The other Magpale-A A +A
Saturday, January 12, 2013
MIGUEL Antonio Almendras Magpale is a budding Danao city politician. Related to the Duranos and being an Almendras, he has the pedigree if one talks about making politics a career. He can make it big as a politician if he plays his cards right.
I first met him years ago when he and his team of La Salle students interviewed me at the Sun.Star Cebu office about the archeological survey in Poro, Camotes that I covered extensively when I was still with The Freeman. I expected him to pursue in the nation’s capital whatever career he would choose after graduation.
He surprised me when he instead went back to Cebu and helped manage the school that his family set up in “quiet” Danao. He was later drawn into a controversial incident involving a priest, Fr. Joey Belciña, who was accused by a student of raping her. The girl was a student of the school the Magpales own.
I talked with Miguel a few times while the issue was swirling to go deeper into the claim that politics was behind the accusation against the priest. I was convinced of the sincerity of his answers to my questions, and it partly helped shape my views on the matter.
The next time I knew, Miguel had plunged into politics, running and winning as city councilor of Danao together with lawyer and former student activist John Cane, a friend. Miguel was drawn into another controversy when Mayor Ramon “Boy” Durano Jr. battled for control of Danao with his brother, Ramon “Nito” Durano III. Majority of the city councilors, including Miguel, sided with Nito.
Miguel is currently a Provincial Board (PB) member, taking over the post vacated by his mother, Agnes Magpale, who took over as vice governor when Greg Sanchez died. He is running for the same PB post in the May elections in the fifth district, which encompasses my own home place, the Camotes islands (my mother is from Poro, my late father was from Tudela).
Miguel recently sent me a copy of his press statement on his thoughts about the current tug-of-war for leadership in the Capitol after Malacañang suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and swore in Vice Governor Magpale as acting governor. While I have criticized the political motivation behind the move to suspend Garcia, I have retained my respect for Miguel’s mother. I still am giving her the benefit of the doubt regarding her involvement in Malacañang’s condemnable act.
I could not blame Miguel if he is saddened that his mother “has been insulted, called names, mocked, disrespected and degraded” presumably by supporters of the suspended governor. He should understand, however, that attacks are natural by-products of conflicts. Garcia, too, is being “insulted, called names, mocked, disrespected and degraded” by supporters of his mother and the Liberal Party.
The acting governor is also a natural target of criticisms because she is now at the helm of Capitol, implementing plans the LP may be harboring while trying to govern as conscientiously as possible. And the attacks may even intensify in the next few months if Garcia fails to get a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Court of Appeals and Magpale remains acting governor.
It is par for the course, I would say, that is, if we think that our brand of politics is really like how the Durano patriarch defined it: as duwa sa yawa.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 12, 2013.