By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — If we stretch our imaginations, the only way for Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III to face Rep. Jerry Treñas for mayor in the 2019 elections is for Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) founder, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, to endorse his candidacy and for House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s PDP-Laban to officially back acolyte Treñas.
HNP is currently slowly inching its way to forge a tie-up with various satellite political parties first in Mindanao, and now in the Visayas, in a hope to grow and expand in time for the next congressional elections.
PDP-Laban, of course, is not happy about the new kid in town and is, in fact, getting increasingly pissed off and insecure especially that it is being spearheaded by the most powerful and influential daughter in the Philippines today, who is rumored to be the next candidate for president.
HNP and PDP-Laban are still currently “distinct and separate” from one another in as far as legitimacy and recognition by the Comelec are concerned, although they both can sleep in the same presidential bedroom together albeit in two separate beds.
Still on infant stage, HNP is obscured by its regional-level status, while PDP-Laban is a behemoth party with strongholds and incumbent elected officials all over the archipelago.
It’s a common knowledge that Inday Sara and Alvarez are not on speaking terms after the latter had branded Inday Sara’s group as “the new opposition.”
Joe III and Treñas are both PDP-Laban stalwarts and have also allegedly quarreled (of course we didn’t believe this).
The most likely scenario in the event the Joe III-Treñas alleged spat was authentic and they are hellbent to dispute the top city hall post in 2019, is for HNP and PDP-Laban to pick between the two “magbilas” (their wives are sisters).
Inday Sara might go for the “underdog” and fellow incumbent local chief executive, while Alvarez might choose a colleague in congress he thinks will be a “sure winner” for mayor.
This is, of course, a wishful thinking and, as we mentioned earlier, can only be possible if we stretch our curious imaginations.
We still strongly believe that Mayor Joe III and Rep. Treñas will swap positions and are only trying to confuse their rivals who still continue to read between the lines and mutely observe the Joe III-Treñas “civil war” from afar.
By keeping the cards closer to their sleeves, Joe III and Treñas increase the chance for their opponents to face a grim prospect of kicking off their campaign offensive against a windmill like Sancho Panza in Don Quixote.
In fact, Joe III confirmed to city hall reporters recently that he would be running for an elective post in 2019.
The fact that he did not reveal which position he intends to aspire for in 2019 is a clear indication that he (or they) really plans to further draw a jigsaw puzzle in the minds of his (or their) political rivals.