Cañete and JVR

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014


I ONCE covered a court hearing in the sala of the late Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge Peary Aleonar. One time, he called the attention of a photojournalist who was taking pictures of the proceeding.

Afraid that he would be scolded, the photojournalist, who was focusing at Aleonar, immediately brought down his camera. But actually the judge was not angry. Instead, he told the fotog, “Dalia ba og shot (kay kapoy og posing).”

In one instance, the judge lectured about the proper use of titles. He frowned upon people who attach these to their names even outside of their work areas. I thought that what the judge meant was that it already partakes of vanity.

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That’s why for this column I won’t refer to Paulus Mariae Cañete as a “doctor” although he seems to relish having “Dr.” attached to his name, more so now that he is using his doctorate degree to lay claim to the position of Talisay City College (TCC) president.

Cañete was appointed by Mayor Johnny V. de los Reyes (JVR) as president of TCC even without the approval of the college’s Board of Trustees, which is required in the ordinance creating the school.

JVR therefore “ousted” TCC acting president Ritchel Bacaltos, who was appointed by his predecessor, former mayor (now city councilor) Socrates Fernandez, an act confirmed by the Board of Trustees. One of the issues Cañete raised against Bacaltos is that he has no doctorate degree, which is a requirement for the post. But Bacaltos said he was merely appointed in an acting capacity.

Anyway, “doctors,” even if they are not medical practitioners, are supposed to be respectable, but Cañete is another specimen.

After splitting in two the Mandaue City College (MCC) because of his refusal to step down as school president after Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes replaced him years ago, he did not wait long after his recent appointment as TCC head before wreaking havoc on the status quo in the college. He organized another graduation ceremony as the mayor-appointed president of the Talisay City College (TCC).

Meaning that TCC graduates walked up the stage and got their diploma twice—once when the legitimate TCC acting president and the school’s Board of Trustees held their graduation rites a few days ago and for the second time when Cañete and Talisay City Mayor Johnny V. de los Reyes the other day. If there’s one doctorate this man can have, it is “doctorate in factional strife.”

Essentially, Cañete has introduced factionalism into two colleges created by two local government units. That’s a record.

As for JVR, what kind of mayor does Talisay City have? I initially thought the errors that he committed when he assumed the post in the second half of last year were part of the learning process. But it now looks like he is really either incompetent or a clueless dictator.

When Fernandez was mayor, Talisay City was pushed into the limelight only because of the acts of his son, Joavan. But in the past few months, Talisay City has grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons—and these are, unfortunately all governance-related.

Even his party mates in the Liberal Party (LP) led by Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante are ruing the day they decided to make him the party’s standard bearer last year. JVR was not an original member of the LP when the slate for the posts in Talisay was formed.

Villarante and his party mates are openly attacking JVR, something that the LP chief in the province, Gov. Hilario Davide III, wants to remedy. He wants to reconcile his warring party mates in Talisay.

But I think he will only succeed if reconciliation also means reining in JVR and kicking out the people giving him wrong advice.

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 02, 2014.

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