Kidapawan Political Intramurals


by Ali G. Macabalang

I live in Kidapawan City since 1987 but I have not trained my analytical attention to the city’s political intramurals. In this current electoral season, I have devoted my attention to the Presidential race and the brewing political contests in Maguindanao in relation to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) governance.

With barely a week left for the May 9 elections, I am sharing my views to the public about the four-cornered mayoralty contest in Kidapawan City.

According to reports reaching me, the highly probable winner in the vice mayoralty race is Junjun Lamata. Being so, let’s take him as the common denominator in the mayoral contest among lawyer Pao Evangelista (son of incumbent city Mayor Joseph Evangelista), Jivjiv Bombeo (incumbent vice mayor and son of my friend Jun Bombeo), and Jun F. Piñol, a long-time friend and former journalist-turned politico.

There is a fourth mayoral contender, one Budoy Pinoy. He is least known, but still his followers in Barangay Singao and relative-employees in the city government would vote for him and their votes will be a minus factor from camps of Bombeo and Evangelista, while Piñol’s solid 24,000 followers remain intact.

On the basis of field reports I got, I am presenting the following three possible scenarios when Lamata made it to the vice mayoral post:

Scenario One -If Jivjiv Bombeo is elected mayor, Lamata would likely be in rough working relation with him. It may be recalled that Bombeo had filed a case before the Ombudsman against 12 city councilors including Lamata. The rift between them reportedly began when both were barangay officials of Barangay Poblacion, with Lamata as chairman and Bombeo as kagawad. Many believed Bombeo and Lamata would drag their rivalry to their reign as mayor and vice mayor. Their tussle will be counter-productive and affront to public welfare.

Scenario Two – If lawyer Evangelista wins the mayoralty race, Lamata’s dream to rise to the mayoral post will be far-fetched. Analysts said lawyer Evangelista will either cling to the mayoral post for three-term with the backing of his influential father, the incumbent mayor who now guns for a seat in the North Cotabato provincial board, or give way to his father after one term.

Scenario Three – If Piñol makes it in the mayoral race, which many residents viewed as very likely, the offices of the city mayor and vice mayor will be sailing smoothly. Lamata and Piñol are long-time friends and partners in several undertakings.

I personally know Piñol, just like his elder brothers – Efren, Manny and Pat. Of the three mayoral aspirants, Piñol enjoys the edge. He has been in politics for decades. He is the most experienced among Kidapawan politicians. He has served the city government as information officer, city councilor and vice mayor. He had also proven worth in the provincial government as provincial administrator and elected congressman in North Cotabato .

Piñol, who is in his mid-60s like me, told me his mayoralty bid would be his “last hurrah” in public service. His stance means Lamata will have very wide latitude to rise to the city’s top elected post, not to mention the fact that the two as well as their families have been friends.

In a nutshell, the third scenario for a Piñol-Lamata partnership is most preferred. It will hasten the process of fixing many loopholes, both known and untold, in Kidapawan City. Let’s elect Jun Piñol for good. God bless us. (AGM)

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