Wakee and Annabelle-A A +A
Friday, November 2, 2012
MY WIFE and I used to hear masses at the Basilica del Sto. Niño. That was years ago when our residence was still in Cebu City. Our favorite part was the right wing of the old church. It has grills that allow fresh air to flow inside, although the sight of people exiting to the D. Jakosalem St. gate is disturbing at times.
One time, I espied a man walking briskly on the cemented footpath towards the D. Jakosalem gate. He was chubby, round faced, with bristles for hair. He would look behind him from time to time.
Seconds after the man exited, a group of candle vendors came into view. They were noisy and appeared like they were looking for somebody. I later found out that they had seen businessman and boxing promoter Rex “Wakee” Salud and was looking him. I had the impression the man had the habit of handing out something to the vendors when he went to church.
That “something,” I thought then, was money. But with recent rumors about his being linked to the illegal numbers game “masiao,” that “something” that the candle vendors could have been after was “tip,” which in masiao gamblers’ parlance is advance information on the winning numbers combination for the next day’s draw.
Boxer Manny Pacquiao wasn’t a boxing icon yet then and Salud wasn’t known as the Pambansang Kamao’s close confidante. Pacquiao is now a congressman, too, a development that probably influenced Salud’s decision to go into politics. But his plan to run for mayor of Cordova against lawyer Adelino Sitoy turned controversial because of residency issues.
There’s reason for Sitoy to vehemently oppose Salud’s move. One, Salud is not a native of the town. Second, he might win, considering his status. He has resources that, considering the small size of Cordova’s voting population, are endless. And if rumors about his being involved in masiao are true, even the giving of “tips” is an advantage.
“Nagsugod na,” somebody supposedly quipped when talent manager Annabelle Rama lashed at a media man for claiming that members of her family were given special treatment when they registered as voters in Cebu City’s north district. Comelec officials immediately served the Gutierrezes, including major showbiz stars Ruffa and Richard, despite the long line of would-be registrants that preceded them.
The decision of the Comelec officials was actually logical. You don’t allow those showbiz stars to fall in line and be mobbed by fans. That would have created more problems for the security personnel there. Rama’s reaction to criticisms of Comelec’s move can thus be justified. But it was the manner she delivered her response that was telling.
Two things were observable there, and Rama’s opponent in the north district congressional race, Raul del Mar, should note them.
One is the “star power” that Rama brings into the equation. If the Gutierrezes created a stir during the registration process, think of when the campaign period starts. And it’s not only about her family. Rama’s stable of talents includes other big names in showbiz. To say that this wouldn’t in any way impact in the voting process is to be blind to the realities of the country’s electoral setup.
The other is Rama’s nature. She speaks like a runaway train and doesn’t put the brakes when she gets going. I couldn’t see how del Mar, with his deliberate manner of speaking made even more deliberate by his age, could share the same stage with Rama without being driven off it.
In short, del Mar is in for a bruising fight.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 03, 2012.