Archive for February, 2009

OPINION: Political orphans

Posted in davao del norte governor rodolfo del rosario, former vice gov anthony del rosario, hodgskin lymphoma cancer, vice gov, victorio suaybaguio with tags , , , , on February 15, 2009 by cha monforte

By Cha Monforte

There are talks that Davao Del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario might do the thinkable: retire from politics as he’s already on his waning age- 76. Naughty pundits, nay those skeptics in the treacherous world of politics, now say that in perhaps seeing the present fate of his son heir-apparent Anthony Rafael, the good governor, like any father would react to a beloved son infirmed, may have been feeling distraught over a possible loss of his dream that someone from his children would take on his shoes and follow the footsteps that has led him to achieve a great and illustrious political career in a long timeline spanning three decades.

When he shed tears when son AGR ultimately announced in PDCC meeting that he is stricken with Hodgskin Lymphoma cancer in Stage 3 development, the governor’s act of wiping his eyes left a most vivid image most heart-shattering that added to the gloom of the most surprising news that reverberated so loudly beyond the halls of Capitol at Mankilam.

True, Gov. RDR has been there – in the ups and downs of the larger politics of this country and surely he’s one known political figure in Mindanao watched and tapped by various administrations. The apex of his politics was when he became the minister of environment department. At present, he remains a political force to reckon with despite the loss of his economic influence in the corporate boardroom of the mammoth Tadeco and Anflocor management. In this side of the country he is the regional boss of the party in power- Lakas. But the unexpected truth that stares at the great Davao del Norte leader is the possibility of losing a successor who comes from his own blood at a time when he’s on his waning age now.

The report that on few occasions the governor had hummed in to his political leaders that he might leave them might have been made only by their boss out of a slip or in jest, perhaps it was even cracked as a joke. But such unconfirmed report mirrored a possibility in human realm. But a mayor didn’t think so Gov. RDR would leave them to become political orphans, not at a time after his son AGR made a political exit, although this is being contested now by AGR’s name recently being carried in banners of provincial activities. Last week, an un-dated open letter was released by the Office of the Governor thanking for the prayers and various expressions of support given to AGR, who had already passed two chemotherapy treatments, the latest of which was February 5.

RDR’s retiring from politics even without AGR in his stead and place is also a thinkable option, the mayor I interviewed to opine acknowledged. But among other possible, thinkable options, the governor would not be leaving without leaving his post and other vital posts in the province under the care of the other members of his kapamilya- the politically active and emergent Floirendos and Lagdameos, and to his valuable political allies like Vice Gov. Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio. The reported conflict between the Floirendos and Del Rosario would ultimately be resolved, especially now with the present fate of AGR. In the end, “blood is thicker than water”, the mayor said.

BLOG AND BUZZ: There’s also talk that RDR’s top hatchetmen managing the Capitol are so overprotective to their governor that their actions at times put those in the legislative department in angry mood to them or they put a distance to the governor and those in the legislative department. They should have made second thought before making a cordon to the governor, otherwise the cordon becomes tightrope on where the governor walks…. When the governor is walking in a tightrope, they should and could not afford to lose allies. Or the hatchetmen also become political orphans on the prospect that allies would desert their recognized leader by the rope of alienation they put in between …. Who’s this alderman who has la affair with another woman? He was seen before Valentines Day going out from the B.I. Maybe the man was just a look-alike (For online edition, visit my blog at:, for your comments and reactions, e-mail:, watch and listen – hourly newscast in “Tagum Newsbreak” over WTV 11 channel at Skycable Tagum, and broadcast over DXPA 103.1 FM , 11:00-11:30 AM, Mon-Fri)

NEWS: Nabunturan councilor-anchor files libel suit vs. municipal planning officer over broadcast in new FM station

Posted in atty carlo ancla, comval, freddie coronica nabunturan, mayor macario humol, nabunturan, nabunturan councilor alfoson "jun" tabas, prosecutor II Alona Labtic with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2009 by cha monforte

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

COMPOSTELA VALLEY- Nabunturan town councilor Alfonso “Jun” Tabas Jr. filed Tuesday a libel case against one municipal planning and development coordinator Freddie Coronica stemming from a broadcast in a government-paid program over a new FM station in town DXPA 103.1 on January 24, 2009 when he attacked Tabas with a mouthful of allegedly scathing libelous remarks.

Tabas is a blocktime anchor of the same station and a known broadcaster here who ran independent and won a councilor’s slot in the last 2007 polls. He is known to be oppositionist to last-termer Mayor Macario Humol.

Tabas complaint was lodged to and docketed by the provincial prosecutor’s office with NPS No. XI-01-INV-09B-0002/9 Tuesday afternoon.

In his complaint received by prosecutor II Alona Labtic, Tabas stated that Coronica allegedly attacked his reputation during the radio program “Padayag sa Nabunturan” by calling him words as “kagawad Tigbas (a hack)”, “kagaw… kagaw sa katilingban (germ), “baboy… irong buang, askal…asong ulol” (pig…mad dog)”, “attack and collect, defend and collect (AC-DC)” broadcaster, “may pagkadakung mota (has big mote in the eye)” and “nagpakaulaw na sa SB (he put the Sangguniang Bayan to shame)”.

Coronica was guesting in the local government-paid blocktime aired on that date at around 6:30 A.M. when he talked about the P90-million bond flotation project of Humol administration, which is as press time being questioned by Tabas and other oppositors in court.

Tabas stated in his complaint that to vindicate his honor as public official, pastor of Missionary Baptist Church and as an active member of Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), he was forced to engage the services of a counsel and paid an acceptance fee of P50,000 to his lawyer.

Tabas stated that that he was executing the libel as criminal case with the reservation of filing administrative cases against the same respondent in other bodies, ostensibly the Ombudsman and Civil Service Commission.

Tabas’ complaint was supported by affidavit of witness Hernanito Clet, a personal assistant of Tabas who claimed he made audio recordings on the program anchored by municipal information officer Jennifer Echavez and guested by Coronica.

DXPA 103.1 had just started broadcasting last December and is owned by former Congressman Prospero Amatong and his family. With its 1,000-watt power capacity, it accordingly reaches its broadcast to as far as portions of Davao City , Mati, Davao Oriental and Agusan del Sur.

Meanwhile, reports said that earlier before Coronica’s recorded lambasts Tabas had castigated for several times Mayor Humol, Coronica and other municipal personnel and officials in his own daily morning radio program “Katin-awan”.

Tabas is defended by lawyer Carlo Ancla.

Respondent Coronica would still have to execute his answer to the complaint before the office of the provincial prosecutor would weigh and rule whether Tabas libel complaint would to be dismissed or not. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

OPINION: Bal Sator reminisces (last of two parts)

Posted in baltazar sator, comval history, davao del norte history, propero amatong, rodolfo del rosario, roger sarmeinto, victorio suaybaguio with tags , , , , , , on February 8, 2009 by cha monforte

By Cha Monforte

Former Davao del Norte Congressman Baltazar “Bal” Sator was the paper pusher in Congress during the time when the breaking up of mother Davao del Norte was underway. In the brood of four lead gerrymanders of the erstwhile big Davao del Norte, quite visibly it was Sator, a lawyer, who buried his neck into the thick of legislative paperworks than his counterparts in the old Davnor’s districts. Close to the eventful year of 1998, he held the chairmanship of the committee on revision of laws in Congress. He had had on his lap the important issue on re-districting of legislative districts demanded by many legislator-gerrymanders in the country. The cries of cityhood and provincehood across the country would seem to have started in later 90s following the enactment of the New Local Government Code of 1991.
So influential Sator with that post that he said even Senator Nene Pimentel called him up to divide a district in Misamis Oriental. In his fine recollection, both the present Governor Rodolfo del Rosario, a last-termer congressman of the old District 3 at that time, and today’s Comval statesman-provincial elder Prospero Amatong, also a last termer-governor of the old Davnor, separately reminded Sator to ensure the breaking up the mother province as they were already running out of time and- term.

Sator’s other counterpart- former Cong. Roger M. Sarmiento (“RMS”) of the old District 1 of Davnor earlier re-filed his father’s bill on the 7-town Comval (the mainland valley towns of Mawab, Nabunturan, Montevista, Monkayo, Compostela and New Bataan plus the highland Maragusan). The late Don Enchong Sarmiento, erstwhile politico-economic patriarch in the big province similar in various pedigrees of influence of the Don Antonio Floirendo Sr. (who was politically represented by Del Rosario at that time) had first thought of that old Comval composition for a new province but his bill did not saw passage in Congress.

Shortly there was already a running feud between Sator and Amatong over territories. It was then that Sator and a number of Tagum politicians chief among whom was then Mayor Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio were much going after first and foremost Maco to become a part of the planned Tagum City, and by territorial proximity, the Mabini and Pantukan as part of the smaller Davao del Norte. But Amatong aside from the three coastal towns wanted even more the Laak and New Corella towns to become part of new Comval province since that a new smaller Davnor province could still be created even without the two. It could still comply with the requirements of land area, population and income and at the same time give more equity to the new Comval as Davnor has still the big IGACOS under it.

Sator recalled that his feud with Amatong over territories centered on the issue on whether the coastal towns would really have to be given to Comval. RMS subsequently joined, praying to Sator not to make the new Comval a landlocked province by giving it the towns with a sea. In a seeming compromise, Sator proposed for either to retain New Corella and Maco, or New Corella and Laak to Davnor. But the feud turned a controversy that already involved municipal mayors. Then a stalemate on the issue developed that Del Rosario mediated. The issue was inevitably thrown for a consensus with lesser gerrymanders- the mayors.

In the meeting with mayors called for the purpose, it was then that Sator knew to his dismay that only the New Corella mayor chose to be with Davnor. “I learned later that the rest of the involved mayors were each given earlier by Gov. Amatong a P1 million-worth of provincial government project,” he said.

The sub-plot of the story on gerrymandering was that the planned new Comval was first contemplated to have only one district but Amatong was persistent to Sator to break it into two districts. When the provincehood bill was heard by the Congress committee on local government chaired by Cong. Felix Alfelor, a one-district Comval was approved, moving Sator and his co-authors – prodded by Amatong- to seek for reconsideration before it was put in plenary. “The proposal to have the 2nd District in Comval was really first denied by Alfelor’s committee,” he reminisced.

The rest is history. Eleven years after we are remembering how the mother Davao del Norte was broken up by gerrymanders, and reliving the steps of the few who made a great impact to over a million populace who now live separately in two smaller provinces. This shows Sator as the thinktank-legworker-paper pusher combined, while Amatong was the leading moving spirit behind the division. Asked on whether the breaking up of mother province was such a gerrymandering act, the former congressman admitted in my interview without a second thought. Of course, the issue is moot and academic now. But history must be retold for history’s sake. Journalism, I should say, isn’t only “history in a hurry”, it is as much history coming out late. (For online edition, visit my blog at:, for comments and reactions, text 09069104553. Watch for my newscast in “Tagum Newsbreak” over WTV 11 channel in Skycable Tagum)

NEWS: 200 workers to lose jobs from Panabo City Hall

Posted in former panabo mayor rey gavina, nemesio rasgo, panabo abc president ferdinand gocon, panabo vice mayor james gamao, panbo city mayor jose silvosa sr. with tags , , , , on February 6, 2009 by cha monforte
By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News
Panabo new City Hall/photo by Rural Urban News

Panabo new City Hall/photo by Rural Urban News

Some 200 of the 700 workers in Panabo City Government will be losing their jobs due to the implementation of the ongoing reorganization scheme that already started February 1.

“For sure there will about 200 workers who could no longer return to work as we implement the ordinance on reorganization to make our government machinery work efficiently and effectively,” said city administrator Nemesio Rasgo.
City ordinance 43 enacted last year fixed only 400 posts to be filled up arising out from new organizational structure and classification of positions.
On last Monday convocation, the city administrator announced that contractual workers whose contracts ended last January 31 would have to stop working and wait for the end of the first quarter for possible re-hiring when the city government could generate additional income like the refund of the amount the city lost from Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) shared by the 16 cities that were classified back to their status as municipalities.
Those who would be displaced though are contractual workers who were employed on programs and need-basis, Rasgo said.
Last January 31 contracts of casual and contractual workers ended and the city placement committee headed by Rasgo is at press time renewing contracts of relevant positions.
He said that City Mayor Jose Silvosa Sr wanted to professionalize the city bureaucracy and “insulate personnel from politics”.
There is unwanted situation in local governments on workers being beholden to politicians in power and are therefore bound to work for the politics of the administration that they are in.
Rasgo said that permanent employees need not worry but he said there would be reassignments to fit personnel to work and eliminate the sight of city workers just sitting on their table without work.
“Way klaro ang mga tawo sa opisina (There’s unclear personeling in offices),” he said referring to the situation that the Silvosa administration inherited to the previous administration of former Mayor Rey Gavina.
“We want to have a lean and mean government structure that works,” he added.
On the other hand, in separate interview, Mayor Silvosa said that the reorganization was not his own making but by the legislative department of the previous administration.
He said that the present reorganization plan was started four years ago and the involved city councils including the present had thoroughly studied it based on civil service laws and and tapped various authorities as resource persons during its formulation.
“I am just here to implement the ordinance as a chief executive,” he said.
An undetermined number of casual employees, whose contracts are renewed every six months, especially those employed by the previous administration are reportedly expressing anxieties of losing their jobs.
City administrator Rasgo said that there are casual and contractual personnel in the city hall whose appointing authority is no longer in office, in obvious reference to Gavina, who had served as city mayor for three consecutive terms or nine years.
“Job order and even casual employees have not other recourse but work for the politics of the power holders so as continue working. It’s just okay for the permanent employees as they usually hide or go neutral during the campaign period,” a casual employee from the office of he city vice mayor said on the condition of anonimity.
Meanwhile, Councilor and ABC President Ferdinand Gocon said that the job order workers employed in legislative department are not included in the no-work order of the executive department.
He said that city councilors have usually five personnel staff, three of whom are co-terminus and two are contractual in employment status.
The city vice mayor’s office has reportedly bloated staff numbering over 20 personnel. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

OPINION: Bal Sator reminisces

Posted in 16504759, Atty. Romraflo Taojo, Bal Sator, congressman bal sator, congressman baltazar sator, Cris Maniwang, former Carmen Mayor Claudio, Jess Albacite, Jose Silvosa, Max Estela, RTC Judge Justino Aventurado with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2009 by cha monforte

By Cha Monforte

There’s new revelation and now we have oral testimonies taken in journalistic way to document the gerrymandering acts of leading politicians in the breaking up of mother Davao del Norte. Well, this might be an initial offer for history as Tuesday I got the chance to talk with the one of the founding fathers of the division of Davao del Norte into two provinces- the 8-town smaller Davao del Norte and the 11-town Compostela Valley, and of the conversion of Tagum and Igacos into cities. He’s former Cong. Baltazar “Bal” Sator.
Quite visibly he’s aged now- 71 but for that he’s younger than Gov. RDR, 76, former Gov. Yayong, 74 and former Gov/Cong. Pros Amatong, 77. After that energetic opposition image in the 80s when I was just out from the university and became watcher to a daring Atty. Bal Sator onstage during opposition rallies, along with his early colleagues in provincial opposition- Cris Maniwang, Jess Albacite, Max Estela, Jose Silvosa, former Carmen Mayor Claudio, Atty. Romraflo Taojo (a human rights lawyer who was killed in his own home in Tagum on April 2, 1985, after he had been allegedly warned by the military about the nature of the cases he was handling, as cited in Ilagan’s doctrine). The famed Rolly Marcial and BM Tony Lagunzad came later after Ninoy’s death as they jumped ship from Marcos KBL, while Pros Amatong was also making his own opposition voices in Nabunturan and others of the old Comval numenklatura (Rey Castillo and other Compostela fellows).
But despite his age now, he dared anyone of my age for a long walk, perhaps that fatigue-ending walkathon. As a private citizen, he’s in the thick of pro bono lawyering that even RTC Judge Justino Aventurado called him and referred poor litigants to go to the “PAO (Public Attorneys Office) nga private”. Sator said it just like he went into vacation from the court bista when he had his 11 years of serving as Davnor’s District 1 congressman (2 years during Cory’s revolutionary time plus the three straight terms) and came back only to know he could not say “no” to poor litigants for pro bono legal service, which his better-half keeps on protesting. At one time his wife called him when he would ever bring his lawyer’s office table at their home for final retirement days he should spend as they’re most contented now for having small fishpond, small corn and coco farm given by his clients, “pang bugas ug sud-an”, for the couple to subsist on til the lights go off. (To be continued. For online edition, visit my blog at:, for comments and reactions, text 09069104553. Watch my newscast over WTV 11 channel at Skycable Tagum.

NEWS: No Lakas decision yet on Ramil-Maricar toss up- Chiongkee

Posted in chiongkee uy, comval news, comval officials, maricar zamora-apsay, ramil gentugaya with tags , , , , on February 4, 2009 by cha monforte

The Lakas party in Compostela Valley has not yet made a decision on who to anoint between Vice Governor Ramil Gentugaya and Boardmember Maricar Zamora-Apsay for the District 1 congressional post for the 2010 polls, breaking the party leaders’ pledge late last year that they would announce the decision by January 2010 after a party caucus.

In a text message, Comval Lakas party provincial chairman Gov. Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy said that “it is still too early” in reference as to when the party decision would be handed down to resolve the Ramil-Maricar row over who between them becomes the Lakas standard-bearer.

Vice Gov. Gentugaya in separate text message confirmed on Monday that no party decision yet has been made on the issue.

In a news report November last year Uy was qouted as pledging that the Lakas party would convene a caucus to resolve the issue that has already become a major party headache while there has been no competition among partymates in the District 2 congressional post currently held by neophyte Cong. Rommel “Bobong” Amatong.

District 2 Cong. Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora, father of Maricar, is serving his last term at present.

Both Gentugaya and Apsay have still one more term for reeelection in their respective posts.

Gentugaya is a kin of Uy by Chinese blood while Cong. Zamora has been a political ally of Uy.

Sources said that the issue has already tried to rock the unified Lakas party about two weeks ago during a meeting of provincial party leaders for the Uswag Comval, a local political aggrupation being pushed by the governor.

Sources said that at one time during the affair when Cong. Zamora introduced his daughter as the incoming congresswoman to affix her signature to support Uswag Comval, former Cong. Prospero Amatong stood up and said it would be Ramil as the next congressman of District 1.

The elder Amatong is a voting member-emiritus of the Comval Lakas provincial directorate.

Earlier, Uy said that both “stand in equal footing if the choice is baeed on the Lakas party rules”. He did not not enumerate the rules.

He said it would be the Lakas provincial directorate which would decide the official bet for the post. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

OPINION: The dark horse and the populist

Posted in boardmember larry caminero, boardmember roger israel, councilor joey millan, plc president boardmember helario "larry" caminero, tagum councilor vicente "enting" eliot, vice governor baby suaybaguio with tags , , , , , on February 1, 2009 by cha monforte
By Cha Monforte

Boardmember Helario “Larry” Caminero has all the potential to be a congressman in the District 1 of Davao del Norte. At least that was one floated by others last week. But I say BM Caminero has first the qualifications- he came from the legitimate media, became a Kapalong administrator, councilor and now the PCL president in the province. He has also the winnability- only and only if all the municipal councilors will troop around him and dream they could produce a congressman of their own. Why not?
In the country’s elections, there are suprises and upsets. But it looks like these took place in different tempos. North Cotabato Greg Andolana, for one, had only little money from lawyering but he was carried by the waves of victorious opposition right after EDSA Uno uprising and had the backing of the Church people that made him a congressman. Andolana fought against an entrenched fortress of moneyed poliliticians in the late 80s and showed that with a galvanized people long revolted by the traditionalism and excesses of provincial power brokers one poor man could still win in a high public position. That was Andolana’s favorable epoch- similar to the springing up of Atty. Bal Sator as congressman then.

It was so long after EDSA Uno military-backed civilian uprising that Grace Padaca of Isabela in 2004 and Ed “Among” Panlilio of Pampanga in 2007 respectively captured the gubernatorial post against long-entrenched and moneyed political clans, no less than in the President’s home province in Among’s case. While they lacked a party and a well-oiled machinery to run a campaign, there was a groundswell of support from the people, who desperately sought a change in leadership. The good political fortunes of Cong. Way Kurat Zamora, former Gov. Joecab, and Cong Olano were etched in queer political milieu and tempo, but these need a another essay or two to bare.
But if a tempo that local legislators, the councilors who comprise 98 percent of incumbent elected officials could be made and they rally for their own congressman, BM Caminero has a chance to beat today’s current aspirants for the post- Vice Gov. Baby Suaybaguio and BM Roger “Dangpanan” Israel. This is the key in setting up BM Caminero as the dark horse for the congressional post in District 1.
But at the end of the day, it is still the people who should be awakened for ideals for them to rally for a good candidate who truly represents their plight and aspirations.
Then and now populism- seen in the common tao’s cry “gikan sa masa para sa masa”- has been a leveler factor for poor candidates against those coming from the rich and moneyed. Even if it’s made and spinned as battlecry, in the likes of the hit rapped up by Erap in his presidential run, the dominantly poor electorate are won over for the sight that they have one of their own running for a public office. Ours is representative democracy, and we need true representatives, not the representa-thieves.
Former Davao del Norte Governor Yayong Gementiza quipped in my recent interview that he had only the fermented tuba nga bahal when he was still a jambolero, a street-smart broker of agricultural products, to feast on with the masa when he defeated a young, popular UM Tagum professor Nick Suaybaguio Sr. for Tagum municipal mayorship in 1967. For being with the unwashed masa, Yayong’s political career keeps on flickering- even now, I suppose.
Last-termer City Councilor Vicente “Enting” Eliot, the one teased (condescendingly?) during sessions by lawyer Councilor Joey Millan, has been in a life of odors, dusts and gutters as a magbobote, but being “Mr. Botelya” is one sight the great unwashed masa in Tagum has been visibly proud of. No wonder they voted “Enting Magbobote” for a long-reigning barangay captain and a city councilor for three straight terms, besides the various presidencies of Church organizations he served from the mandate of pastoral and laymen’s flocks (Name it, he has it). For over thirty years now since the early 70s, Enting does buy and sell of bottles, bakal, plastics and other recyclable saleables for a living, from which his brood of six children have succesfully earned their respective professions.
No doubt, Enting’s livelihood on scrap through the decades allowed him to talk and immerse with the masa. That makes him different to Millan, who lawyers for the few landowners. Enting is not annoyed of the sweat and brawn of the laborers, who compose the backbone of Tagum’s economy. The populism that has long come to associate to Enting Eliot by his trade is his most competitive edge in politics. That did him already through the years as a populist politician.
That makes him also a sure replacement to one of the four vacant slots for boardmember in District 1 of Davao del Norte. Sources said that only BM Tony Lagunzad will be left for reelection as two BMs are going back for mayoral comeback, one is graduating and another is running for Congress. Now if there’s already that Great Tug-of-War in the SP, with the moves of former Cong. Tonyboy Floirendos (will this ever come), the more a populist Eliot is given vacant BM slots for a good filler.
BLOG & BUZZ: Welcome Police Supt. Giusseppe Geralde for the Tagum City PNP chief post. His first name, from Italian name, is just pronounced “Joseph” and his family name pronounced “Heralde”. Today he would be conferred the rank of police supt from police chief inspector. He’s a PNPA graduate Class ’98 and has gone serving as chief of police in Sulop, Magsaysay and Digos City in Davao del Sur before becoming the intel and operations provincial chief of Davao del Norte, his most recent prior his present assignment. The new COP is like Police Supt. Dario Gunabe- amiable, friendly to local reporters. COPs being civilian in character should know rudiments of community relations through the legitimate press….Who’s this rumored public officials (male and female) who went abroad to secretly meet there to rekindle past and present love affair? Just tsismis?
(For online edition, visit my site:, or email:, text 09069104553 for your reactions and commentaries. Watch my hourly “Tagum Newsbreak” over WTV 11 channel in Skycable Tagum)