Who is running kyusee?
Is it Mayor Herbert “Bistek” Bautista or his vice mayor, Joy Belmonte?
This question came to the fore after I witnessed Ms. Belmonte’s Ulat sa Bayan
and Bistek’s State of the City Address (SOCA) last Monday.
The demeanor of both officials is revealing.
It is hard to mistake the huge influence the Belmonte family is exerting in running the affairs of the city government.
Some pundits even had the gall to say that Mayor Bautista is a mere “seat warmer” and that the real power lies not only with the amiable vice mayor but her family.
They stressed that if not for the constitutional provision on term limits, the elder Belmonte, the House Speaker Sonny, would surely still be in office as the city’s chief executive.
They also observed that aside from their grip on the second most powerful post in the city, there are at least two Belmonte family members sitting as city councilors, which gives them “control of the city’s legislative body.”
This is notwithstanding the fact that the for-mer mayor and Bautista’s predecessor, Feliciano Belmonte Jr., is also in control of the House of Representatives being the speaker of the house and a representative of the city’s 4th district.
The elder Belmonte is a formidable political influence on the three other city representatives namely Vincent Crisologo, Winston Castelo and Jorge John Banal Jr.
In effect, Bautista is a lame duck mayor, one observer who asked not to be named, said.
The elder Belmonte and Bautista, the sources explained, had a falling out after the latter tried to become more independent from the former.
They said Bautista’s father, a former councilor QC himself, wants his son to chart an independent future from the Belmonte’s.
That is the reason why Bautista nearly cried that he had to be given paper hankies and water when Belmonte arrived at the SOCA albeit late.
Nevertheless, the elder Belmonte and the distraught Bautista did not talk even after the SOCA was concluded.
A number of witnesses told this writer that Bautista deliberately came in late in his own SOCA because he knew for a fact that the whole affair is a Belmonte show.
Some even noted that the vice mayor’s Ulat sa Bayan was lengthier and had more substance and depth than Bautista’s SOCA.
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