The May 9, 2022 general elections are over and, as the victors would say, “let’s move on.” But the unsavory practice of some tradpols (traditional politicians), particularly in the local level, in filing unfounded cases just to debase and shame a political opponent has left some barangay officials in Lapu-Lapu City that supported a mayoral candidate facing criminal cases.

During the campaign period, reelected Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan was charged with malversation of public funds and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act on the purchase of P47 million worth of food items and relief goods from an alleged supplier who is a furniture exporter. The complaint was filed by the barangay officials who are allies of Chan’s opponent in the city’s mayoralty race.

At the end of the day, it would appear that Mayor Chan had the last laugh. This after Regional Trial Court Judge Regional Trial Court Judge Anna Marie Militante issued the warrant of arrest on May 13, 2022 against Barangay Captains Eduardo Cuizon of Bankal, Eleonor Fontanoza of Gun-ob, Regina Ybañez of Looc, Triponia Abayan of Tungasan, Joselito Tibon of Subabasbas, Reynaldo Tampus of Canjulao, and Rosalino Abing of Maribago on the mayor’s complaint for grave oral defamation and for violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

In his complaint, Mayor Chan alleged that the barangay captains willfully and deliberately attacked his reputation by making defamatory utterances, maliciously and with evident ill will. You know, calling someone a thief amounts to grave oral defamation because it imputes a crime that is dishonorable or contemptuous to the person.

Another complaint for perjury that Mayor Chan filed against these barangay officials is still pending resolution. Perjury as defined and penalized under Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code is a statement or affidavit that the accused made a willful and deliberate assertion of a falsehood and the sworn statement containing the falsity is required by law or for a legal purpose. (Reyes, Luis B., The Revised Penal Code Book II, p. 272, 1998 Ed.)

The cases for grave oral defamation and perjury are the consequences of our ugly electoral practices when supporters of candidates speak maliciously and licentiously against their political opponents. Worse, the hateful attacks are posted on social media.

The only probable solution to the criminal cases that these barangay officials are facing is to make amends with Mayor Chan. If all the accused are remorseful of what they had uttered in public before, and this is not to preempt Mayor Chan, I don’t think it would be difficult for the mayor to forgive these officials, who were perhaps “used” during the campaign. After all, our brand of politics is addition and not deduction.

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With the inevitable proclamation of Bongbong Marcos as the 17th President of our Republic, there is now a scramble for top and juicy positions in government by his big supporters. But Vic Rodriguez, BBM’s spokesperson, in a radio/TV interview, belied the list of possible members of the Marcos’ Cabinet that came out on social media.

Here in Cebu, talks are getting loud about the possible next head of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (Opav), which is currently held by Secretary Michael Dino, by July 2022.

On several occasions, radio commentator Choy Torralba, who is a kumpadre of BBM and the man behind BBM’s campaign in Cebu and the region, dismissed suggestions that he would be the next Opav head. But many of his friends, including me, think otherwise. So, let’s just wait and see.