IN THE RACE, WINNABLY by Willie Baun, People’s Journal
Monday, 22 February 2010
Lito Atienza, former three term Manila mayor and Environment secretary, has been declared legally and politically fit to run anew by the Commission on Elections.
In the February 11 resolution of the Comelec, the petition to bar Atienza from retaking City Hall “is not meritorious,” according to the Second Division of the poll watchdog — citing Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code.
Thus, in dismissing the charges that Atienza lied in his certificate of candidacy, Presiding Commissioner Nicodemo Ferror said:
“In the case at bar, Atienza’s declaration in his CoC that he was nominated by the Liberal Party-Atienza Wing, cannot be considered as a material misrepresentation within the contemplation of Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code.
“The nomination extended by a political party does not relate at all to a qualification to run for public office. There is no provision in the law that requires one to be nominated by a political party before he can run for a public office.
“As a matter of fact, even independent candidates or those nominated by two or more registered political parties can still run as long as they possess all the qualifications stated in the law.”
Pardon the extensive quote, folks, but we have to be sure nobody can fault us for partisanship. We take note of the fact that the petitioner is a certain Atty. Nicolas R. Nicolas even as we swear to be absolutely clueless of his connection, if any, to incumbent Manila Mayor Fred Lim: iconic “Dirty Harry” of law-and-order enforcement in the capital.
As Hizzoner certainly can stand for the record of his handling of City Hall affairs, so can Atienza fall confidently back on his remarkable three-term feat as Buhayin ang Maynila pro-life and environment crusader.
Crime-free slums and streets are one thing but, hey, criminal neglect of the Manila Bay, Pasig River and the capital’s water and sewerage system can’t be sneezed at either. Ecology-related ailment and disease kill more citizens than guns and goons do anywhere in the world.
Not to mention, to belabor the obvious socio-economic gains that the Atienza administration doggedly enhanced via the Buhayin program. Urban renewal, business resurgence, and employment, to my mind, are the more enduring solution to crime in the city.
And if that’s a pitch verging on a pro-Atienza throw, let it be said nonetheless that a sense of community or common interest is a test of good politics. I reckon it will define the Atienza-Lim battle zone in the run-up to mayoral balloting in May 2010.
Put simply, the bottom line, courtesy of the Comelec promulgation, is that Lito is in the race and winnably so — with all due respect to Lim’s bid for re-election. Atienza is in the Pwersa ng Masa slate behind Joseph Estrada as standard bearer as he was with the ousted president to his last day in Malacañang.
Like Lito has famously said: “I don’t jump ship.” Manila-born, raised in Sampaloc, lifetime family man in San Andres and voter — Lito is in the mayoral race, winnably.
Former Manila Assemblyman, General Manager of the National Housing Authority, Manila Vice-Mayor for 6 years, Mayor of Manila for 9 years, and Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources