15 May 2007

Updates from the 1st District

THIS Inquirer story, I think, called it right: Dato Arroyo's bid for the first congressional district of Camarines Sur will not be a walk in the park. With 43% of the votes in, Sabas 'Abang' Mabulo is putting up one hell of a fight, armed with nothing but the so-called "Bicol pride."

Arrayed against Malacañang's unlimited largesse, a military biased towards the presidential son, an adverse local political establishment, and a waffling Church leadership that indirectly sided with Dato, Mabulo still managed to garner 23,599 against Arroyo's 29,378 -- a 45% to 55% ratio -- according to the Namfrel quick count aired by radio station DWNX at around noontime today.

Arroyo won in all but two -- San Fernando, Mabulo's hometown, and Pasacao -- of the 10 towns comprising the district. Click on the image above for a better view of the breakdown by town, which I jotted down and plugged in an Excel spreadsheet.

For one, it shows that "Bicol pride" is very much alive and well; unfortunately, under the current circumstance, it appears insufficient in surmounting the odds clearly stacked in Arroyo's favor.

The backbreaking straw

The proverbial straw that, I think, broke the camel's back came by way of a Vox Bikol banner story that came out last week, days before the election. The headline says it all: "Dato's not being a Bikolano is a non-issue -- Libmanan bishop."

That bishop is Most Rev. Prospero Arellano, D.D., spiritual leader of the Prelature of Libmanan, who offered Caceres Archbishop, Msgr. Leonardo Legaspi who hails from Bulacan but has done do much for Bikol, as proof of his contention.

The same news story quoted Arellano as saying
I am happy that Dato decided to run in the first district. He came to my office and told me about his plans. If someone runs for office, it means he wants to serve the people. That's why for me, the more, the merrier. But the people should choose the one who could really help the first district.
Interestingly, Bicol Mail carried this story entitled "GMA’s staff visits Dato’s parish for project list." It is about a team of Malacañang undersecretaries and from the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) who visited the prelature three weeks ago, conferred with the parish priest of St. James Church in Libmanan town, and asked him what the palace can do to help.

The visit's outcome?
The monsignor said that he had asked one of the priests of the Prelature of Libmanan to package into a proposal the needs of the town that they had already submitted to the Palace staff.
Connect the dots, and you will get the drift.