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Will the Frasco fracas make Christina resign?

Outright, the answer is no.

Jul 7, 2023

Antonio J. Montalvan II

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3-minute read

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Outright, the answer is no.

Christina Codilla Frasco is a creature of the politically scheming world she was born into. The manifestation of support signed by One Cebu Island instead lays bare a manifestation of how that politics works.

Christina’s world is a world where public service is never actualized as public service. Sixty signatories composed of congressmen, mayors and city/municipal councilors signed the manifesto that denounced “sabotage” and “demolition job” against Christina. In an ideal world, those can be fair grievances. But we live under a damaged political culture.

Instead, it works through loyalism. Consider the opposite scenario – would the sixty signatories sign that manifesto if their political boss the provincial governor of Cebu was not Christina’s mother? That is an existential question grounded on our feudal reality.

Loyalism can be translated into many transactional ways in Philippine politics. For one, there are the financial rewards that can go with it. The governor can cut largesse. Gwen Garcia is infamous for her public displays of temper tantrums. What else can she do behind closed doors where the transactions take place when she is not dancing in the Sinulog?

In Philippine politics, political vendetta is a feared scenario. It can mean withdrawal of support in the next elections. The lucrative offers of public service (or the veneer that it is) is the ultimate goal, hence the need for political survival whatever the means. It means the politics that sees no evil and hears no evil. Calling out one’s mayor or governor for misdemeanors – as public servants should do to fiscalize and to hold accountability – can mean being dropped even at the last minute of a political campaign.

Two Cebu officials did not sign the manifesto – Cebu City north district representative Rachel del Mar and Danao City mayor Thomas Durano. How will their political futures pan out from there?

No other province in the entire country has offered the same manifesto of support for Christina Frasco but only her mother’s.

The other significant reality going for Christina is that Bongbong Marcos will never ask for her resignation as tourism secretary. That would be a grievous political suicide for him. If he will field his own political successor in the 2028 presidential elections as already rumored, his successor will badly need Cebu to win.

Cebu is the country’s most vote-rich province at 3.2M registered voters last elections. In 2022, Cebu delivered to Marcos Jr. his highest votes ever from any province. That was a complete turn-around from the 2016 elections where he lost heavily in Cebu province.

But the extensive Garcia clan was initially reluctant for a Marcos support. Some family members cited a history of being anti-Marcos. That was crucial, for the Garcia’s One Cebu was the province’s most influential party that had the network to cover the entire province.

Who convinced the formidable clan to turn Marcos? It was Christina Frasco, the provincial governor’s daughter who was municipal mayor of Liloan. She was president of the Cebu chapter of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines. She was Sara Duterte’s spokesperson and thus had the promise of being appointed to the Marcos cabinet. The Garcias loved that.

Thus in October 2021, Frasco signed a letter officially signifying her support for the Marcos Uniteam. She was not just a Garcia daughter. Her husband Duke Frasco was congressman. Her husband’s first cousin Aljew Frasco was vice mayor (and he indeed succeeded her as mayor). That is how she got her cabinet position. It is called dynastic clout.

And that is how to understand the gargantuan boo-boos she has made as tourism secretary. No one planned a demolition job against her. No one wanted to sabotage her as her mother’s knights templars exaggerate. She simply self-destructed.

She will stay and the scandal-tainted  “Love the Philippines” will also stay because that is dictated by politics, not the common good.

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