|VINDICATED:Senator Shahani (Extreme Left) and son|
Ranjit (Extreme Right).
BY LILA SHAHANI
For the record, the Shahanis WERE NOT INVITED to the family reunion organized by the Agsaluds and the Braganzas in Pangasinan. In fact, Sen Shahani and Ranjit Shahani DID NOT EVEN KNOW about the event until after the fact. But they would have gone simply for the sake of family solidarity. Nani Braganza went to our home in Asinan and threatened to physically harm Ranjit, who was alone in the house. We already knew Nani was going to be the gubernatorial candidate: nothing surprising or upsetting there, right? But if you come into our ancestral home with six security men and start shouting and bullying, you will lose our support, period.
I notice no one has bothered to ask WHY the Shahanis got offended in the first place. We would have supported Nani had he politely informed us beforehand of his/the party's decision, instead of acting all high-and-mighty. The two cousins have been friends in the past, and we’ve always always shown respect towards his parents and family. We're not bothered by the "favorite nephew of FVR" issue. To be a favorite with certain powers-that-be, you need to be a sipsip, and no Shahani has ever sucked up to anyone.
We're very comfortable standing on our own merits. All you need to do is read their respective curriculum vitae and you can judge their qualifications for yourself. But Ranjit is not "barkada," and that says more about the decision-making process that CHOOSES BARKADA OVER MERIT.
A sad day for the Republic, indeed -- especially when you see how Nani did not even win in his own city, let alone the entire province.
But we could have told them that 6 months ago. The point is: if you want to win in a vote-rich province like Pangasinan, you should CONSULT the locals first, rather than simply treating the province as a political launching pad for 2016. Hurt? My mother is DISAPPOINTED. She's too much of a seasoned politician who's had her share of hard knocks (and too much of an intellectual, more importantly) to be hurt by poor strategists. Good strategy would have been campaigning on the basis of SUBSTANCE and platforms, instead of demonizing opponents.
Funny that this only seems to happen in the vote-rich provinces (why not areas like Maguindanao, where the corruption is amply documented?) but the locals are harder to fool, you see. By all means let's fight jueteng, but let's do it CONSISTENTLY everywhere in the country, and question it even if practiced by our own friends and allies.
Thanks and FYI,
(speaking in a personal capacity)