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Bacolod City, PhilippinesTuesday, July 14, 2009
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Politics heating up

Rolly Espina

The political race for Bacolod City Saturday suddenly heated up with both City Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Congressman Monico Puentevella celebrating with gusto their respective birthdays. In the case of Newks, there was the added birthday anniversary of former Vice Mayor Renecito Novero who is running in tandem with him for congressman of Bacolod.

In Leonardia’s case, his birthday bash was held at the Nature’s Village in Talisay City. But, although far from the city, hundreds of supporters and local government officials trekked to Nature’s Village to participate in the birthday bash.

But Dr. Anthony Golez, reputedly Bing’s tandem for Congressman, was not officially announced as his choice for the lone city district.

In the case of the Puentevella-Novero bash at the Villamonte gymnasium, hosted by Barangay Captain Debe Las Pinas, there was a spillover crowd of more than 7,000 cheering supporters.

The guests included some of the top leaders of the former Paglaum Party, which included former Bacolod Oscar Verdeflor, former Mayor Luzviminda Valdez, former vice Mayor Ramiro Garcia, and a host of other big names of Bacolod politics.

Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson led Bacolod City officials who joined the Leonardia bash.

These twin events immediately triggered speculations on the fate of former Rep. John Orola Jr., Councilor Jocelle Batapa-Sique, and DOTC Assistant Secretary Cano Tan, and former Provincial Board Member Ike Barredo.

Orola had earlier announced that he is running for the lone Congressional district, but said that he is still focused on building up his political machinery and searching for logistics to support his bid.

Batapa, meanwhile, pins her hops on the cadre of women supporters in the city and the IT workers. Most of the latter believe that they owe their jobs in the call centers to Jocelle.

Cano Tan, meanwhile, is supported by a strong and loyal following. He remains a strong bet for congressman, but he has not declared which mayoralty bet he is siding with.

But one cannot discount Cano. He has been working the grassroots with complete quiet, although reports indicate that he has managed to maintain strong grassroots support.

There is the third force for the mayoralty are. This one is headed by Vladimir Gonzales, a businessman who enjoys the support of most of the former Paglaum Party of the late Mayor Alfredo Montelibano, Jr.

Vlad, as he is called by many, seems to have gained added strength lately. For many in Bacolod’s leading families, he is the third option to the two main protagonists.

Well, that’s the shape of future politics in Bacolod City.

* * *

For most of us. Negrenses, there is jarring piece of news from Capiz, the bailiwick of Senator Mar Roxas and the favorite presidential bet of Negrenses.

Today, July 13, Mar and Korina Sanchez, his betrothed, were reportedly arriving in Roxas City.

But that is not just another visit. Mar is reportedly scheduled to make known his local candidates under the Liberal Party. This is something that has excited Capiznons. And it is something that has been billed as a “make or break” move by Roxas.

The reason, former Agriculture Undersecretary Joc-Joc Bolante with Congressman De Castro have reportedly teamed up against Roxas’s leadership with Roxas City Mayor Vicente Bermejo reportedly aligning himself with the two “rebels.”

Joc Joc reportedly has his giant posters plastered over major roads in Roxas Capiz’s Second District proclaiming his bid for governor of the province against Capiz Governor Victor Tanco.

This is something that must be settled. Yesterday, Mrs. Judy Roxas had been urged to try her hand at mending the fences in the Roxas’ backyard. But indications are that it is such a delicate negotiation that could lead to a possible breakup of the Liberal Party right in their own Roxas backyard.

Well, C’est la vie in Philippine politics.

* * *

Thai sugarmen were expected in Manila yesterday and they are supposed to sit down with Philippine Sugar leaders to discuss the Philippine position on the issue of the tariff on sugar.*



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