Random Thoughts

ENJOY THE POLITICAL CIRCUS—We know election is coming when prospective aspirants for national elective posts start going to Pangasinan, one of the country’s top vote-rich provinces in the country.

These past weeks, newsmen have been invited to cover the visits of Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, Senators Cynthia Villar, JV Ejercito and Bam Aquino, and Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano. As of this writing (April 27), a press conference of Sen. Sonny Angara in Dagupan City is calendared. Then a mayor told me presidential spokesman Harry Roque will grace the Sual town fiesta’s barangay night on April 28.

All these officials are reportedly vying for Senate slots in the 2019 election.

Marcos is graduating as governor while Villar, Ejercito, Aquino and Angara are seeking re-election. Alejano is also aiming to jump to a Senate seat like Roque.

Among these Pangasinan visitors, it is Marcos who frequently goes to Pangasinan lately. But she has not confirmed if she’s running for senator. Kina-career nya ang Pangasinan.

I have joined her in her sorties in Mangatarem, Dagupan City, Villasis, Umingan, Bolinao this year. But she had been to other places, too, in Pangasinan which I failed to cover.

Marcos and the rest of the possible Senate aspirants, are starting to make “paramdam” to Pangasinan voters. Why? Marcos gave the answer in our talk in Bolinao last April 21 where she was warmly welcomed and joined by Celeste brothers Congressman Boying, Mayor Art (Alaminos City), Mayor Arnold (Bolinao). Marcos said she strongly believes that the much-vaunted Solid North is still very much alive. The rest of the aspirants, I believe, agree with her.

Why Pangasinan? Accoording to Comelec provincial election supervisor Marino Salas, the province now has 1,799,053 registered regular voters aged 18 and above, while voters for SK whose ages range from 15 to 30 years old now total 683,000.

Ang dami, di ba?

So if people wonder why these officials suddenly visit in succession the beautiful province of Pangasinan, the answer is simply because they are starting to woo us, our precious votes, in ways not classified as premature campaign since no one has filed his/her certificate of candidacy. Magkakaalaman pa sa October kung sino ang mga kakandidato.

In the succeeding weeks and months, let’s brace ourselves for more “paramdam” from senatorial wannabes.

It’s only during this time that we see aspirants super friendly to us, voters.

Let’s enjoy the show, or should I say, the political circus?— Eva Visperas


THE PADYAK DRIVER’S KAPITAN—Here is a little reminder before you go to the polls on May 14. Vote for someone who you think can be relied upon by your barangay, not for someone who will just rely on your barangay for his personal gains and glory.

This was the post of my good friend running for kagawad in San Pedro, Laguna, in Pilipino and which I translated to remind the people here in Dagupan that they, too,  must give their votes to someone who they can trust to deliver public service and not those who think of enriching themselves at the expense of their barangay.

That post reminded me of what a padyak driver told me only three days ago about this barangay chairman whom he suspects to have enriched himself. The kapitan, he said, has unexplained wealth. He now owns three new SUVs, which he never had until he came to the post some years ago and, of course, a beautiful house.

He asked me if the salary of a barangay chairman can buy even one SUV.

I said no, based on my experience as a former government employee for many long years. But I also told him the Kapitan might perhaps has other sources of income, like a family business, a productive fishpond or a farm land.

No, manong, he said. I can swear that his family does not have any business nor a fishpond or a farm. I know because I live near them.

Then how was he able to acquire those possessions? I asked.

His guess was he could have been extorting from businessmen who have establishments in the barangays or instead of paying their required business clearance to the barangays, the businessmen just forked over sums to grease the palm of the corrupt kapitan.

Then that’s plausible, I said.

He told me if I knew that this kapitan has been haled into court.

I said I didn’t and waited for him to elaborate.

He’s been charged for graft and corruption. Someone was bold enough to bring him to court, he quipped.

I asked the padyak driver if he would vote for this kapitan again like he did before.

He said the opponent of the kapitan is a greenhorn with no experience at all in politics although his family had been in public service for a long time as businessmen.

But if he is to choose between a corrupt and an inexperienced one, he will go for the latter for a change once and for all. At least he said he knows this greenhorn will not enrich himself in office, will not steal the money of the people and would be sharing part of his fortune for the welfare of his constituents.

I just smiled at his candor. I liked what I heard.—Leonardo Micua

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