Malilong: Of loyalty and betrayal

The Other Side

THE winners in last Monday’s elections must still be exultant until now. Let them be. Considering what they have gone through in order to emerge victorious, they deserve to be not just happy but deliriously happy.

Soon, maybe as early as next week, the giddiness will disappear as the newly elected public officials begin to take stock of their surroundings and grapple with issues like whom to fire and whom to keep and how to accommodate friends and supporters who want to be employed in government.

Loyalty will definitely be a yardstick although only Cebu Governor-elect Gwen Garcia has so far openly declared that she will be adopting it, among others. Those who remained loyal to her through good and bad times will be rewarded but those who betrayed her will be given their walking papers. She, however, said that every Capitol employee will be subjected to a performance review but that does not seem like a real lifeline to the betrayers.

Fair enough. There are always consequences to everything that one does. In horse racing, if you bet on the wrong horse, you lose your money. In politics, if you sided with the beaten candidate, you lose your job.

The greater challenge will be in choosing the new hires. What was it that they said about failure and success? The former is an orphan, the latter has many fathers. Every supporter and ally will claim credit for a candidate’s victory, which does not really harm the latter until he or she starts applying or recommending someone for a job and expect to be accommodated.

It’s going to be a tough job trying to please everyone. So let the winners enjoy now while they can. Their headaches are not too far away.


He tried to settle a conflict peacefully. He ended up a victim of senseless violence.

Jimmy Bartilic was, from the account of those who knew him, a good man. He was a hands-on leader, too. He personally mediated between parties to a conflict in Lawaan 3 in Talisay City where he was the barangay captain. He would refer them to the Lupon only when his best efforts failed, which, according to his co-workers, happened rarely.

If he had only given up sooner and endorsed the quarrel between a retired US Marine and his stepson to the Lupon, Bartilic would have been alive by now. But his sense of duty apparently won over any concern for his own safety. Besides, who would have thought that Dean Torrefranca would, at that precise moment, turn homicidal and use his training as a member of an elite US military unit to ambush the peacemaker and his companions, including the killer’s enemy stepson?

To those of of us who associate the office of barangay captain with uselessness and frivolity, Bartilic’s murder is proof of how wrong we are and a grim reminder of the risks that leaders of the country’s smallest local government unit have to contend with while discharging their duties.

It may be argued that a case like Bartilic’s does not happen very often and that it was just unfortunate that he ran into an obviously unhinged retired soldier. That may be so but do we have to wait until some others are similarly killed before we become concerned? There must be something out there that can be done to shield barangay officials from the Torrefrancas of this world. What these measures are is the challenge to our national leaders.


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