“Envelopmental politics” raised on PCL elections, P15T, P20T given to “80 councilors” to vote for Gavina?

Aug 19-25, 2010

Who owns the three P1,000 bundle wrappers left at Room 17 of Lakan’s Hotel?

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

Imprints were left, regrets were raised and words on alleged vote-buying spread across and up to the Capitol a few days after the holding of the Philippine Councilors League in Davao del Norte last August 13 at the posh Lakan’s Hotel and Inland Resort in Tagum City.

Boardmember Atty. Raymond Joey Millan, in casual talk with Boardmember Hernani Duco and some local mediamen, said that he heard that there were “40 councilors” who received vote-buying money before the election and not “48 councilors” as told by a broadcaster from Panabo City.

A broadcaster, Bogart Saliot said that he had earlier talked with a Panabo City councilor who showed him a text message that they had allegedly given money to “48 councilors” to ensure the victory of now PCL president and Panabo City Councilor Janrey Gavina.

Millan also said that he also heard that three wrapper bundle papers for P1,000 bills were also swept from “Room 17” of Lakan’s Hotel.

He added that he learned that a day before the election the money for the councilors “was already P13,500”.

But there was also a sketchy report about a white pickup vehicle parked in the hotel parking area that was approached by several councilors, one by one, and each was smiling or in visibly happy facial mood each time a councilor went out from the vehicle.

But a separate sketchy reports said that vote-buying money ranged to P15,000 to P20,000 for each targeted councilors, and that there were “many bagmen” operating in days close before the PCL election.

Another sketchy report though said that the money given was only P5,000.

The province has a total of 116 city and municipal councilors.

The City & Valley Chronicle tried to contact Gavina in his office at Panabo City Hall for comments but he was out. His female staffer named Bel gave instead her own cellphone number saying that she should first be sent with text message before to Gavina. Until press time, Bel has not yet replied to this paper’s request for Gavina’s comments.

During the PCL affair but before the election of officers, Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario and District 2 Congressman Anton Lagdameo arrived and respectively spoke before the assembly of councilors.

The governor left before the casting of votes, but Cong. Lagdameo remained in the venue past the lunch and until the results of the election were known.

Reelectionist PCL president Helario “Larry” Caminero of Kapalong lost only by two votes to Gavina, in 55 to 57 votes in favor to the latter.

Caminero, being a Liberal Party member, was the governor’s bet, while Gavina of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD was Lagdameo’s bet.

The PCL presidency race was equated to be a contest between two competing political parties in the province, with the governor and Lagdameo being the provincial chairmen of the LP and Lakas-Kampi-CMD, respectively.

Observers have now deemed that with Janrey’s entry, the Lakas-Kampi-CMD has now “six votes” in the SP associated with the Floirendos and Lagdameo as represented by the two Gavinas, Boardmembers Duco, Dr. Daniel Lu, Ely Dacalus, and Dr. Fred De Vera, as compared to the LP and LP-allied “seven votes” associated with Gov. RDR as represented by Boardmembers Millan, Dujali, Antonio Lagunzad, Vicente “Enting” Eliot, Shirley Belen Aala, FABC president Demetrio Maligro, and SK federation president Dennis Cafe.

Dr. De Veyra though was merely “perceived to be Lakas”, while Aala is known to be close to former Congressman Tonyboy Floirendo Jr.

Millan and Eliot, on the other hand, are perceived to be loyal political soldiers of influential last-termer Tagum City Mayor Rey Uy, who is also known to be a close friend of Tonyboy Floirendo.

Interviewed right after the PCL winners were sworn in, Cong. Lagdameo said that he stayed put in the venue until the results were known “to show my full support to Biboy Gavina.”

“Sana walang problema yan,” he added while expressing hope for the continued unity in the PCL. He also congratuled Gavina and the rest of new PCL officers.

But Dept. of Interior provincial director Gregorio Versoza, in a separate interview, dismissed allegations of rigged PCL election saying that “everybody was given a chance to witness the election that was held in the open.”

He said that there was no undue inteference on the part of the governor and Congressman Lagdameo whom he said “just observed the proceedings”.

It was Versoza who administered the oathtaking of the new PCL officers right after he declared Gavina and the rest as winners of the election.

During the privilege hour of last Monday’s session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Boardmember Alan Dujali (Panabo), while graciously accepting defeat of the LP in the PCL polls, expressed woe and regret over the reign of “envelopmental politics” that came to associate with the election of the councilors in the province.

In what appeared as a satirical speech, Dujali congratulated first and gave a salute to the campaign managers and operators who gave victory to Lakas and obviously reminded fellow LP councilors that the governor “personally campaigned” for Caminero for “party interest above anything else.”

“He campaigned to hold the line.. even saying wala tayong pera,” he added, and to just bring the good party principles of integrity without bribery and intimidation during the PCL polls.

Dujali said that they in the District 2 delivered though “defeated but not outfought” but he added that it was sad to say that some party members in the District 1 ostensibly in Tagum City failed to support Caminero even as he reminded them that the governor had been with them during those “trying moments” in the last May polls.

He added that despite the majority of the LP number among the councilors, Caminero lost “because he was betrayed by some fellow partymates.”

With this “serving as a lesson”, Boardmember Dujali then dared betraying LP partymates to “show us your true colors- either you are with us or you are against us”.

In the last part of his speech, he though welcomed Gavina saying, “welcome aboard”.

Dujali, an independent candidate in the last polls, was the only survivor in Lakas onslaughts in District 2 in the race for boardmember. He was though adopted by the LP as guest candidate.

Gavina was a no-show during his supposed first session last Monday. It was presided by Senior Boardmember Shirley Belen Aala, the acting vice governor with the current travel of Gov. Del Rosario in California to visit his ailing son Cong. Anthony Rafael del Rosario (District 1).

But acting Governor Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio Jr told  this paper last Monday he would have to administer an oath first to Gavina to be a new ex-officio member of the provincial board representing PCL on Monday.

Gavina was reportedly on the wake for the death of his grandmother Liwayway Gamao, mother of Boardmember Janet Gavina. The latter is Janrey’s mother.

Other PCL provincial top winners were Tagum City councilor Mylene Baura, secretary general, who was unopposed, Gabriel Eric Estela, treasurer, Nieljun Esdrelon, auditor, Donna Mae Baldonado, business manager, and Julie Montequilla, public relations officer. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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