24 March 2007

A different view of the 'Circus'

THE 'Circus,' as Donald of Avenue Square called it, descended into town yesterday. And for just a day, the hoi polloi from all over Camarines Sur took over Naga's party place, powered by Kampi's fabled treasure trove that appeared formidable indeed.

I knew the Team Unity candidates are in town, as hours before firecrackers boomed even in broad daylight and reports of heavy traffic came from many directions, owing to a motorcade organized by Rep. Luis Villafuerte. In times like these, you really feel blessed having a nimble scooter that brings you around in ease.

On our way back, my wife opted for Shakey's at Avenue Square instead of Greenwich at the city center, obliged by my eldest son's incessant reminder to bring him a 'Bunch of Lunch'. I had second thoughts, as Plazas Rizal, Quezon and Quince Martirez were uncharacteristically quiet: the throng had to be somewhere else. So when we neared Avenue, my hunch was proven correct, and my first instinct was to drive away, but my wife prevailed: "We're here already," she said.

If the Kampi faithfuls were all over the Square, Joker Arroyo's campaigners -- boosted by a brass band, no less -- dwarfed all the other TU candidates in many ways: support vehicles, tarpaulin streamers, and election giveaways such as fans, t-shirts and the like. The pricey tarpaulin streamers, especially, are all over Bicol, even its island provinces, prompting a complaint from Catanduanes Tribune captioned, "Joker doesn't need this." So, a truly well-funded campaign is what Joker traded himself for, I told myself.

While waiting for Lynn to finish her meal, I was trying to look for the other candidates, but they were not around. Later, I found out that Lakas-CMD is having a simultaneous event at the Provincial Capitol 12 kms away, complete with TV coverage to boot. So, the father and the son are clearly still at it, evidently.

The final confirmation came from the gig that Gov. LRay Villafuerte hosted himself. Senatorial aspirant Vicente Magsaysay, a fellow governor from Zambales, stole the thunder when he took centerstage after a lengthy generous introduction by their young host. After his usual campaign spiel, he ended with a bombshell that sounded like the following according to those who saw it on TV:

"Kung natatakot sila Mike (Defensor) at Ralph (Recto) na sabihin ito, ako hindi. Villafuerte vs. Villafuerte? Masama yun. Ba't hindi kayo magkaayos? I will bring both of you together to talk things over.

"Why don't you be a good son to your father?" was how Magsaysay reportedly ended his unsolicited advice.

While this was going on, Defensor's hand was slashing on his neck, frantically gesturing to the emcee to cut off Magsaysay's mike before more damage is done. LRay can only smile, but I think he took a mental note of that offensive stunt. And I will not be surprised if Magsaysay loses badly in the province come election day (he is not doing well in surveys anyway).

But then again, I think it was not a loose cannon at play. With nothing to lose, Magsaysay decided to speak the unspeakable, and let loose the party elders' frustration over what's happening, hoping to iron out a kink in the administration coalition. Whether this tack succeeds remains to be seen.


peachy said...

if magsaysay will not win this coming elections, then honesty isn't that important then. he may have incurred the wrath of the younger villafuerte but i believe he also deserves merit for being frank and open about the situation. true, it was an unsolicited advice but if someone can be frank enough like that, chances are he'd be transparent as well.

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Hi Peachy:

Indeed it takes guts to call a spade spade, specially in a situation like that. Most other Filipinos would ordinarily defer to the host, yet Vic Magsaysay did not.

But whether than can serve as a gauge of his 'honesty' in regard to bigger issues, particularly the problems hounding the Arroyo administration, is unclear.

At least the other Magsaysay in the Senate had the balls to expose the Gintong Masaganang Ani (GMA) Liquid Fertilizer scam and go after Jocjoc Bolante. I'm not sure if Vic has what it takes to do the same.