The most wonderful time of the year

There’s no reason to suspect Vice Governor Shirley Abundo of faking that tearful denunciation of the alleged threats to and harassment of her family, despite the fact that a week after the privilege speech she has yet to file a complaint with the police.

The honorable presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan is simply too good-natured and kind-hearted to have thought of a scheme to deceive the police in a scheme to garner sympathy from voters and, at the same time, throw dirt at her political rival.

No, the vice governor is not capable of doing such a thing, as she herself expressed doubt as to the credibility of the report that she allegedly received.

What her emotional disclosure unfortunately fanned is the flame of local politics that is now fully lit and growing stronger by the day.

According to various sources, that ember was sparked in 2020, just before the then suspended governor came back to reclaim his post at the Capitol.

It is claimed that after assuming office as acting governor, VG Abundo tried unsuccessfully to transfer to Cua’s second floor office at the main building.

She then reportedly violated an agreement with Cua to be a passive caretaker, appointing several people to key vacant positions and generally presiding over the procurement of millions of pesos worth of supply and infrastructure contracts.

By the time she turned over the post to her erstwhile running mate in the 2019 elections, the “Tamang Timpla” had gone sour.

In the run-up to the filing of Certificates of Candidacy for the 2022 local elections, there was a chance to salvage the partnership, with the Bagong Timpla reserving a slot for her in the slate of provincial board members for the West district.

Alas, it was not to be, as Abundo surprisingly decided to run for governor against the incumbent in what many observers now describe as a suicide mission.

The politically-charged atmosphere at the Capitol compound was stirred a little more when this year Gov. Cua reportedly ended the vice governor’s “ride-on” agreement regarding her granting requests for financial assistance addressed to her office, with the expense charged to the governor’s funds.

The termination of the mutually-beneficial relationship was to be expected.

After all, in the dirty and morally-bankrupt world of politics, one does not give his enemy ammunition that could be used against him.

To make matters worse, the 2022 budget allocation for job-order workers of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan members were reportedly slashed by the Local Finance Committee, in compliance with the adverse finding of the Commission on Audit (COA) in its most recent report.

That is probably why some members of the board have made similar privilege speeches denouncing alleged irregularities in the provincial government and calling for an investigation.

Certainly, politics is in the air, just three short weeks after the Yuletide season when everyone forgot about the pandemic and joyfully celebrated Christmas.

As any candidate running for public office in the island would tell you, a constant stream of people are now knocking on their doors asking for help on anything from hospital bills and burial expenses to even the birthday celebration of their favorite child.

Here in Catanduanes where the campaign is just like the 12 days of Christmas, every candidate is a Santa Claus who has nowhere to hide.

Parodying Andy Williams’ popular 1963 ditty, let us then joyfully sing: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year, with the voters soliciting and everyone saying you’ll win, it’s the most wonderful time of the year…”

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