AGR’s Independence: A Tactical Move To Stave Off a Chiongkee Threat and The Emerging Powerhouse PDP-Laban Dream Team Alliance in DavNor

By Cha Monforte

The Alvarez-Chiongkee-Dujali-Rellon-Al David Uy-Timbol-Sitoy-Libayao-Suaybaguio Alliance

Local analysts are now rather seeing that the latest move of Davao del Norte Governor Anthony “AGR” del Rosario to go independent from any political party, neither with the past ruling Liberal Party nor with the new emerging ruling PDP-Laban party under the Duterte administration led by Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez is one tactical move to stave off what can be dubbed now as a “Chiongkee threat”.

At the same time, his move wants to stave off  the emerging powerhouse and formidable alliance of Alvarez, the Uys of Tagum City, Vice Gov. Alan Dujali, Tagum City Mayor Allan Rellon and so far the mayors who go for PDP-Laban as of todate – Mayor Al David Uy of IGACOS, Kapalong Mayor Maritess Timbol, San Isidro Mayor Arnel Sitoy and last-termer Talaingod Mayor Basilio Libayao.

politial alliances in davao del norte

The Uys of Tagum would mean Compostela Valley senior Board Member and ex-Gov. Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy, who has been rumored to be eyeing to run for governor in the province where he is originally identified with, Davao del Norte, and former Tagum City Mayor Rey “Cee O” Uy, who is still very much influential for having at least the supermajority of incumbent barangay captains in the city trooping under his leadership though he is non-incumbent at present.

The elder Uy has been reported to be physically saturating himself in various places in Davao del Norte “to dovetail with the people and feel their pulses” according a highly placed source.

During the last Aug. 28, 2017 mass oathtaking of new PDP-Laban members that first took Tagum City by the storm of the fast-running PDP-Laban train pushed by Speaker Alvarez and Senate President Koko Pimentel, Mayors Timbol, Sitoy and Libayao (through the representation of his wife, his apparent political successor) took their oath as PDP-Laban members.

The activity area of the New City Hall was filled to the rafters with new PDP-Laban members out from elected officials from provincial down to barangay levels from District 1 areas where their mayors took oath including the massive number of officials from Tagum City who joined with Mayor Rellon, who became a PDP-Laban member two elections ago. The only board member from District 1 who took oath was Frank Remitar.

Also on that day, 99.8 percent of Compostela Valley’s elected officials took oath as new PDP-Laban members under the leadership of senior Board Member Uy and his son Gov. Jayvee Tyron Uy. The mass oathtaking in IGACOS followed, and this coming Nov. 30 the mass oathtaking of new PDP-Laban members in District 2 was scheduled right at Floirendo’s home turf- Panabo City.

The alliance of leaderships of Alvarez and Uys backed up by incumbent mayors with the vote-rich city of Tagum and the four other mayors who have switched sides to Alvarez camp and the plus factor of Suaybaguios is a powerhouse dream team formidable enough to defeat the Floirendos and even with the Del Rosarios in the next election, opined an old political turk based in Tagum who asked not to be named.

“For one, it would be for the first time in the history of the province that the combined resources of Floirendos and Del Rosarios can now be matched with the combined resources of Speaker Alvarez and Uy,” he reckoned.

Alvarez has been often talked about in rounds awash with funds because being a Speaker naturally enables him to have access to vast government resources under the congressional power of the purse, more so as he has a supermajority in Congress under his beck and call, thus making him as truly a President’s protégé Speaker.

The Speaker has also advanced his cases against Tadeco’s JVA at Sandiganbayan and at the Dept. of Justice and there have been talks that the Dapecol’s JVA area of more than 5,000 hectares would be reverted to the government soon and a large portion of it would be transformed into a biggest airport of the country.

“Chiongkee is a political threat and that’s the reason why AGR goes independent, with him bidding that the Chiongkee political threat will be defused by it,” the analyst said.

Another source from Tagum City Council earlier said that the governorship was actually “offered” by Alvarez to Uy, but the latter first said that he preferred running for Tagum City mayor than for governor, but that could bring trouble and disunity in PDP-Laban ranks given that Rellon is also a PDP-Laban member.

However, two weeks after that offer, there have been reports already that said that Uy had started to go to various places in Davao del Norte.

“Opportunity only knocks once, and that opportunity comes due to feud between the Speaker and Congressman Floirendo,” the old political turk said, adding that Uy has “more chances now” in his original province as when he first entered in politics “as a stranger” in Comval.

True enough, Uy first ran in Comval for Congress in 1998 against entrenched and legendary Cong. Pros Amatong. He was defeated with a narrow margin of only over 1,000 votes, surprising many.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t mean the pro-Floirendo incumbents would have no rivals as given a challenger cum administration Alvarez-Uy alliance many formidable non-incumbent personalities could be awakened into running and forging strange-bedfellow alliances at their lower levels.

In the governor’s press conference on Monday, he confusingly said that because he has declared to be independent he would then simply advise board members “to join the group of Bebot Alvarez, our Speaker.” This would be addressed to Board Members Shirley Belen Aala, Enting Eliot, Joey Millan, all last termers, and to first-termer Alfredo “Ticque” De Veyra.

But for the five District 2 Board Members Rodney del Rosario, Hernani Duco, Erning Evangelista, Roy Catalan and Janet Tanong, they would surely troop under the leadership of Cong. Floirendo.

As of this date, four of the five District Mayors (except IGACOS Mayor Al David Uy) have continued to be with Kusog Baryohanon party led by Floirendo. They are Panabo City Mayor James Gamao, Sto. Tomas Mayor Jun Batosalem, BE Dujali Mayor and lawyer Leah Marie Moral-Romano, and most probably Asuncion Mayor and lawyer Yuri Dayaday, who said earlier that he considered himself an independent mayor.

Thus, when Gov. AGR declared independence and advised the four District 1 board members to join the group of Alvarez it is as if he is saying he has to complete the separation of the District 1 and District 2 board members- “five of them to each of their congressman”.

This as he distances himself away to be safe from being pulled to side with any of the two forces clashing against each other, while pledging that he would support all of the reelectionists regardless of their parties if he continues to be independent comes the 2019 electoral season. That is short of saying, “I will all support you so don’t support Chiongkee,” the analyst speculated.

Gov. AGR apparently wanted that all of them would support his reelection bid comes 2019, drawing up a sight that when he calls for unity he is actually pulling the rug out from under to stave off this early Chiongkee threat to his governorship.

This rather shrewd tactical move of Gov. AGR seems apparent when he said during his press conference on Monday that he hoped “people will step back and absorb (his) call for unity… hoping that our political leaders from congressmen down to municipal level and the citizenry that they will think back and hopefully absorb and join his call for unity”.

With the “Chiongkee threat” the governor appears to be panicky as he came up his decision to go independent after thinking it out for one and a half months and as he painted dark the horizon saying “grabe na kaayo ang tension dire. You can feel the tug-of-war between the two districts”, “there are people who are pushing the division of this province” and “there are a lot of intrigues that came up”. He added that “the tension is there” and “if it continues you can be sure that magkagabot gyod dire (trouble would really come in the province).

“Trouble? Who made and pictured them? Why the dark foreboding? Perhaps the governor needs to be reminded that we have democracy, and Davao del Norte is part of it,” the old political turk of Tagum added. ( Monforte)