Catanduanes ga helang, once more
posted 7-May-2016  ·  
4,920 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

Campaign jokes, oddities.

  • Congressional race: A rumble among a boksingero, a karatista and a kristo.
  • Bagamanoc posters: Villaluna for PBM, Teves for governor: Villaluna for PBM, Wong for governor. Sino ba talaga?
  • Silangan gas station poster: Duterte for president, Marcos for vice president. Where hast Alan Peter Cayetano gone?
  • Boboy Cua camp: Binay for president, Marcos for vice president. Goodbye, Gringo!
  • UNA team: Ang Bagong CS?  CS pa rin!
  • Wong poster:  Ang Bagong Isla?  It’s La Isla pera-pera.
  • Senatorial candidates were not spared from the vote-buying syndrome in this island. Upon the prodding and advice of local coordinators who don’t give a damn on decency and respect for the Senate as an institution, senatoriables were forced to shell out P50 bills for each Catandungeno voter. The Senate bets must have learned a sickening lesson from us. Nakakahiya!  Dito pa sila sa isla naturuan.
  • Finally, as one observer sees it, expect a good number of invalidated votes since every voter would probably return the P550 favor they got from each candidate by not forgetting their corresponding dots on the ballot. This means multiple voting or possibly excess voting. Though a Catandungeño voter has earned over time some degree of notoriety vis-à-vis vote-buying, deep within him, he still has a palabra de honor, delicadeza or what we call utang na boot.


The big Catandungan vote fair – a P600 million instant trade, P600 million in my estimate -- has opened! Vote buyers and sellers are on a heyday. Barangay folks are euphoric but dazed over the steady creeping sorties of envelop-bearing candidates. The last-hour jostling for inclusion in the listings of ward leaders or the cabos is the main worry for every household. Suddenly the number of vehicles in the island has multiplied, each bearing the tarpaulins and stickers of the candidates. The campaign jingles on board pick-ups and SUVs are in high decibels, not sparing even the Church masses where homilies are precisely pointed at orderly, credible and bribe-free voting. One political party is on a massive voters’ validation operation in an effort far intense and extensive than that of the local Comelec. 


This is Catanduanes, election time. Many seemed unconcerned as to what issues are being raised in the political campaign. The scuttlebutt is that whoever gives the higher per-voter fee is the one with the credible and weightier platform of governance.  Frankly I have no idea how this abnormality or shall we say a malady of society will end. It may not end at all. Not in our time. The practice is getting embedded deeper as we see our youth get indulge in such very, very disgusting exercise with the tolerance of parents themselves and the community. Who is to be blamed for this breakdown of moral, individual and public discipline as well? We ourselves have to diagnose first what is wrong with us. Tayo mismo ang may sakit.


Last week, I was interviewed on air by a colleague, Arlene Bagadiong, about a reported libel case filed against me and my chief editor Fernan Gianan over certain articles written in the Tribune about the power situation in Catanduanes. I begged off commenting on the complaint since I have yet to see a copy. But what struck me was Arlene’s report that the case was filed not in Virac, but in Albay. A libel case doesn’t surprise me anymore or for that matter any media man in Bicol or elsewhere. It is a risk attendant to the media profession. As a Manila newsman, I had my first and only libel case some time in l980 when Manila banker and now evangelist Ramon “Ray” Orosa, then president of the now defunct Interbank, sued me for my articles in the Daily Express exposing fund anomalies in the teachers-owned Philippine Public School Teachers Association (PPSTA). The allegations raised in my paper were that PPSTA funds had been lost in bad stocks investments arranged by financial consultants. Somehow my articles indicated that Mr. Orosa had a hand, an accusation he denied and which promoted him to file a libel case against me as the reporter and the Daily Express editors. The case did not progress, but the expose prompted then President Marcos to order an investigation into the financial scam. The issue was one of significant public interest, to the teachers especially.


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