joe Z is not yet so sure as to who he would align himself with post-2010. The political climate these days is uncertain, this is for sure, making it very difficult for him to corner a significant post, cabinet or otherwise, with a significant clout  after he bows out in 2010, if he bows out out and goes further up.

Also, it could be his genuine concern for his constituents. But then, again, he has been around Bukidnon politics since 1984, when he ran for the National Assembly together with Aki Dinlayan. Men, that's 25 Years already! He reigned in Bukidnon longer than Marcos ruled the country!

What's the point? Simple. He feels he needed to do more, or, he has not done so much. Why? Probably, and I believe Neric Acosta would agree, because he could not do it. I concede there are many ways of seeing things even in Bukidnon politics, but the way it is seen, it's just plain and simple: He could not do it, and he could not do it any longer. And buying more time won't change this; it only exposes one's weakness, if not his indefensible logic, of we can even call it one.

The next best thing to do for Gov. Joe then is to retire from politics. After all, he has been around it for more than two decades, quite a long period for public service at the end of which you expect some returns--modest as they maybe be if one retires with his dignity intact, but nevertheless rewarding especially if one never loses a single sleep every single day feigning thoughts of karma and retribution.

There is much to be done outside and beyond the Bukidnon political sphere, this I can assure him. But then I'm also completely aware that politcians, very much like passsionate businessmen and sabungeros, will breathe politics and die politicians, probably. By then, I rest my case. (Photo credits:

Good 2008

It's been a long while since my last post. Been very busy lately doing nothing. Really? Well, yes.

Lost the drive to blog about anything. 

2008 has been very kind to me, of course minus the dream car that I've been fantasizing about. For this, I'm giving myself until December of 2009 to buy my own drive, brand new of course. It's not a Bimmer, nor the LS460L, mind you. How I wish! But dreaming is for free. Yes, but I'm not dreaming! I'm damn hot on getting my Altis or the New City, whichever fits my budget and my self-imposed deadline. So, I'll have to contend with my commuter life these days.

The bad news? Well, 2008 presided over the collapse of several financial institutions in America and elsewhere in Europe and Asia. As they say, if America coughs, the rest of the world sneezes. Quite true.

The good news? As a minor or small market, our damn/ed republic is not gravely affected, at least for now. Tip: don't get yourself too affected by what the sometimes irresponsible media tell you on TV, radio or newspaper regarding the state of our Philippine economy. We all know why, right?

Give yourself a break. In times like these, GO SPEND, SHOP until you drop!