Edwin and Noel-A A +A
Friday, October 26, 2012
EDWIN JAGMOC was a newly minted councilor when our paths crossed one night in one of the city’s sidewalks. Like old acquaintances do, we exchanged pleasantries then ended up talking about serious matters of governance oblivious of the minutes ticking and of people passing by. I had hoped he could make a difference in a moribund legislative body.
Edwin belongs to a family involved in the struggle to advance the cause of informal settlers. His parents were active in the militant group Panaghugpong sa mga Kabus nga Taga-Dakbayan or simply Panaghugpong. I take it that this was one of the reasons then mayor and Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) chief Tomas Osmeña recruited him to his party. The former mayor wanted to get the votes of the city’s informal settlers.
Years after our conversation, Edwin would have a falling out with Osmeña and would be involved in a controversy that began with rumors about his supposed affair with a woman other than his wife, something that he denied. He was eased out of the BOPK slate in 2010 and drifted to the camp of Mayor Michael Rama, who hired him consultant for the Department of Public Services.
Edwin’s run in the city’s politics can be considered surprising, unlike that of our other ka-barangay, Noel Wenceslao. While Edwin was a neophyte politician when he became city councilor, Noel had several years of serving as Sambag 2 barangay captain under his belt when Osmeña included him in his slate for councilor.
I don’t know the current political dynamics in our barangay, thus I was surprised by the report that the BOPK-dominated city council voted not to renew Jagmoc’s consultancy, with Wenceslao casting his vote with the majority. Edwin also said that he submitted his consultancy contract to Noel in August but the latter did not act on it, prompting him to ask Councilor Edgardo Labella to sponsor a resolution for him instead. Noel is with the BOPK while Labella is with Team Rama.
In politics, they say, there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests. That could be true in the relationship between Jagmoc and Wenceslao. But I would have preferred that Noel abstained from the voting, but that he did vote against the extension of Edwin’s city hall consultancy only means that he was sending a message of sorts.
I won’t blame Noel for what he did because he is a loyal supporter of the former mayor. It was the same loyalty that also led him to tangle in a barangay election with former city councilor Jessie Aznar when the latter attempted to return to his old post as barangay chief. Aznar had at that time drifted to the camp of former mayor Alvin Garcia who, like Rama, also had a falling out with Osmeña.
One interesting twist in the city council’s discussion of Jagmoc’s consultancy is that Labella and Councilor Ronald Cuenco were the ones who defended him instead of Noel. That’s how partisan the situation in the city council has become. The polarization has gotten too obvious.
Noel is running for reelection still under the BOPK. Edwin is also running for councilor, this time with Team Rama. I just hope voters in Barangay Sambag 2 won’t make any distinction and vote for both of them. The more important thing is to have two ka-barangays in the city council.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 26, 2012.