By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
SORSOGON CITY, 2July2013 (BicolToday.com) – With only three district councilors from her team got the voters confidence in the last election, City Mayor Sally Lee pulled a surprise during the ceremonial oath-taking of city elected officials.
Occupying center stage with the city mayor are Councilors Florencio Jamisola,Jr., Joven Laura of the east district and Fernando David Duran III of the west district, all part of Team Sally.
Joining them are Rogelio Jebulan, Pedro Ravanilla both last termer that run under the slate of defeated two-term city mayor Leovic Dioneda and new comer Ralph Walter ‘Chuck’ Lubiano, Dioneda’s nephew. Completing the cast is Manuel Diolata an independent candidate who represents Bacon District.
The city council has four seats for each district, has a reserve seat for the Association of the Barangay Captains and of the City Federation of Sanggunian Kabataan. The reserve seat will again be hotly contested by the opposing parties for it may be a sway in the council majority.
At present the ABC is represented by Ruben Lagco and the Sanggunian Kabataan slot is occupied by Noel Dreu IV. They are allied with the previous administration. Both seats will be vacated upon the election and assumption of their successor after the barangay and SK election scheduled October 28 this year.
With the cross-over of the four to mayor Lee’s camp her political strategist are courting Councilors Roque Divina of Bacon who is on his last term and two-termer Aldin Ayo of west district to consolidate its grip in the city council who colored their candidacy with orange, the choice color of Lee’s opponent.
The remaining Dioneda’s allies are Iñigo Destacamento, Larry Dioneda, Mary Ellen Jamisola. Dioneda’s running mate who took the vice-mayoral seat, Ma. Charo Dichoso may also be courted knowing well that she started her political career under the patronage of Governor Raul Lee.
A week before the last election it was rumored that Jebulan deserted his captain and hitch the Lee’s bandwagon as surety for victory. The disillusionment according to knowledgeable sources was the manner of the use of party funds concentrated largely to an end of term west district councilor who is pushing the candidacy of her daughter in the district.
Jebulan’s captain got the report but did nothing for fear of further backlash but isolated Jebulan. Lee’s operatives sacrifice their other candidates for Jebulan.
The Ravanilla factor why he changes horses prior to the oath-taking was interpreted that the end-termer with his resources has nothing to lose if he joins Lee’s group in the council. Quipping, Ravanilla said, “there is nothing wrong in aligning with Mayor Lee, politics is past.”
Ralph Walter ‘Chuck’ Lubiano’s case is different. He was not to decide, It was his father’s decision that he join the Lee’s camp though a nephew of defeated Dioneda which carry his candidacy to every corners of the east district.
The decision came after the election. A source privy to the negotiations a week before the ceremonial oath-taking, father and son are frequent visitor at the Lee’s residence, their presence were keep secret to avoid complications and pressures among relatives. The father of Lubiano holds the top position as officer-in-charge of an engineering district in the province of Albay which can be a subject of pressure politically. It was a sort of “Simon the Wiser” when he aligned his son with the Lee’s.
The independence of Manuel Diolata is not being talk about in his district now. They know that he was courted, swayed, help by the Lee’s camp during the campaign for there was a vacant slot in Team Sally Bacon slate. Diolata cannot deny that he benefitted the arrangement. His presence at the event is highly expected.
They are now the seven dwarfs of Sally Lee in the council, but one or two from the ranks will make his independence known. But arrangements with the group may vary accordingly; it’s up to the political strategist of Mayor Lee to hold a firm reign to the collection of various political interests was the assessment of political observers here. [BicolToday.com]