But the local media has been timid enough to say what the grapevine has known all along: Zubiri will ask Calingasan to step down after six months so the former could regain the top provincial post. It looks like Nonoy Joe would just be taking a brief sabbatical. There will be no real transfer of power, only a token period of time for Calingasan to get a feel of being governor.
A source said that as quid pro quo Zubiri has promised the future ex-governor (Calingasan) the post of agriculture undersecretary. That, however, depends on who succeeds Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Calingasan, who worked at the regional agriculture office before joining politics, will have to keep his fingers crossed that Zubiri can still rub elbows with the next president. In other words, his fate may rest on his patron's choice of 'presidentiable'.
If it is of any consolation, the elder Zubiri has shown adeptness in dealing with major political players. Like other traditional politicians he bets on the perceived winner and is always ready to jump ship whenever the situation calls for it.
Zubiri's choice of guests of honor for Bukidnon's foundation day celebration would always betray his political preference for the moment. Last year, he invited former Senate president Manuel Villar, whose presidential ambition is known to everybody and who was then leading in surveys.. Although allied with Malacanang, Zubiri, in 2007, campaigned for Villar as well as for Senators Francis Escudero and Loren Legarda, sure winners who all ran under the United Opposition.
But the Senate shakeup last year, triggered by the C-5 controversy which implicated Villar, saw Senator Zubiri switch loyalty to the new Senate president, Juan Ponce Enrile. Such decision could only have been made after consulting the governor. Villar had lost father and son and possibly a huge chunk of Bukidnon's half a million voters.
So for this year's Kaamulan the province has invited Legarda as guest of honor, a few days after the Pulse Asia said a Loren-Chiz (Escudero's nickname) tandem could get 40% of the votes cast in 2010.
Surveys, however, as the late Senator Raul Roco said, are just roadmaps. They never show the humps and potholes along the way to Malacanang. What it all means is that Zubiri's choice could still change until the last minute depending on what would benefit him most. Only one thing is sure: he will win as vice governor and get back the governorship after six months.
Calingasan, on the other hand, will only sit it out for six short months inside the capitol before relinquishing his would-be post to the old occupant.. If he runs out of luck, i.e. if he does not get the undersecretary portfolio, he might just retire in his ranch in small Libona town and wonder if he really became governor.
Talk about eradicating dynasty. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. You may send your comments to [email protected])