The China loans and local political tidbits

By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas

“Sadly, your guess would be just as good or bad as mine. I will just leave it at that as what Solita Monsod did. After saying that the choice was a no brainer, she just left it at that.”

The other week I was reading the column of Solita Monsod of Pasaway fame in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and it was quite interesting. The long and short of it was that the interest on the China loans was 2% per annum while we could get Official Development Assistance from Japan or Korea at 0.9% and 0.26% interest per annum. I don’t know which country is offering the lower rate. To search it up again would take a minute which I don’t have right now.
The point is, to borrow her words, the choice should have been a “no brainer.”
Then I remembered our professor in political science a long time ago who often said that for every political decision, it will result in some benefit to someone. So what benefit are we talking about? It can be economic or financial, or political power or prestige.
The question is, who benefitted from the China loans? The people? Why didn’t we take a loan from Japan or Korea at more than half the interest of the China loans? That would be more beneficial to the Filipino people. If not the people, then who benefitted?
The next question is, what kind of benefit? Did somebody make money? Or did he or she get some more political power or prestige?
Sadly, your guess would be just as good or bad as mine. I will just leave it at that as what Solita Monsod did. After saying that the choice was a no brainer, she just left it at that.
Last time, I wrote about a contractor who was a friend of mine who was a very reliable source. He said that all these decades he had been a contractor, Domogan never asked an SOP or grease money from him as a contractor.
Now it is time to also cite a good thing about the mayor’s opponent, former Congressman Nick Aliping. One thing many friends say about Nick is that he is very approachable, that is their perception. For me, Domogan and Nick are both very approachable.
Though there was one time about two months ago when a client of mine had a problem and it seemed that only Nick could help him. So I texted him and he readily agreed to meet with me and my client. My client readily felt at home with him and the help required was immediately arranged. So that client of mine might be campaigning hard for Nick.
This explains why Nick has a loyal following. Those he had helped are very loyal such that he will get a big chunk of Domogan’s votes. Yet Nick cannot do much about the fact that Domogan had been in power for a long time such that his political roots run very deep. Loyal followers have been accumulating the past decades that he was in power.
Incidentally, the first reliable survey that I saw indicated Congressman Mark Go as the leading candidate as against Nick and Domogan. Now I hear that Domogan is now leading. Of course, the election is still several weeks away.
In prior elections, it was the campaigners of Domogan and the Timpuyog coalition who were very visible crisscrossing the city, meeting each other everywhere. Now, the most visible campaigners are those of Mark Go. What happened? Is the campaign of Mayor Domogan being run by novices? Or are resources being saved for the last salvo?
What Domogan might have to guard against is the possibility of an alliance between his opponents. If that happens, then the equation becomes too different. It was the alliance between Mark Go and Bernie Vergara last election which caused the victory of Mark Go against Nick. Otherwise, Nick would have readily won, as he was running his campaign like a well-oiled machine.
But alliance such as that is some sort of a betrayal of one’s loyalists. Nick is still young and whatever happens he would still have his loyalists he could count on in launching any political campaign in the future. Betraying them, however, could mean a disaster. I am looking at the political landscape though with a layman’s eye, not that of a shrewd politician.
In the mayoralty race of Baguio City, the survey I mentioned above placed Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr. at the forefront. Coming in next was Vice Mayor Edison Bilog, then Councilor Edgar Avila. Jose Molintas was in fourth place, Tony Boy Tabora was in fifth and Benjie Magalong was bringing up the rear.
About two weeks ago, I heard of a more recent survey which was kind of miraculous. As I was told, Yangot was still leading but Benjie Magalong was now in second place. Was that true? I am of course dumbfounded as Magalong is the new kid in town, supposedly a novice, when it came to politics.
But anything can happen. For us in the sidelines, let us just watch and enjoy. **

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