So declared the excellent political analyst Ashley Manabat, editor of Luzon Banner, as early as the day Panlilio filed his certificate of candidacy.
Ashley based his prognosis on the departure of the civil society groups from the Panlilio camp, his loss of his purported biggest campaign contributor Madame Lolita Hizon and her faithful congregation of over 5,000, and his enmity with the local government executives, among many others.
It was around that time too that the senior citizens of Pampanga gave Panlilio a big but empty egg in terms of meeting their needs and aspirations, and a youth representative publicly declaring he wasted his vote for Panlilio in 2007 and would most definitely vote for “Nanay Baby” in 2010. Thus buttressed was Ashley’s analysis.
“The 2007 count put Panlilio ahead of Nanay Baby by only 1,147 votes which, if we believe stories coming out of the Comelec have been overhauled with Nanay winning by over 2,400 votes,” Ashley says. “If that is all Panlilio can manage, with all his supporters then, what would he be left with now that many of his supporters are gone?”
No way for Panlilio to win the governorship in 2010, indeed?
I hate to contradict the man once mistaken for the Maguindanao ogre Andal Ampatuan but I don’t believe Panlilio is a push-over in 2010.
He may have the moves of a bumbling carnival fool, but Panlilio is all astute, calculating politician deep within.
His constant and consistent sniping at President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may have made him a persona non grata to Malacanang and the GMA faithful but it endeared him to the Noynoy Aquino’s yellow horde now taking the whole country by storm.
With that, Panlilio has a formidable warhorse to ride into battle. And a formidable partymate too – in City of San Fernando Mayor Oscar Rodriguez – to flank him where the most number of votes are.
No deus ex machina but a political machinery – outside the Liberal Party which, unarguably is more form than substance in Pampanga at this time – Panlilio has crafted right under the very noses of his critics and detractors, the sangguniang panlalawigan not excluded.
The committees and councils Panlilio assiduously established form the structures of that machinery, the budget of the Office of the Governor for “non-office” and special program allocations make their readily available funding. Consider:
The Pampanga Agricultural Development Council with the Office of the Governor’s P25 million for “agri-business and post-harvest facilities” can well anchor Panlilio’s bid for the farmers’ and the fishers’ votes.
Already running literally, for the Panlilio candidacy most obviously, is the Pampanga Youth Welfare Organization. Where its funds are coming from? It is right there in Panlilio’s executive order for the PYWO creation – PESO, the Provincial Employment Services Office that serves as some sort of a mother unit, if not a nanny to the PYWO.
Our moles at the Capitol say the PYWO is composed of the beneficiaries of the training and leadership and worship services conducted in Tarlac last year by the His Life in the City Inc. church where still-putative provincial administrator Atty. Vivian Dabu worships and to which the Capitol paid P650,000.
In the PYWO Panlilio has his very own young stormtroopers to match up with the sangguniang kabataan.
Panlilio’s estrangement from the senior citizens belonging to Linda Gaddi-David’s Pampanga chapter of the National Federation of Senior Citizens’ Associations of the Philippines, is by no means his total shut-out from the ranks of the elderly. In the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs, Panlilio has his own loyal following.
The Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry may have severed ties with the Capitol in the wake of Panlilio’s run-ins with his once most ardent supporter, Rene Romero, PamCham’s president. But Panlilio has since formed a multi-sectoral governance council – a puny, bastardized version of the City of San Fernando’s multi-awarded and fully functional MSGC – that is business-based.
Panlilio created “layers upon layers” – as Vice Gov. Yeng Guiao said – of committees and councils that practically usurp the functions, if not the funds, of mandated Capitol offices.
The only rhyme and reason we see in their creation is the advancement of Panlilio’s political interests.