Malilong: God as capital in pyramiding

The Other Side

THERE must have been other cases of a candidate making known his misgivings over his having been junked by a teammate in the past elections but none has developed into a bickering as public and as intense as the one between Niña Mabatid and Jun Alcover, both Barug candidates for Cebu city councilor in the north district in last month’s elections.

Mabatid, a newcomer, won. Alcover, a reelectionist, lost. Five other members of their slate also came up short and while they probably share Alcover’s frustration over Mabatid’s campaign tactics, none has been vocal as the former party-list congressman.

The squabble is the first acid test of the leadership of incoming mayor Edgardo Labella. The stakes are high. He cannot afford to lose either of the two. Alcover has been a loyal ally who was always trusted to argue the party’s position in many policy conflicts with Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

He cannot afford to antagonize Mabatid either. She is one of only seven Barug members who were elected to the 18-member city council, including the two ex officio members from the Association of Barangay Councils and the Sangguniang Kabataan. Mabatid was originally with the BOPK until she had a falling out with Osmeña so she won’t exactly be a stranger if she rejoined the Council majority, forced to because she was not treated well by her new colleagues.

Labella is reportedly in the US but I’m sure he has been monitoring the situation. He is expected to arrive within the next few days. Hopefully, when he does, the Mabatid-Alcover quarrel has not deterioriated to a point where an amicable settlement has become impossible. Alas, the latest developments point to that direction so someone had to move fast and call a ceasefire.

That someone could be incoming Vice Mayor Michael Rama. After all, next to Labella, he is the highest elected Barug member. Or he could be outgoing Councilor Joey Daluz, who was the Barug campaign manager in the recently-concluded elections. Whoever it is going to be, he has to move fast. Despite the hostility between Mabatid and Alcover, their quarrel is still small fire. If the other defeated north district candidates jump into the fray, Barug would be engulfed in a conflagration.


I have been taught that if something is too good to be true, then it is not true. The lesson has served me well as I’m sure it has done with other people.

Sadly, there are those who refuse to see the point, ignoring the lessons of a not-so-long-ago past. In 2013, hundreds of people lost everything that they saved in their lifetime in the Aman Futures scam. The fraudulent practice that Aman used to rob their victims was nothing new. The Ponzi scheme or pyramiding had victimized thousands of others in many parts of the globe before.

Still, many fell for the promise of a return of investment that was too good to be true: triple your money within months. The bubble was bound to burst anytime and when it did, irate “investors” were left ransacking Aman’s offices for aircon units, furniture and even staplers, not so much as to recoup theirs losses as to express their anger.

We’re now seeing the resurrection of the same, no, in fact worse evil because it uses God as capital, and it should not surprise anyone to see hundreds falling for the promise of a 30 percent monthly interest for their “donation” to the Lord Almighty.


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