30 March 2007

History repeating itself

KINS, one of them a prominent national figure, both won in the previous local election, thanks to the influence and machinery of the former.

Midway through the term, they have a nasty falling out as the up-and-coming politician begins to defy his older benefactor.

Wizened pol responds by putting up a candidate against his former protégé to stop his reelection bid.

The protégé beats the challenge and swamps his benefactor's candidate.

If you think this storyline describes the father-and-son split in Camarines Sur politics that continue to make national headlines is one of the bizarre developments in this election, think again. You may have guessed correctly that incumbent Rep. Luis R. Villafuerte is the veteran politician; but you can put incumbent Naga City mayor Jesse Robredo in his son LRay's place and the premises remain just as valid.

Flashback to those heady post-EDSA days. In 1988, LRV wins as Camarines Sur governor and his nephew Jesse barely scrapes a win in Naga. Then, they part ways -- let me point you again to this column by Joe Perez for the whys and wherefores -- and fail to reconcile.

Calling his nephew "ingrato," the incensed governor fields his sister, Pura Luisa Villafuerte-Magtuto, against Robredo. The latter wins by a landslide, towing his entire ticket to victory. Overconfident and distracted by managing the losing national campaign of then House Speaker Ramon Mitra, LRV shockingly loses the Capitol to his vice governor, the mercurial Jose "Nonoy" Bulaong.

Fastforward to 2007 and the situation is eerily familiar. LRV is now Kampi president, remains a national figure, and is eyeing to become the next House Speaker. Short of calling his own son "ingrato," he is fielding an old reliable -- former Tourism Secretary and one-time 3rd district congressman Eduardo Pilapil -- to run against LRay, who wisely remains respectful towards his father in media interviews, carefully refraining from badmouthing him as his cousin Jesse did and continues to do.

What remains to be seen is whether history will exactly repeat itself 15 years later -- that is, (a) if LRay wins, which is not exactly fartfetched; and (b) if former 2nd district congressman Sulpicio "Cho" Roco, Jr. can pull off a Bulaong and deal LRV, again heavily favored to win and become the first post-EDSA congressman to get reelected, another shocking defeat.


Arbet said...

Sana maulit muli....

mschumey07 said...

I pray the wheels have come full circle once again. History has its way of showing a fool who's master.

Sabi nga nila, the boy is the father of the man, LRV may see flashes of the past haunt him. His arrogance and overconfidence could spell his political demise. He would reap what he sowed.

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Arbet: Unfortunately, LRV did not use that Gary Valenciano song for his jingle.:) He settled for a golden oldie whose title eludes me. His son LRay, on the other hand, opted -- and I think very successfully -- for Yeng Constantino's "Hawak Kamay."

Schumey: Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Maryanne Moll said...

Those are all very fine points, Willy, but there's something you have to understand about LRV: he has taken the time and effort to get to the psyche of Camarines Sur. That is why he still looms large in the province.

L-Ray is, of course, a different person, and it's not fair to compare the two. He has his own style to which the province has almost fully adjusted, largely because it was quick and, well, exciting. All these new things! We are being featured in lifestyle shows and magazines! Celebrities are actually vacationing in Cam Sur!

The relationship between most fathers and sons, even those not in politics, is almost always strained, pained, and distant, no matter how close they seem to be on the surface and in public. (It's the same way that mother-daughter relationships are dysfunctional and emotionally violent.)

Let's give them a little leeway. They're both exceptional in their own right. :)

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Maryanne: Points well taken.

But don't we deserve a little more from them, instead of quarreling over who's the "big daddy" now? At least, the Rectos of Batangas, to their credit, managed to put their house in order.

And you also have to doff your hat to LRay's media savvy. I just heard LRV's jingle, and those old enough said it is based on "Sweet Caroline."

Yeng Constantino's eminently likable "Hawak Kamay" will swamp it down anytime, hahaha.