Barangay election period starts-A A +A
Saturday, September 28, 2013
EVERY time a barangay election is held, I remember my late father Tiyong. He was the best barangay captain that Sambag 2 never had. Or okay, barangay councilor. He ran for barangay captain and lost. Ran for barangay councilor in his waning years and, again, lost. I would like to believe the latter loss partly contributed to his demise in 2002.
When he ran for barangay captain, he was up against the formidable Jessie Aznar, who would later become Cebu City councilor. My father didn’t have money to fund his campaign, but he was supported by militants who made do with the resources that he had. I wasn’t in Sambag 2 at that time. I was in the hinterlands of Cebu City organizing the farmers there.
I went home weeks after the elections, and found my father still a bit better over his loss. He had gotten verbal support a few days before the elections from leaders in our own place, Sitio Kawayan. On election day, he got frustrated seeing the same people pass by our house as ward leaders of his opponent. He didn’t have money to retain their “loyalty.”
He ran for barangay councilor years later, joining the slate of Noy Jessie, his former political rival who was trying to make a comeback in barangay politics against the then incumbent, Noel Wenceslao. Noy Jessie was with the camp of former Cebu City mayor Alvin Garcia, who was challenging the dominance of then mayor Tomas Osmeña, Noel’s patron.
Our family frowned on my father running in the elections considering his age, but nobody could hold him back. We grudgingly supported him, and our lukewarm attitude pissed him off. I told him he should not expect much from a campaign he couldn’t even fund. In a way, we were prepared for his losing in the count. He wasn’t.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has set the start of the barangay election period for today. It will last until Nov. 12. That means another gun ban will be in place.
With Congress already passing the measure seeking the postponement of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to 2014-2015, and with President Noynoy Aquino expected to sign it, we will no longer be seeing our youths campaigning and voting for their own candidates. The focus will only be on the elections for barangay officials.
The filing of the certificates of candidacy has been set for Oct. 11 to 17 yet, but like in elections for higher level government posts, some candidates are already campaigning. And again, like in elections for higher level government positions, the Comelec can’t do anything much about it, except issuing warnings.
Will the SK elections be missed? I doubt it. The number of SK members is but a small portion of the barangay population. More than that, only a small portion of that population vote in the SK polls. But the SK elections will be missed by politicians in the municipal, city and provincial levels who are in the habit of influencing the polls’ outcome.
SK representatives sit as ex-officio members in the municipal, city and provincial legislative bodies. Mayors or governors who want to control their legislative bodies dip their dirty fingers into the SK elections. They will no longer have that luxury once SK polls are moved.
On this, I am interested on the extent of the interference in the barangay elections of the two major political blocs in Cebu City, the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) of former mayor Tomas Osmeña and Team Rama of Mayor Michael Rama. I understand that both groups are surreptitiously supporting candidates for the elections.
The 2016 elections are still too far away, but Osmeña and Rama knows that if they were to prevail in that political exercise, control of politics at the barangay level is crucial.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 28, 2013.