Wanted: A new brand of People Power

AS we bid goodbye to year 2018, and the country is about to decide on who will be the new sets of local government leaders that will govern the countryside, the series of violence that have taken place are clearly politically-motivated killings.

As we have come to learn over the decades that local elections are the most emotionally-charged political event in the country, a lot more than presidential and national elections, and it’s time that communities take control instead of being controlled.

It’s during local elections when serious conflicts within traditional political families surface, when neighbors see their differing political views as personal affront, when the electorate unabashedly encourage candidates to “buy” their votes, when supporters take to their jobs as livelihood, when rumors of betrayal lead candidates and their supporters to commit violence.

Our police can only do so much to protect and prevent bloodshed, so much is left to local media, religious, NGOs, professional and civic sectors to help create a peaceful environment. They must stand as one in organizing debates and fora on specific community issues and political agenda for the town/city.

As a group, it must convey the message that it will not hesitate to name the candidate that has refused to participate in organized activities while making it known that they will condemn any violence that will be committed against any candidate and his/her supporters.

This is the kind of people power that the country sorely needs. Not the kind that seeks to overthrow a legitimate government.

A record reward

THE reward for anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest of suspect/s in the killing of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe is the biggest ever in Philippine history.  From P30M, President Duterte jacked it up to P50M in an emphatic display of his abhorrence to what he called a “politically motivated murder.” 

Batocabe was leading in surveys to win as mayor of Daraga, Albay, in the May 2019 election, prompting his widow, Gertie Duran-Batocabe, to point an accusing finger at “my husband’s political rival/s.”  She rejected police theory that communist rebels might have carried out the attack “because my husband never opposed their principles.” She asked:  “Who will gain from his death?”  Batocabe, a lawyer, died together with his bodyguard, SPO1 Orlando Diaz, when six men ambushed them in Daraga last week.  

Batocabe died on the spot when four bullets from a high-powered gun hitting his back exited in front. Tragic, indeed.

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