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Political promise and peril in Quezon’s 2nd District: Procy Alcala vs Jayjay Suarez – 3

Tumbas Manipis
by John A. Bello

Let’s backtrack for a bit of quickie political history. It can be recalled that not so long ago in the political campaign for the May 10, 2010 elections, Procy Alcala pushed for the gubernatorial candidacy of Jayjay Suarez whose running mate happens to be no less than Procy’s bro, then board member Kulit Alcala. He had a falling out with his partymate, then incumbent Gov. Rafael Nantes on the issue of the province’s division into Quezon Del Norte and Quezon del Sur and, of course, owing to the latter’s choice for vice governor, Kelly Portes. In the 2007 elections, it was Jayjay Suarez and Portes who were runningmates against Nantes and his vice gubernatorial bet, former governor Eddie Rodriguez. Nantes beat Suarez but Portes won over Rodriguez in the May 2007 elections and 3 years later, in the 2010 elections, Suarez beat Nantes and Alcala defeated Portes.

In the 2013 midterm elections, Suarez won for his 2nd term as governor over Irvin Alcala but the latter’s runningmate, Samuel Nantes, son of the late governor Nantes, clobbered Suarez’ runningmate, Romano Talaga. It was also in 2013 when then vice governor Kulit Alcala had opted to run for congressman instead of running for reelection and easily snatched the 2nd congressional post that had been occupied by Procy in 2004-2010 and by Irvin in 2010-2013.

In the May 2010 elections, Procy, had abandoned his own reelection bid and gave way to his son, Irvin, to run for congressman in the 2nd district supposedly to help in the presidential and vice presidential campaign of Benigno Aquino III and Mar Roxas. When Aquino won, he appointed Procy as agriculture secretary. After the stunning political victory of Davao city mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the May 2016 presidential elections, Procy returned to private life. In the coming May 2019 elections, Procy plans to make a political comeback when he filed his certificate of candidacy as congressman for the 2nd district.

With David Suarez, the youngest governor to have been elected in Quezon province at the age of 32, Procy Alcala has seemingly met his proper political match. Without Suarez, it would be a piece of cake, so to speak, for Alcala to get back his old post in the 2nd district. No other political contender seems viable enough to face the Alcalas in their own turf so here comes Suarez who has been a provincial governor for three full terms, with, as his political camp claims, no blot or blemish to his political track record and with a string of accomplishments that can only be considered as enviable and sterling: Galing Pook awardee in 2014 for Lingap Kalusugan para sa Barangay and Quezon 2 in 1: 2 million mangroves in 1 day both signed by former Pres. Noynoy Aquino; Seal of Good Housekeeping in 2011 signed by then DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo; in 2017 Seal of Good Local Governance for accountability, transparency and good governance and Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping in the area of fiscal management; most outstanding governor in the field of agriculture in 2014, 2015 and 2016; DOH first LGU champion in the country for First 1,000 Days of Life Program, among many others.

Indeed, the young David looks like he is the right match for Procy Alcala, considered the ‘Farmers’ congressman’ in the 2nd district in the May 13, 2019 elections. The governor has his 9 years in the provincial capitol, and earlier his 1 term as vice governor and board member to back him up in his congressional bid as against the track record of Procy Alcala’s one term as congressman and 6 years as agriculture secretary under PNoy administration. Earlier Procy has been awarded as Natatanging Anak ng Lucena in 2002, and Quezon Medalya ng Karangalan for Environment Protection in 2003 even before he was elected as congressman in 2004 which proves that even as a private citizen he has what it takes to make a dent in the community.

Politics makes strange bedfellows. Politics takes on surreal contortion especially at the local level. The voters are in for a rude shock of their political lives and their political naivete would be nonchalantly shattered in the game of realpolitik in Quezon province.

As a parting shot here is a poem I have updated en route to the May 13 elections in the Year of the Pig.

A Desperate Appeal to the Mature Voters of Quezon Province on Election Day

Make your voting time unforgettable

Be sure it is pregnant with your own

Intensity and moral exertion.

Beware of your naivete

You could be an easy catch

For seductive traps.

Suitors are primed in their trail

To wave their magic bullet

That offers you the supposed right bet.

Be careful.

The ways of the vote

Take the ways of the world.

On the day of reckoning

Your sovereign vote is at stake

That could mean either fulfilment

Of promise or peril.