For much of 2012, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista’s stay at the City Hall seems to be in danger. When the filing for the certificate of candidacies lapsed last October 5, it turned out that Bautista will be essentially running unopposed.
The media speculations centered on the possibility of noontime show host and comedian Vic Sotto challenging “Bistek,” Curiously, the real threat to Bautista came from his political patron, House Speaker and three-term mayor Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.
As early as 2011, then-transportation and communication secretary Mar Roxas’ supposed interest in the House speakership has been widely reported. For it to happen, Roxas must first be able to win a congress seat from his Capiz hometown, which he represented from 1993 to 2000. If he wins, Roxas must then deal with Belmonte, who is just in his first term as a Quezon City solon. Ergo, Belmonte must be made to give way to Roxas.
According to three sources, the elder Belmonte’s original plan is to make another run for the city hall, which he occupied for 2001 to 2010. His daughter Joy, who currently serves as the Vice Mayor, will then succeed as the representative of the city’s 4th district. The plan is logical as explained by a well-known political observed: the elder Belmonte has a much better chance of unseating Bautista than his daughter.
Bautista and Belmonte used to be allied with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Lakas-Kampi-CMD prior to their defection to then-Senator Benigno Aquino III’s Liberal Party (LP) in 2009. Belmonte immediately emerged as one of LP’s national leaders. With this reality, how can Bistek expect to secure LP’s backing over Belmonte? It is but natural therefore for Bautista to have preliminary talks with the United Nationalist Alliance of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
The sudden death in a plane crash last August of Jesse Robredo triggered a chain of events that in many ways affected the political scene in Quezon City. Roxas’ designation as Robredo’s successor prevented him from seeking any public office at all.
With Roxas out of the picture, the LP will have a hard time looking for a new House chief if Belmonte runs for mayor. As it is, he ultimately decided to stay in Congress. Meanwhile, Bautista and his vice mayor will face only token opposition. And last but not the least; Vic Sotto is still in Eat Bulaga.
PS: There are two other Belmontes seeking elective posts in Quezon City next year. Vincent Belmonte is running for reelection as councilor in the 4th district. He made news recently after being targeted by anti-“epal” groups.
Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, another nephew of the speaker, is seeking the congressional seat in the newly-created sixth district. He first gained national attention after he was linked to the activities of the renegade Magdalo soldiers back in 2006.