“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” RONALD REAGAN
By Alex P. Vidal
Even without Senator Frank Drilon, Iloilo bets under the Liberal Party (LP) who won in the recent midterm elections would still win.
Gov. Arthur Defensor, Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, the congressmen in the city and five congressional districts, and their respective candidates in the provincial board, municipal mayors, city and municipal councilors won because of their own merits and resources, not because Drilon showed up in their campaign rallies. Not because Drilon raised their hands.
Even in the second district of Iloilo, known Drilon lackey Arcadio Gorriceta won as congressman because people there were already fed up with the Syjucos, not because of Drilon’s charisma as what his drumbeaters in media were trying to emphasize.
Drilon had also backed some candidates in the past versus Augusto Syjuco and his wife, Judy, and they were all massacred one after the other. It so happened that Gorriceta is Drilon’s ally from way back during the post EDSA revolution. And Syjuco appeared to have lost his magic touch to people of the second district because of his alleged arrogance and involvement in massive irregularities.
Although he is a key figure in the administration party, Drilon’s presence in the stage during the Iloilo campaign sorties was incidental, nay necessary. He was obliged by the ruling party to help buttress the chances of local bets being an Ilonggo. As a high-ranking LP bigwig, his attendance in the rally was mandatory, not voluntary.
Drilon has no magic to brag about. He doesn’t have the Cory Magic or Noynoy Magic. In fact, his endorsement all by his lonesome self– without any connection from any political party–could be a kiss of death. If not for Pres. Noynoy and the LP, many local bets would detest being seen with Drilon during the campaign period.
Drilon was never an inspiration to most local candidates. As a leader of national stature, he is known more to Ilonggos as somebody who runs from a good fight. A few years back when his term as senator expired and he was rumored to be eyeing the mayoral post of Iloilo City, he chickened out when survey results showed he had no chance against then Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr. who dared him to a one-on-one slugfest for city hall’s top post.
Drilon also never lifted a finger to rescue his embattled political supporter, then Gov. Niel D. Tupas Sr., who was nearly ousted in a Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) blitzkrieg that transformed capitol into a police garrison when the Gloria administration sent battalions of assault cops to force Tupas out of office in 2007.
Drilon also dismayed a lot of Ilonggos when he intentionally boycotted the June 13, 2007 inauguration of the Iloilo international airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo because he did not want to meet eyeball-to-eyeball Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Justice Gonzalez, among other prominent characters in the administration. The event was graced by no less than Japanese Ambassador Ryuichiro Yamaza, among other luminaries.
Earlier, Drilon said he missed the important affair because he was “busy building up and strengthening the Liberal Party all over the country.”
But, mea culpa, in a press conference a week after the event, he made a lapsus linguae when he hissed in a press conference that he was absent in the inauguration because he “didn’t want to put people in uncomfortable situation.”