The new puzzle


Sept. 16-22, 2010

Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario is candid enough to say that Boardmember Alan Dujali just “wanted to express his views” as to the running controversy on the alleged vote buying that occured in connection to the August 13 election of Philippine Councilors League provincial officers. “Dapat hindi na politikahin ang selection of councilors,” the governor said. He thought that the PCL is just like a fellowship club of the councilors and for this, it would have been better if the councilors had been left to decide on their own.

To us, the governor’s words are more fit to be addressed to District 2 Congressman Anton Lagdameo, who since he stayed put in his seat until during the actual voting and until the PCL election results were known, had ostensibly made an undue display of physical influence to the voting councilors. In media interview right after the PCL election results were known, Cong. Lagdameo openly admitted that he stayed there “to show his support to Biboy (Gavina)” and wished “sana walang problema dyan” as he congratuled the new PCL president Janrey Gavina and the rest of his provincial officers.

But then, since the governor was already hurrying to catch his scheduled flight to Manila in the afternoon of that date, we didn’t see him staying put, but the last we can see the governor going irreverent or going unstatateman is when he would insist displaying his physical presence in  an activity that was solely for the councilors to decide. Was Lagdameo’s presence a stark reminder that he was just there while the councilors were voting in secret balloting? Or with these, this scene comes asking for everyone’s interpretation: Lakas councilors and those  “Room 17 councilors” would have to bear for the presence of their Lakas provincial boss Cong. Lagdameo or they must have known that the congressman was still so much around the venue while they were on the process of voting or were about to vote. Otherwise, contemplate this other scene: the LP councilors first rooting for or supporting defeated reelectionist PCL president Larry Caminero had already not seen their LP provincial boss Gov. Del Rosario as he left Lakan Place’s Hotel earlier before the casting of votes, even while they were seeing the other provincial Lakas boss Lagdameo and maybe felt his overbearing presence in the venue while they were on the process of voting or were about to vote.

The old sketchy report that in the past PCL election there was also that alleged vote-buying that occured but the P5,000 money given was just not enough to the bribetaker councilors to change their mind even while they received already the money to vote otherwise is  also disturbing. But that was already an old story long heard enough in the rounds.

Comes now the recent PCL election hovering over the vote-buying allegation while Cong. Lagdameo threw his presence around the venue. Did his presence before and during the casting of votes constitute undue influence or did the non-presence of the governor at that time constitute statemanship on his part?  It seems that the answer of each councilor to this new puzzle that competes with the Room 17 puzzle would depend on where he was actually or secretly in the political fence at that time that he was voting or about to vote.

It seems now that the ending of this controversy would depend on the PCL-Davao del Norte Chapter  itself while the public meets a deafening silence of the organization of councilors over the allegation. Needless to say, and at the risk of becoming repetitious, the PCL under the leadership of Gavina would have to address the allegation squarely if it wants to protect the councilors’ integrity from being indefinitely sapped by besmirching words out  of an unaddressed allegation. Otherwise, if this is reverent option and not puzzling enough, now Boardmember Janrey Gavina, out of delicadeza while he chooses silence by his continued sitting in the august legislative hall of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, would be much better is at the very least he would call a special PCL assembly and there and then, to show his ascendancy and finally disprove, call for a viva voce voting, in asking for a deafening ayes than drowned nayes from the councilors in congress for a vote of continuing confidence to his leadership.- Cha Monforte


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