CAGAYAN DE ORO

On Pompee and Girlie

Pencalibur

IF I'M a Kagay-anon voter (which I'm not by the way), I would vote either Candy Darimbang, Ben Contreras, and Oscar Moreno. Even Nadya Emano, had she filed for candidacy.

At least these people have contributed much of Cagayan de Oro’s recent political history. But it turned out the local elections next year will also be a “homecoming” to some, especially for Jose Gabriel “Pompee” La Viña and Girlie Balaba.

Who are they?

Pompee La Viña, who claims to be the social media front-runner in the Duterte campaign, was given a post as a commissioner of Social Security System, but in February 2018, Duterte did not renew his appointment due to alleged "excessive" budget requests, and alleged accreditation of seven brokers to handle SSS investments, which was denied "because these brokers could not meet the requirements."

After the SSS stint, he became an Undersecretary of the Department of Tourism in April. However, by the time Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat took the helm in May 2018, she told tourism undersecretaries and assistant secretaries who served under the former secretary Wanda Teo, to resign, and La Viña was one of them.

By June, he became Department of Agriculture's undersecretary until he filed his candidacy as Cagayan de Oro Mayor. I’m not making that up, just search it online and there are news articles about it.

And yet, some people are wondering, and even surprised, that he is from Cagayan de Oro. Of course, dubious social media users and trolls would come into the defense, posting the “history” of Pompee.

And so is, Girlie. At least Pompee was known because of his social media presence and his appointments.

Girlie’s two main “political capital” was being a former journalist and being “close” to President Duterte. Davao media practitioners were throwing out their support on her plan to run for second district city councilor.

That is why Girlie can now be seen in some events where Mayor Oscar Moreno is being invited as guests, or together with incumbent councilors who are also her party allies.

But if you’d ask the “millennial” voters, or those 18 year-olds who can now vote, they would wonder and ask who are Pompee and Girlie. These two need to double their efforts to send their messages across.

And yet the most important question remains the same: how can they be truly useful in public service?

Since they are also “newbies,” and a “balik-bayan,” another crucial question would be: do they still understand the Kagay-anon’s nitty gritty culture in order to address critical issues of the society?


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