THEY are running for councilor under two opposing political parties: Noel Wenceslao under Barug PDP-Laban and Kirk Bryan Jaca Repollo of the Bando Osmena-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK). I don’t really want to talk about local candidates in the May 2019 elections, but this one is personal. Noel is my cousin while Bryan is a relative of my wife, who is a Jaca.
I have written a number of times about Noel, my former Kabataang Barangay chairman in Barangay Sambag 2 who went on to become our barangay captain and proceeded to become Cebu City councilor for a number of terms. He is therefore a veteran, which makes him more qualified for the post than the other wannabes.
The acquisition of power often changes one’s demeanor, but not Noel who, during the few times that we have been talking lately, remains soft-spoken and undomineering. I thus don’t consider Noel a traditional politician. Which can be a bane considering that in politics, the humble are often overlooked while the domineering attract attention.
But I remember Noel more when he, together with brothers and some neighbors in Sitio San Juan, visited me during my incarceration at the old Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center. Anybody who has been jailed will tell you being visited inside a jail is a big deal for inmates. A fellow inmate at that time lost his mind (“naburyong”) after years of neglect by his relatives.
Of course, Noel didn’t disappoint in the city council. He and the former Sambag 2 barangay captain who preceded him in that body, Noy Jessie Aznar, did well during their stints. I would say Noy Jessie must have been a good mentor for Noel, although they eventually clashed politically in the latter years.
I don’t really know Bryan much personally because my wife belongs to another branch of the Jaca clan in Barangay Inayawan. Her grandfather was Andres, brother of the more politically inclined Emilio or Miling, who served for many years as Inayawan barangay captain. Thus, I am more familiar with Andres’s sons and daughters who I meet during clan gatherings.
One thing going for Bryan is that he broke the hold of the Ignacios in Inayawan. The last Jaca to serve as barangay captain was the late Tarciano, who was defeated by the late Rustom Ignacio in, if I remember it correctly, 2002. Rustom served as barangay captain for several terms and was succeeded by his daughter Lutherlee, whom Bryan defeated in the recent barangay polls.
That Bryan is running for Cebu City councilor fresh from his win in Inayawan is actually an issue for some villagers. If he wins, he will have to leave the reins of the village to the number one councilor, Polo Delfin. It is when he loses that he gets to stay as village chief.
But I take this issue differently. Bryan, a young lawyer, may have seen this as a chance to serve the Inayawanons in a broader capacity. A stint in the city council would mean the barangay would finally be given representation in the city council, something that a major barangay in the city deserves.