Mike’s ex-aide to join council

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

FROM a councilor’s executive assistant, Philip Zafra became the mayor’s chief of staff then barangay captain of Tisa, Cebu City. He won yesterday the presidency of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) Cebu City Federation, which earns him a seat in the City Council.

In Cebu Province, outgoing ABC Provincial Federation president Jose Ribomapil Holganza Jr. gave way to Barangay Captain Celestino “Tining” Martinez III, who will sit as the new ex-officio member of the Provincial Board (PB).

“I made a choice that I’d rather step down and put some closure to the old divisions...I have to admit that the sitting governor has a lot of influence over the selection…of officers in all the leagues in the province,” Holganza said in an interview.

In Cebu City, at least 12 policemen were fielded to the Sarrosa International Hotel on F. Cabahug St. because the election was expected to be a hotly contested one, with the rivalry between Mayor Michael Rama and former congressman and mayor Tomas Osmeña still in play.

Zafra won with 53 votes against Capitol Site Barangay Captain Manuel Guanzon, who garnered 22 votes. The city has 80 barangays.

Zafra served as Rama’s chief of staff before he won as Tisa barangay captain last Oct. 28. Years ago, he was an executive assistant to then city councilor Procopio Fernandez.

Basak San Nicolas Barangay Captain George Rama believes Zafra’s stint as chief of staff endeared him to the other barangay captains because there was no taint of political color in his job.


“Whether you supported me or not, my goal is unity,” Zafra said immediately after his proclamation.

His entire slate won by a landslide.

Outgoing ABC president Michael Ralota (now T. Padilla councilman) was not there to turn over the reins.

Ralota’s sudden disappearance prompted the Board of Election Supervisors (BES) to take over the ABC elections, with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Cebu City Director Danilo Almendras getting mad at the delay.

The BES was composed of Almendras, Commission on Elections North District Election Officer Marchel Sarno and Department of Education (DepEd) Cebu City representative Cipriano Balili.

The election was supposed to start at 9 a.m. but by 10:30, Zafra’s lineup was getting antsy with the delay.

What caused the delay? There were about 11 candidates who had not completed the requirements, announced Lorega Barangay Captain Fritz Herrera, chairperson of the nomination committee.

Some candidates did not have the certificate of credentials to be issued by the credentials committee, chaired by Ralota.

Almendras called for a suspension of the proceedings past noon, giving Ralota time to come back at 1:30 p.m. to resume the proceedings.

Stayed away

He did not come back by then, and questions on the requirements lingered.

“Don’t try me. Apilon ko ninyo sa inyong binoang mag-away gyud ta (If you try to include me in your shenanigans, we will have a problem),” fumed Almendras to no one in particular.

Guanzon said he was open to forgoing the requirements and for the elections to go on, but Almendras told him that the election was already under the jurisdiction of the BES.

Voting finally started around 2 p.m. and ended over an hour later.

It was clear from the start that Zafra and his entire slate led the results. Guanzon and most of his slate did not finish the counting anymore.

Tinago Barangay Captain Joel Garganera is the new vice president, garnering 49 votes, compared to Pahina San Nicolas’ Antonio Caruzca with 27 votes.

Former ABC president and Punta Princesa Barangay Captain Jose Navarro gathered 51 votes over Cogon Ramos Barangay Captain Omar Durano, with 21 votes.


Elected as board members were Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman, who garnered the most votes among all the candidates with 54; Adlaon Barangay Captain Elvis Narra, Binaliw Barangay Captain Wilson Bacor, Poblacion Pardo Barangay Captain Althea Lim and Inayawan Barangay Captain Lotlot Ignacio.

Completing the list are San Roque Barangay Captain Lidiore “Boy” Miranda, Agsungot Barangay Captain Anne Alcover, Sudlon I Barangay Captain Dante Tabucal, Basak Pardo Barangay Captain Yolandito Cagang and Quiot Barangay Captain Francis Espares.

Most of Zafra’s programs are in support of those of Rama’s.

For one, he wants to strengthen barangay health centers since the City has abandoned the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) building following the Oct. 15 M7.2 earthquake that damaged the hospital.

He also has this idea of clustering garbage collection among barangays so that more garbage trucks will be used on certain days, allowing a wider coverage in collecting garbage.

In the province, Martinez and the rest of his slate ran unopposed during the ABC provincial election at the Capitol Social Hall.

Martinez is a former Bogo City mayor and now barangay captain of Cayang, Bogo City.

There were 47 out of the 50 ABC municipal leaders in the Province who voted.


Votes were then counted and the winners, proclaimed.

The event took place in the presence of the board of election supervisors including Department on Interior and Local Government (DILG) Provincial Director Jerome Gonzales, Provincial Election Officer Ferdinand Gujilde, Capitol’s Gender and Development Consultant Heddah Largo, Cebu Provincial Schools Division Superintendent Arden Monisit and Fr. Joseph Anore.

Martinez was elected the new ABC president with 47 votes.

Emerito Calderon of Samboan was elected vice president (45 votes), while Mercidita Apura (45 votes) of Carcar City won as auditor.

For the board of directors, Holganza, barangay captain of Baod, Bantayan got the votes of all the ABC municipal presidents who attended.

The other board of directors proclaimed were Nerissa Arquillano (San Francisco), Wilfredo Diamante (Tuburan), Bernabe Gonzales (Balamban), Joseph Redulla (Alegria), Arnelito Rubin (Argao). Celodonio Sitoy (Cordova) and Thomas Mark Durano (Danao City).

In an interview, Martinez expressed his willingness to support the programs of the governor, especially for the rehabilitation efforts for typhoon Yolanda survivors.

“I hope I can live up to the expectation of everyone and most especially I hope and look forward to a very fruitful (leadership) that we may have a successful league sa umaabot nga mga tuig (in the coming years),” Martinez said.


Meanwhile, in Lapu-Lapu City, Gun-ob Barangay Captain Jose Dungog won unopposed in the election for president of the ABC.

It was a reelection for the third-termer barangay captain, who replaced former Pajo barangay captain Leo Mercado as ABC president when the latter was elected city councilor last May.

As ABC president, Dungog, an ally of Mayor Paz Radaza, will sit as an ex-officio member of the City Council.

In a text message to Sun.Star Cebu, Dungog said he will enforce city ordinances and implement the directives of Mayor Radaza and Lapu-Lapu City Rep. Aileen Radaza. He said he will also work to preserve the harmony among barangay captains.

Maribago Barangay Captain Joseph Pangatungan was elected ABC vice president while Bankal Barangay Captain Mario Inot was elected auditor.

Elected as board of directors were: Johnita Amorin (Tingo), Lourdes Ibag (Punta Engaño), Mateo Dungog (Looc), Lauro Soroño (Buaya), Jimmy Ybañez (Pajac), Evaristo Dihayco Jr. (Mactan), Isabelito Darnayla (Basak) and Caridad Dawat (Pusok).

Pajo Barangay Captain Junard “Ahong” Chan, who defeated an ally of Mayor Radaza in the October barangay elections, served as chairperson of the committee on nominations.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 19, 2013.

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