It must be the longest wait ever for the loyal supporters of the once embattled Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron. For many weeks before his return, City Hall was abuzz with news of the second coming of the man they call Charlie Brown. The sudden and bizarre turn of events came after the Ombudsman reconsidered its December 2016 ruling which dismissed Bayron from government service, and instead imposed a three months suspension. As expected, the Mayor’s change of fortune has put his legion of fans in a frenzy, all eager to see him breeze into town and march all the way to his old office at City Hall. Understandably, partisans of Acting Mayor Luis Marcaida were as unbelieving as the doubting Thomasses, insisting to see hard documents from the Office of the Ombudsman, before calling it a day.
The ruling must have come as a shock to the Acting Mayor who must now reckon with the reality that Mayor Bayron is indeed back in the saddle. It will be recalled that the assumption of the then Vice Mayor was detested by Bayron’s core of supporters who expected him to take over as OIC of the Mayor’s Office, not as a full pledge Mayor. But Marcaida was unbending, and with the support of DILG, took his Oath as Mayor. As a consequence, the broad political coalition organized by Bayron which delivered ” kuridas ” results last elections, had distanced themselves from Marcaida, practically making him a political orphan.
How succeeding events will unfold are definitive of the course of politics in the city for years to come. With Mayor Bayron entrenched at the helm, the Vice Mayor’s biggest challenge now is how to stay relevant in a hostile environment. And with strained relationship with most of City Councilors, Vice Mayor Luis will have to mend several fences and reconfigure his political future without Big Charlie Brown on the wings.
Meanwhile, with his political resurrection, Mayor Bayron has emerged as the biggest winner of this unfortunate episode in the City government. The amazing speed in which he obtained a reversal of the Ombudsman’s findings speaks highly of the skills and focused determination of the legal team which Bayron assembled. It also highlighted his tenacity and resilience as a leader, unafraid to face what seemed to be as insurmountable odds. And of course, with what he went through, the Mayor has the moral high ground to cleanse his ranks, fortify his forces and recover lost grounds in his administration.
Politics is sometimes described as the art of the possible. And in our place and time, what was once given up as a goner could, indeed, bounce back and live another day.