Roamer's Roundup

Election 2019: The Battlelines Have Been Drawn

This past week, the political scene was buzzing with more noise than usual. Which means just one thing: the election season is approaching.

To be specific, it is the beginning of the 2019 election season as prospective candidates trooped to the Commission on Elections made their intentions known to run for various elected offices from senator to councilor.

Image courtesy of the Inquirer

As a site that chronicles on the sights, sounds, and stories of Metro Manila, the Urban Roamer shall focus on some of the interesting races in Metro Manila to observe in the 2019 election season. Interesting in the sense that some of these races may turn out to be dirty and ugly, which may or may not be fun to watch.

Two Old Oldtimers and One Young Oldtimer Slug It Out in the City of Manila

For being the country’s capital city, the elections in the City of Manila have always drawn interest. But if the last two elections were an indication, Manila politics has been at the doldrums as it has been, for a long time, a battle between the same two forces in the city: Alfredo Lim and Joseph Estrada.

On one side there is Alfredo Lim, the former mayor whose last 2 terms saw the decline of Manila, which warranted the rise to power of the opposing side, that of the incumbent mayor Joseph Estrada. His tenure thus far as Manila City Mayor, however, received “mixed” reception among Manileños, with his promised projects yet to take off after six years in office.

Between 2 former mayors fighting it out for the third time in a row, there are Manileños who feel a sense of cynicism and resignation that they would have to choose between 2 oldtimers who have contributed to the demise of the city. However, there is a formidable third force that has entered the race: a young oldtimer in Manila politics by the name of Isko Moreno.

Despite his showbiz pedigree, Moreno has built a political machinery in the city. With the help of veteran city politicians like Danny Lacuna, Moreno has put a formidable local party Asenso Manilenyo. In fact, Estrada’s victory in the last two elections was with the help of Moreno’s Asenso Manilenyo, which was a key ally of Estrada until recently. In fact, Moreno is the only candidate that has managed to set up a complete slate of candidates across the city’s 6 districts.

Still it’s not easy to discount the political machinery of the other two. Especially that of Estrada who enjoys the advantage of being the incumbent. As someone who has been a longtime observer of Manila politics, there is a great chance that this will end up as a battle between Estrada and Moreno and their respective political machinery. It will be interesting to see how this will turn out.

Sibling Rivalry in Makati

As far as dynasty politics is concerned, no family exemplified this in Metro Manila than the Binays. For about 30 years now, they have gone through so much, including one of them getting suspended, and managed to “overcome the odds”. Just ask Kid Peña.

This 2019 election though will be a different challenge the Binays will face. Because, in true dynastic fashion, it has now come to a point that it will be a Binay vs. Binay fight between the current mayor, Abigail Binay and his brother and former/suspended mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay.

Junjun alleges that Abby has reneged on the promise of “Serbisyong Binay” to the people of Makati, that the city’s seniors, vendors, and other sectors were neglected. Abby however countered that “Serbisyong Binay” is still alive and well and that she made it better by giving away stuff like Air Binay to schoolchildren. Yup.

There is also the issue whether Junjun can run since he was suspended by the Ombudsman and supposedly can no longer hold office. His camp however counters that his suspension is not yet final, which Comelec agrees with.

So who between Junjun and Abby will manage to prevail in the end? It’s something to watch out for as well.

Vying for Quezon City Mayor in the Post-Bistek Era

As he is now in his final year in his final term in office, the legacy of Herbert Bautista as Quezon City Mayor has been a mixed one. Apart from his messy lovelife, Bautista’s term has been marked with the passage of some controversial ordinances, shutting down a landmark for a supposed new one which has yet to be realized, and being late in school suspensions, among others.

As Mayor “Bistek” (as Bautista has been nicknamed) leaves office, three candidates are vying to take his place, eyeing a new chapter in Quezon City’s history. Each having a storied experience in city politics, it will be interesting what each of them have in mind for the post-Bistek era.

Perhaps the one with the most advantage is Joy Belmonte, the city’s incumbent vice mayor and daughter of a former Quezon City mayor. While she has mostly worked under the shadow of her father and of Mayor Bistek, she has managed to come of her own as she spearheaded some city projects like the renovation oft he Quezon Memorial Circle, which included the opening of the QCX museum.

Then there are two former Quezon City lower house representatives who are vying to be mayor as well. One of them is Chuck Mathay, the son of another former mayor the late Mel Mathay. Then there is Bingbong Crisologo, the son of a former Ilocos political kingpin with a “storied” history. (which has been made into a movie in the 1980s)

Who among them will be given the opportunity to shape Quezon City anew, hopefully with less of the mess of the Bistek era? Stay tuned.

The Two Sons of Two Entengs Tussle in Pasig

Just like Makati, Pasig has been under the control of one political family for a very long time. Since 1992, Pasig has been a territory of the Eusebios, starting from patriarch Vicente “Enteng” Eusebio. Currently, it is his son Bobby who is serving as mayor and is seemingly well-entrenched in the city.

This coming election however, one is attempting to challenge this longtime stranglehold of power. Enter Vico Sotto, son of actor Vic Sotto of Eat Bulaga and roles such as Enteng Kabisote and actress Coney Reyes. Despite his showbiz pedigree, he has not entered showbiz and has instead concentrated on politics as an incumbent councilor of the city, albeit with only 1 term served thus far.

Will the neophyte Sotto scion manage to topple the well-established Eusebio machinery? Or witl the Eusebio machinery eat the neophyte Sotto alive? It will be interesting if he manages to pull it off, considering the limited resources but a sizeable support base that he has.

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