The stink in Sambag 1-A A +A
Monday, September 1, 2014
I WAS going to write about the uncollected garbage in Barangay Sambag 1. But no, I’m not one to air the barangay’s dirty laundry in public. I don’t even live in Urgello, although I’m there almost every day (okay, not almost, I’m there every night).
So why does it matter to me that the stench of the rotting refuse that has been left at the mercy of the elements--be it rain or shine—has become overwhelming? Not my business, right? And why should I care that residents there have become hapless victims of the political bickering between the Guardos and the Alcovers?
Ailien Guardo failed to succeed her husband Jerry in the last barangay election when her rival Lemar Alcover was declared winner by just 119 votes (Lemar is the son of former Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy party-list congressman Pastor “Jun” Alcover Jr.). She immediately filed an election protest and asked the court to order the recount of ballots in all 24 polling precincts.
Ailien said votes counted for Lemar should be considered stray since he “failed to comply with residency requirements.”
She said Lemar filed a certificate of candidacy for mayor of Tabogon, Cebu during the local elections in May last year.
“Being a candidate for an elective post in another place in Cebu Province and not Cebu City means that protestee (Lemar) is not a resident of Sambag 1 at the time he filed his certificate of candidacy for punong barangay,” Ailien told Sun.Star Cebu reporter Gerome M. Dalipe earlier this year.
She also accused Lemar of employing “widespread chaos, harassment, threats and intimidation” among her supporters, leaders and coordinators during the election.
Lemar, though, said he wasn’t in the position to cheat. He said the Guardos were in a much better position to rig the votes since they were the incumbents. Not only that, they had the money to alter the results, he said.
“I ran as independent and they ran with the backing of Team Rama who campaigned for them. If I cheated, why did I only get one barangay councilor from my group?” Lemar had told Sun.Star Cebu.
Last May, Judge Rainer Navarrete declared Ailien the “truly elected punong barangay.”
During the recount, she garnered 3,052 votes, or a 73-vote lead, over Lemar’s 2,979.
The Guardo couple, according to news report, rejoiced when the decision was handed down.
And no, I wasn’t surprised when Lemar’s camp announced he would likely appeal. After all, we are in a country where, in politics, there are only winners, never losers.
But while the two camps are locked in political impasse, over 90 employees of the barangay, including eight officials, have reportedly not received their salary for almost three months. That was back in July, anyway.
Again, that was to be expected. And when Lemar said barangay operations have also been compromised. Come on, too easy.
The barangay council, which is dominated by Ailien’s allies, reportedly would not allow the new treasurer Lemar appointed to withdraw funds to pay for the employees’ salaries and to pay for the barangay’s water and electric bills.
I guess residents of Sambag 1 shouldn’t be asking for the moon. Their barangay is operating under Middle Age conditions. No running water. No power. Dogs poo everywhere. Garbage strewn on the streets.
That’s why I’m not writing about the uncollected garbage. It’s an exercise in futility. And if the garbage was picked up yesterday, it wouldn’t have mattered. It’s a perennial problem. And when residents complain, they get the same answer, “the garbage truck is broken.”
Meanwhile, residents of Sambag 1 can only watch with envy as Sambag 2 picks up its residents’ garbage like clockwork.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 02, 2014.