OPINION: The dark horse and the populist

BLOGISTA
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: https://cha4t.wordpress.com, or email: chamonforte@yahoo.com, text 09069104553 for your reactions and commentaries. Watch my hourly “Tagum Newsbreak” over WTV 11 channel in Skycable Tagum)
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