Fifty-nine of the sixty-three Bulan Punong Barangays pledge support for Mayor De Castro’s re-election bid

Bulan, Sorsogon, December 7, 2009: It appears to be a repeat of the 2007 election contest as Mayor Helen C. De Castro once more as 59 of the 63 Punong Barangays of Bulan pledged their support for Mayor De Castro and her party candidates in the coming May 2010 automated election. This was confirmed by the barangay officials themselves during one of their Liga ng mga Barangay meetings. They have also come up with a manifesto objecting to the dirty political tactic of one political opposition candidate vying for the mayoralty in next year’s contest. (This Manifesto is due for release to the media)

Of the sixty-three Barangay Chairmen, only four are left for the two other political groups in Bulan. Barangay Chairman Antonio Boncan of Gate who is now running for a council seat, together with the Barangay Chairmen of  M. Roxas and San Francisco, support Kampi Party standard-bearer Atty. Redentor Guyala, while San Isidro Barangay Chairman Permo Evasco is also a candidate for councilor under the Aksyon Demokratiko/ Liberal Party of Cesar “Boy” Gogola. The Barangay Chairman of  Cadandanan, Rommel Gutay, previously known to support Guyala has now shifted allegiance to Mayor Helen De Castro and her group.

Ask why they have continuously supported the De Castros, Danao Chairman Manuel Panelo declared that the incumbent administration has performed very satisfactorily in running the affairs of the local government from 1995 up to the present time, so there is no need to change the present leaders. As to the De Castros having stayed already this long in office, Marinab Chairman Randolph Morata said that it is not a question of how long a particular official has stayed in office but the quality of his or her performance that is to be considered. On the issue of  a political dynasty in the local level, Liga Vice-President Excel Zuniga said that the people of Bulan is responsible for electing their officials to office, and that the democratic electoral process should be respected and that this question should be thrown back to the local opposition who have also fielded a number of their family members in the forthcoming elections. One Chairman who requested anonymity remarked that, “ Sa kaawat-awati na san panahon, harayuon an iba na lider-politika sa pakiupod san mga De Castro. An mayad na ugali an wara ini na mga kandidato sa loyo. Puwera pa suon, may pormalidad nan katultulan  pag-abot sa politika an mga De Castro. Samantalang an mga nasa loyo na partido, puro lang pagpakaraot nan paglibak. Dapat  bag-uhon nira ini na ugali nira. Tapos sige nira an siyak sin pagbabag-o pero an mga ugali nira sa politika dire man nagbabag-o.”

The Barangay Chairmen also emphasized that they are going to do everything they can to convince other barangay officials in their jurisdiction to join them in their support for the De Castro re-election.

Candidates court  barangay chairmen because they play  very vital leadership roles and influence during election time and their support are very crucial to every candidate seeking local office.


1 Comment

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One response to “Fifty-nine of the sixty-three Bulan Punong Barangays pledge support for Mayor De Castro’s re-election bid

  1. It’s interesting to know the Barangay officials’ perception of Bulan political leadership. Since they are the grassroots, the very basis of democracy, their arguments of why they support or not a particular party is very substantial and decisive.

    In my view (just recently), the hot debated issue of Political Dynasty as expressly prohibited in Art. II, Sec. 26, (that “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”) is not only ambiguous but an anchronism, and that this should rather be amended to suit to the realities of Philippine society and better serve the needs of the people.

    Though formulated clear and simple, this article doesn’t mean that this prohibition works in today’s Philippine reality.

    The Philippines has always been ruled by clans since the beginning of recorded political history, powerful families who simply took over the leadership of their small communities, with sons succeeding their ageing fathers to continue the leadership. If there were change at all in leadership, then it was through violent means (or any other of those causes that lead to the death of a political dynasty) as any rival dominant family assumes the leadership- . This was in a way a “natural” mechanism of social change prior to the modern concept and practice of democracy.

    This direct take-over of political power from relatives without consulting the “vox populi” was common at that time- as well as this violent termination of political leadership by a rival family. It is within this historical context and the practice of direct take-over of leadership should this term Political Dynasty be understood.

    Now, with the introduction of democracy in our country and the instrument of election and the right of suffrage, I’ve noted that this term doesn’t apply anymore no matter how the intellectuals of our country would want it as such to be understood by the masses and be prohibited. There will always be a conflict in trying to understand this concept and an impossibility or naivity to try to put it into practice (as it collides with other democratic rights) within the Philippine setting.

    For things and circumstances had changed already.
    Now, for instance, there is no legal argument either to prohibit an able member of this political clan who wants to serve the people by running for elective post or to stop the people from electing such a candidate.

    This is where we should ground the arguments of our Barangay officials that it’s the people who elect their town leadership and if they will be willing to elect always the same political family, then that is a democratic choice, it’s not a willful succession of power but an expression of the “vox populi”, the voice or votes of the Barangay officials and the people of Bulan.

    So, there is nothing wrong when one family rules for a long time for the people want it that way, and there is nothing wrong when the majority of the people of Bulan do not vote for the political rival of this family. It’s the mandate of the people that should be respected.

    One indication that democracy – no matter how bad is our experience of it- is not totally absent is the case of that powerful Ampatuan family in Maguindanao that just resorted to the old primitive dynastic practice I just mentioned here by savagely eliminating the rival family. This was a classic example of use of power and this would have functioned perfectly if this had happened centuries back. Now on the contrary, this has led to their downfall, they are behind bars now, and I don’t think the Maguindanao people would re-elect them next year. The message is: To maintain the political power, violence is an outdated modus operandi and a political clan risks losing it should it emulate the Ampatuan.

    In previous Bulan local elections, I haven’t heard yet of any killing or attempt to kill any of Bulan political figure. There were rumors that other sort of subtle violence (threats) were being employed in Bulan, that Bulan is not very different from Ampatuan only that massacre of that scale hasn’t occured yet in Bulan.

    A massacre in Bulan? I’ve been living far away from Bulan, but as a Bulaneño, I don’t feel that Bulaneños would be that degenerate as to be able to even think in this direction.

    In any case, let our Barangay leaders and the people of Bulan confirm to us the validity of these rumors as they cast their votes by next year’s election.

    jun asuncion
    Bulan Observer

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