By Herbert Vego
IF it were possible to list down all names of elected local officials who are now playing chameleon – specifically those abandoning the Duterte camp to join the Leni Robredo bandwagon –they would not fit this small corner. But let us cite a few examples.
One of them, Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone, has always been a rabid supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte. That explains why he was voted vice president for the Visayas of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
When cornered by the nosy media as to why he had turned “pink,” Evardone philosophized that President Duterte himself had told Pastor Apollo Quiboloy that he would like a “decisive and compassionate lawyer” to be his successor.
Ay abaw, kusi-on gid ini sia ni PDP-Laban President Alfonso Cusi, who is at a loss on how to rebut Evardone’s insinuation.
Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando formally endorsed Vice President Leni Robredo for President on March 14, contrary to the claim of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos that he had yet to decide.
Rep. Mike Gorriceta (2nd Dist., Iloilo) is a member of the Nacionalista Party (NP), which endorses Marcos. But, to quote Daily Guardian reporter Joseph B.A. Marzan, he has “joined the chorus of politicians in Iloilo province endorsing Vice President Leni Robredo.”
In Antique, re-electionist Vice-Governor Edgar Denosta is now campaigning not just for himself but for VP Leni for President, stoking the rumor that he has parted ways with National Unity Party (NUP) party-mates Governor Rhodora Cadiao and Rep. Loren Legarda. The party itself is for the Marcos-Sara Duterte “uniteam”.
While the increasing number of local politicians may cite different reasons for turn-coating, they know that leaning on Leni would boost their own candidacy. This is obvious by the way tens of thousands of pink-clad men and women hail the vice-president in her political sorties nationwide.
Therefore, local politicians who identify themselves with Marcos or any other presidential wannabe stand the risk of shedding off adherents.
Teka, teka muna, is Marcos not the one getting more or less 60 percent in the surveys of SWS, Pulse Asia and Octa Research? In a line-up of 10 presidential candidates, that’s overwhelming. Assuming that to be true, Robredo’s 15 percent on second place is definitely insignificant.
Simply put with regard to the above question, it would be the height of stupidity to believe the commissioned surveys with 1,200 to 2,400 unverified responders. In a nation with a population of 110 million, how could these few unidentified souls represent the majority opinion? Mathematically impossible!
On the other hand, aren’t the swarm of warm bodies filling the Iloilo Sports Complex in Iloilo City and the Paglaum Stadium in Bacolod City to hear Robredo and running-mate Kiko Pangilinan big enough to shatter the surveys?
Alas, however, here come the supposedly credible Rappler and ABS-CBN joining the fray of big broadcast and print media in disseminating the belatedly-released Pulse Asia poll done in February 2022. The survey has Marcos soaring with 60% and Robredo far behind with 15. Isko Moreno, Manny Pacquiao and Ping Lacson lag far behind with 10, 8 and two, respectively. The rest have less than one percent.
There exists no explanation why the son of a dictator, who lost the vice-presidency to Robredo in 2016, would overtake her by leaps and bounds this time.
Why do Rappler and ABS-CBN — known to be credible critics of the Marcos and Duterte regimes — now “legitimize” Pulse Asia (jokingly called “False Asia”) by reporting its questionable surveys? Would it not pulverize their managements’ own credibility?
When Red, a reader of ours, asked me that tormenting question, I could only say that the surveys must have penetrated the papers, TV and radio as “paid ads”. But my “tormentor” further asked why those ads had not been marked with the usual “paid advertisement” disclaimer.
Suddenly I remembered that even food supplements are falsely promoted as “cure-all” in the media.
“Oh well,” I answered, “if the price was extra-big, non-inclusion of a disclaimer could have figured in their advertising contracts.”
A REMINDER FROM MORE POWER
A few columns ago, this writer relayed the explanation of MORE Power President Roel Z. Castro on why the company had replaced some “nude” wires with “tree wire.” The “tree wires” are insulated power wires along tree-lined areas within Iloilo City. They make it unnecessary for linemen to cut trees that could otherwise cause short circuit and trigger fires.
Another strategy being implemented is swapping wooden power poles for concrete and maintaining a network of closed-circuit TV cameras to keep an eye out for power pilferers and other dangers.
Making its equipment more fire resistant will cost MORE Power a fortune, but that has already been programmed for the next three to five years – as much as possible without rate increases. It has stashed away ₱1.9 billion as capital expenditure.
In accordance with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) guidelines, MORE Power observes fire-mitigation plans in a way that minimizes the risk of catastrophic blazes.
Hence, there is sometimes a need for manual load dropping, which means manually removing pre-selected loads in response to an abnormal condition that could trigger accidents.