Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Channeling US Elections for Cagayan de Oro Politics


I admit in my frustration with the results of the last US election I sadly lamented that the election process itself was becoming more like 3rd-world politics.  Or was it the other way around?


But I believe it had its grains of truth – massive negative ads, massive campaign fund generation to politicize any and all issues, voter fraud, every political device, whether fair, unfair, legal or illegal appeared to have been on the table, etc.


In a real way, elections are not anymore contests premised and debated on logic, good deeds, better political programs, etc.


And in our old homeland, elections, especially local ones, are decided more or less in the same ways.


Thus, while being optimistic is always the best path to pursue, it has to be tempered by realities on the ground.  And that is what I feel should be addressed in Cagayan de Oro politics, which in many ways mirrors the last US elections.


If we go by the many issues of governance, corruption, or everything else for that matter, the current mayor does not have a chance in hell of winning.  And he himself does not even appear inclined to address the many issues against him. He simply either skirts them completely or allows his many surrogates to do the talking for him.  He even laughs publicly when new charges against him are brought to his attention. He may even entertain the idea that in his milieu he is invincible, being so well-entrenched and powerful.


And in many respects he appears to be.  And recently gifted with massive funds, many sourced from abroad, to help alleviate the dire conditions, both human and otherwise, brought upon by the last flood, Sendong, he is again well positioned (in the local sense) to gain his electoral foothold .  Since this recent capital infusion will be added to his already formidable political arsenal – the immense power and influence of incumbency, he owns the council neatly wrapped around his daughter and son-in-law, his other relatives surround him in the provincial areas, etc.


So if Cagayanons are again lulled into thinking that they have the upper hand because with their wise use of words and arguments, through print or orally, they have satisfactorily and logically laid out the case against the incumbent, they better think again.


A better than likely scenario.


In the local area, one well-ensconced political warrior will engage in any and all political devices to ensure his victory.  He will definitely outspend his opponents – whether for campaign expenditures or outright vote buying.  And this will be very crucial for this election because this early on his principal opponent has declared that he does not have sufficient personal funds to run any campaign. But this challenger, the current highest official of the province, has done a very good job in his position and he has unvarnished records to prove it.  And countless impartial people will attest to his credibility.


Sounds eerily familiar? 


BTW, this provincial executive presided over the financial mess among other mismanagement issues left behind by the former occupant.  Who was? The same person he is running against for Hizzoner.


My parting words?  If the Republicans and conservatives in the last US elections truly did their darned best and presented their issues in the best possible logical way, the local opposition will have to do a lot more – and often.  If they want the results to be any different.