14 April 2007

'Somos' comes back to Naga

YESTERDAY, as I was about to leave the office, I got a text from Bobby Ursua, our School Board pointman: "Gud pm. Iriga na ako." It was a short message from Ruby Abundabar, former officer-in-charge of the Naga Division of City Schools, confirming she had just been transferred to nearby Iriga City.

This is what Winnie Monsod wrote about towards the end of her Inquirer column this morning. Which Mayor Robredo complained about in this letter to Civil Service chair Karina Constantino-David. Apparently to no avail now, as Education Secretary Jesli Lapus was reported to have washed his hands on the matter, as he did in the aborted Bicol multimedia computer purchase.

What worries me is the scenario painted by Vice Mayor Gabby Bordado, who went on air yesterday morning to denounce what he believes as a brewing attempt by the camp of Rep. Luis R. Villafuerte to manipulate results of the upcoming local elections in Naga. Abundabar's transfer, according to Bordado, is confirmation that a 'grand design' is coming to fruition.

This portion of Monsod's column is central to the effort: "The division superintendent is, by the way, a member of the board of canvassers, where wholesale cheating can take place."

At the city level, the board of canvassers is defined under Section 221(b) of the Omnibus Election Code:

City board of canvassers - the city board of canvassers shall be composed of the city election registrar or a lawyer of the Commission, as chairman, the city fiscal and the city superintendent of schools, and one representative from each of the ruling party and the dominant opposition political party entitled to be represented, as members.
Ordinarily, presumption of regularity can be accorded to public officials as representatives of their own institutions. But it is difficult to do so these days, with this newest political machination and a city fiscal who was a Villafuerte partisan before his appointment to the DOJ, both taking place under a regime that has "plumbed the depths of cynicism," as John Nery calls it. With a distrusted Comelec yet to settle the issue of the dominant opposition party, it is even probable that the Robredo administration (allied with the Liberal Party-Drilon wing) might end up unrepresented at all in the board of canvassers.

These give credence to the so-called reprise of the 1980 election results for the Naga mayoralty, which is being whispered hereabouts. In that election, former congressman and Naga city mayor Ramon Felipe, Jr. (already a well-known national figure who would later chair the first Comelec after EDSA 1986) shockingly lost to then Vice Mayor Carlos del Castillo. That infamous incident happened at the height of Martial Law, when LRV was Marcos's trade and industry minister.

His current position as Kampi kingpin and putative House Speaker of the next congress approximates that zenith of Villafuerte's continuing political influence, his looming large in Camarines Sur politics. It appears "somos," as Inquirer columnist Manolo Quezon III calls the new golden rule -- he who has the gold makes the rules -- is back in Naga with a bang.


Maryanne Moll said...

Conspiracy theories ate fun, aren't they? :D

Maryanne Moll said...

(Sorry. Pressed the "Publish" button accidentally.)

Conspiracy theories are fun, aren't they? :D Number one, we will never really know. Number two, these theories have been around for ages and no one has really gotten to the bottom of the entire deal.

Revamps always happen when elections are nearing, and no local government is exempt. That's just how things are. It's not exactly proof that a Grand Design is being put in place.

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Hi Maryanne: Who was it who said that just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me?:)

Maryanne Moll said...

Everybody says that these days. :)

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Hi Maryanne: Who wouldn't be paranoid, especially if the DepEd regional director, Celedonio Layon, himself says, as he is saying now in a live interview over RMN-DWNX, that the transfer order came from Secretary Lapus himself.

When pressed for the reason behind, Lapus said it has something to do with "you know, what what is going on."

Director Layon also said the move did not emanate from the ground, but clearly from the top. Also, he does see any compelling reason for the post swap between Ms. Abundabar and her replacement because both are doing well.

Maryanne Moll said...

Well, you know what writers say: Truth is stranger than fiction. I say real life is just crazy that way. :)