How Lopez betrayed his district

The Inside Story

 Months prior to the 2007 May elections, Second District last-termer congressman Ruy Elias Lopez literally on his knees begged Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to take him as his running mate.

            When spurned, Lopez, Duterte’s partymate in the Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, planned to swallow his pride and eat his own words and make peace with Congressman Prospero Nograles for the sake of the 2007 elections.

Lopez has now indeed joined Nograles, whose boss Arroyo he wanted to topple down in 2005. Yes, betrayal and friendship are the key words.

            This is the sin so grave that Duterte kicked him out of the Hugpong and dumped his plea to be his running mate in 2007.

            Flashback to late 2005. Duterte was enjoying the friendship of President Arroyo in that year when the president was accused of rigging the elections leading to impeachment proceedings against her in Congress.

            The Hello Garci tapes had led to the worst political crisis of the Arroyo presidency.

            Duterte, whose Hugpong had aligned with the administration Lakas/CMD in 2005 and then the President’s consultant on internal security and presidential trouble-shooter for the volatile Central Mindanao, had stood by the President as the controversy sparked speculations of a military coup.

            Hoping Davao City would not be dragged into the fire burning the House of Representatives flared by the Hello Garci, tapes he had asked Lopez to be at the side of Arroyo on the controversy.

            But Lopez, even as his Nationalist People’s Coalition is coalesced with the rainbow party Lakas/CMD, apparently sensed that the days of Arroyo is numbered and joined the opposition in signing the impeach resolution.

            From that day on, Lopez lost the graces of Duterte not only due to betrayal of friendship but also for the implications of his actions.

            Lopez’ anti-Arroyo stance had cost his district serious damage: the House leadership after the aborted impeachment had refused to release his Congressional Development Fund for two years thereafter. Quantified into real benefits for his constituents, the CDF would have been P140 million worth of projects.

             A leading member of Hugpong narrated this course of event as Team Nograles in media reports quoting former mayor Ben de Guzman said that Lopez inked a political pact with Nograles because  Duterte is pushing Sara for the vice mayorship in 2005.

            De Guzman, now facing Duterte in the vice mayoral race, said Lopez told Duterte he would not be part of his campaign if Hugpong chooses Sara.

            This is a lie. Lopez asked for the slot but was spurned. He has conveniently forgotten that he has been kicked out from Hugpong in 2005 after he joined moves to impeach Arroyo. In fact, suffering from guilt, he had kept himself out of the radar of Duterte for two years until he met with him to beg that he be considered for the Hugpong vice mayorship, the Hugpong member said.

            Lopez is staging a comeback against Hugpong’s Congressman Isidro Ungab who miserably beat his brother Rene in 2007, under Nograles’ Lakas/Kampi/CMD.

But a Second District starved during his incumbency has no need for him today after committing a blunder when he backed impeachment moves against Arroyo, said the Hugpong member.

            After calling for the ouster of Arroyo in 2005, Lopez has now joined the administration party using his split with Duterte as a convenient reason, said the Hugpong member.

Lying politicians are the most hated persons during elections. Lopez joined Nograles for the only reason that Duterte did not take him as his running mate in 2005, the Hugpong member said. RMB

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