Rift within GrupoProgreso

IN YESTERDAY’S column I wrote about the credible and honest campaign of the opposition in Bacolod City. While they lost but for one, they should be consoled by the way they behaved and restrained against the temptations of yielding to political contributors who expected favors afterwards. Theirs is the true honor for the honesty of their campaign. Winning by buying votes is an illegal and immoral victory, devoid of honor and the father of corruption.

On the other hand, the victors in a questionable election are in disarray. Even before they were proclaimed to have swept the 2019 elections, a crack in the GrupoProgreso already broke out into cyberspace, thereby confirming the information that there was treachery and single voting among them. The number of votes of each member of that party shows that their followers did not vote as ordered and paid for – 15-0.

Single-voting is a system adopted by candidates in a group to insure not only the winning but winning big to be senior than the others in the event of vacancy in the higher slot.

There were talks before the election campaign that an order was issued by the party chieftains to insure that Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran won the election so that when the mayor’s seat is vacated, the successor will come from the party. There was fear that even after the elections Mayor Evelio Leonardia would be removed from office. If the challenger to Familiaran, former vice mayor Thaddeus Sayson, won he would take over and that would be disastrous as it could lead to the demise of GP.

The news just four days before the elections that Leonardia had been indicted by the Ombudsman on charges of graft and corruption could have triggered this back stabbing among the GP candidates for councilors. The reported indictment though dismissed as political and not immediately enforceable, nevertheless was a reality that can happen after Leonardia had taken office. In that event, the number one councilor could then become vice mayor, thus the scramble among the GP councilors to get to the top. A brief statistical glance at their votes shows the extent of this rivalry.

Of course, the other candidates for the Sanggunian could also have resorted to the same tactics to deny votes to the others but the massiveness of this single voting scheme is apparent in GPand allowed one opposition candidate to spoil the GP monopoly and cabalism in Bacolod City governance.

There is a long appeal by the son of Vice Mayor Familiaran asking his father to no longer pursue a political office. While he congratulated him for the biggest number of votes he ever got, he also said “this is the most tiresome and painful campaign. My heart is being crushed not by our opponents but by our allies who are plotting against you. I don’t have to read bad things against you in Facebook. Just give that post to your allies who cannot wait.”

Who could that be? As in Christ’s Last Supper, the Grupo Progresocould be asking the younger son, “Is it I”? Of course as in that Biblical narrative, Judas Escariot knew it was he and hurried out to put into action his betrayal.

The message of the younger Familiaran evokes sympathy as it is revealing of the depth of rivalry within the party. It must have really pained him that he had to bring out the plot into the public square. I believe he wanted to warn the city and the others of a scheme or even a conspiracyto destroy the vice mayor so that in the event Leonardia is removed, the public would know if Familiaran were undercut.

The name or names of the plotters were not revealed but that does not matter for the moment. What is clear is that the in-fighting could be catastrophic in case the Leonardia indictment takes its inevitable course and he is removed.

In fact, last year, as early as September I already got information that if ever Leonardia was re-elected the “wheels” will turn just the same to get him out. The informant is not a politician and his information came from outside Bacolod. The unfolding of events seemed to give credence to that report.

I will deal next week about more cracks within the party.