Bohol mayor unfairly treated-A A +A
The Living Spirit
Thursday, October 31, 2013
MEDIA can make unfair statements regarding certain politicians if they fail to do a background check on them. That is irresponsible reporting and should not happen. But that is what happened to the Mayor of Maribojoc, Leoncio Evasco Jr.
The mayor was in the news for stopping the Red Cross from distributing relief goods in his earthquake-ravaged town. Evasco is best remembered as June Evasco, the ex-rebel priest who became one of the most trusted strategists of tough-talking mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Evasco was instantly vilified on news and social media. Actually Evasco is a rare breed of politician: he is a politician of both conviction and competence.
I happen to know June Evasco personally and he was one of my best friends during the martial law years. Like myself, Evasco is an ex-priest who joined the underground movement against the Marcos dictatorship. He sympathized also with the National Democratic Front of the NPA and its armed struggle to get rid of the dictator Marcos. For that reason he was arrested by the military and detained for several years, until after the ouster of Marcos he was freed from prison by the new President Cory Aquino. By that time I had already lost touch with June because I was assigned in the parish of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur.
Evasco who is a Boholano was elected mayor of Maribojoc. When the Red Cross team came to his town to distribute relief goods, he advised the team to coordinate with the City Hall personnel for a systematic and well-organized distribution in order to reach everyone in need and avoid replication. For this, he was criticized by former Senator Dick Gordon, the long-term chair of the Red Cross in the Philippines.
So here are two different kinds of politicians facing each other. One is clearly a traditional politician, former Senator Richard Gordon. He showed up in Maribojoc and tried to intervene. He enjoyed all the photo ops, according to one reporter. The other one is June Evasco, an honest and sincere political leader. As mayor of Maribojoc he has the right and obligation to oversee and coordinate the distribution of relief goods, so that it would reach the most needed victims of the earthquake. What is wrong with that? Isn’t that the correct thing for him to do?
Unfortunate words were said, according to the news report. Evasco said he was affronted by the ‘arrogance’ of the Red Cross staff. ‘If they want to help, then give. Don’t give any conditions.’ Clearly he took aim here at Dick Gordon when he said: ‘I am not the one who is wrong: an organization to promote his own political agenda.’ In short, Evasco was not a credit-grabbing dilettante who didn’t know what to do.
While I am writing this column it is elections day. The candidates for the barangay council are all over the place shaking hands with the people who have to vote for them. I myself cannot vote, I am only a Filipino by heart. But if I could vote I would certainly pick out those candidates whom I am sure I can trust and who are honest and sincere. There are not that many of them.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 31, 2013.