Seares: Why is ex-city councilor, ex-deputy mayor, ex-mayoral bet Dave Tumulak running for Basak Pardo barangay captain? Why does he think Barug and BOPK are ganging up on him?

Seares: Why is ex-city councilor, ex-deputy mayor, ex-mayoral bet Dave Tumulak running for Basak Pardo barangay captain? Why does he think Barug and BOPK are ganging up on him?
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DAVE TUMULAK, besides serving as news reporter for the then ABS-CBN broadcast network in Cebu, was barangay councilor more than once (“always No. 1”) and barangay captain before. As its top official, he reaped for Basak Pardo in Cebu City “the most-peaceful-barangay award” from police and PDEA, the drug enforcement agency, aside from providing residents top service on the basics (medical, lighting, and garbage disposal) and the task of “empowering” sectors. Then he served as Cebu City councilor for three terms when, under Tomas Osmeña’s watch, he was deputy mayor for peace and order. In 2022, reaching term limit as councilor, he ran for mayor as an independent. He lost but got 130,000-plus votes, compared to second-placer Margot Osmeña’s 190,000-plus and fourth-placer Cris Saavedra’s 1,300-plus.

[1] So what’s Dave Tumulak doing in this barangay election of 2023? He’s running for barangay captain of Basak, Bardo in Cebu City. But why, I asked him Sunday, October 29.

Tumulak told me he “just wants” to continue his “advocacy” and his “passion to serve.” In Mayor Mike Rama’s language, he’s greedy for public service (“hakog sa panerbisyo”).

[2] Does Tumulak have an “ultimate” goal, specifically to use the barangay-captain seat to run for the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) presidency, which will earn him a membership in the City Council and a crack for higher office in the succeeding local election?

“Honestly,” Tumulak said, “I have no plans for 2025 anymore.”

[3] Dave has three opponents for the top seat who, he said, are “supported financially by well-known political kingpins” (most likely, Michael Rama of Barug and Tomas and Margot Osmeña of BOPK). Is there a reason bigwigs in politics seem to be ganging up on Tumulak?

Tumulak said, “They want to knock me down in our barangay for their advantage in 2025.”

Another source told me that if Dave would win, he might be the ABC contender from the south, probably against Franklyn Ong in the north. The warring parties at City Hall both lust after the ABC seat: Barug to increase its dominance; BOPK to lessen the gap between the majority and minority and also increase its 2025 chances. Ong ran as BOPK bet for vice mayor in 2022 but since his loss, as councilor he has voted a number of times with the majority. Tumulak, already with Barug, broke away in the last election and ran as independent, against Rama and Margot Osmeña.

[4] How does Dave compare his campaign with that of his rivals, particularly those who, he said, are being supported by political kingpins?

“They even campaign sitio by sitio, against me and in favor of my opponents,” Tumulak said. His campaign? “Pinubrihay lang nga kampanya.” Barangay Basak Pardo has 14,495 voters in 32 sitios, not counting the SK or Sangguniang Kabataan voters.

Dave said he did his campaign “all by myself with volunteers who want peace and progress in our barangay.” His claimed edge: “My constituents know better my type of leadership and service.”

[5] Tumulak doesn’t believe barangay elections are non-partisan. His rivals, he alleges, have “political kingpins” as “financial supporters” -- and most likely the strategies of political parties, such as team lineups. Does Dave have his own lineup?

Tumulak didn’t categorically say but he told me he had asked to join him “aspirants with superb record of service in community and church as well as exemplary academic records.” “It’s high time,” Dave said, “to mold new leaders to save our next generation with genuinely true service.”

[6] His long experience in politics must have told Tumulak what political kingpins’ support and political party network can do to independent aspirants. But he seems ready for the outcome, whichever way Monday’s elections will end.

Dave said, whatever the result, “I will accept it with all my heart.”

[7] To Dave Tumulak, what could his victory mean?

Triumph of “independent individual initiative” (though Dave cannot be said to be a political virgin and have no organization of his own) over “party machinery.”

Preference of voters for a leader who has served the barangay faithfully and long.


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