The COMELEC decision disqualifying Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo is nothing more but a desperate and cheap tactic on the part of the Villafuertes, through buddies Brawner and Ferrer at the COMELEC, to snatch city hall from Robredo, who defeated two Villafuertes before and is set to massacre another Vilafuerte, this time a nephew, on May 11.
The strategy up Villafuerte's sleeve is to confuse the Naga voters with an obfuscating disqualification decision and discourage them from voting for a mayor that could ultimately be declared unfit to govern by reason of Chinese ancestry. Once the heat of the election is over, there is almost no doubt that Robredo would once again be declared a Filipino.
For the jaded, this might seem just another case of a local government executive suspended or dismissed, but Robredo is not just your average city mayor. A Ramon Magsaysay Awardee, he is one of the most highly esteemed mayors, and enjoys a reputation like no other local government executive in the country.
Mayor Robredo lamented in one interview that he is often declared to be Chinese whenevever there's an election, but he reverts back to being a Filipino after. He also wondered why Villafuerte did not bother asking for his citizenship when they were running together in the same ticket in the past.
Teresita Ang See is, of course, incensed by such racial McCarthyism. She asks (see the PCIJ blog entry here):
It defies anyone’s imagination. How can a Jesse Robredo, a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee from the Philippines, who was born, bred and educated as a Filipino, elected for five terms and performed spectacularly as a Mayor, finally be disqualified from his Mayorship this last minute because of his Chinese ancestry? Next, are we Filipinos going to be asked to disclaim our national heroes for being of Chinese descent too?
I suspect there's another reason why Villafuerte is questioning Robredo's citizenship--and that is to tap the latent anti-Chinese sentiment in the hearts of some people. Let us admit it: there are still some people who think Filipinos of Chinese descent should just stay in Chinatown. The good thing about Mayor Robredo is that he does not carry a monosyllabic surname (good decision on the part of his father for choosing Robredo as a name) and his facial features aren't really that Chinese.