By NITZ ARANCON
and SHIELA MAE BUTLIG
ONE moment, he is certain that ex-councilor Jericho Goldmar Ebabacol is already Padayon Pilipino’s top bet in the upcoming Liga ng mga Barangay elections in the city; the next, he says there are others being considered by the party.
Former councilor Alexander Dacer yesterday flip-flopped in separate statements to this paper, a day after Ebabacol took his oath of office as barangay chairman before Mayor Oscar Moreno at city hall. The two politicians then hugged each other to the delight of their supporters who greeted the gesture with an applause.
Dacer, who used to represent the barangay chairpersons’ association in the city council, said he was unaware that Ebabacol decided to be sworn in by Moreno, and the Barangay 17 chairman did not discuss it with him.
Ebabacol’s move to be sworn into office by Moreno came days ahead of Padayon Pilipino’s scheduled mass oathtaking of barangay and SK officials before Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano. The Emanos and Moreno are political enemies.
Capitol spokesperson Nicole Managbanag said Padayon Pilipino’s winning candidates in last week’s elections would take their oath before Emano this Saturday.
“Dunganon rani sila tanan,” said Managbanag.
Dacer said Ebabacol’s move was merely a “sign of respect” towards Moreno but it did not mean that the barangay chairman has severed his political ties with the Emano group. He maintained that Ebabacol has remained as Padayon Pilipino’s bet for the Liga presidency.
Dacer said Ebabacol has not left the Padayon Pilipino, and he is certain that the barangay chairman would remain a reliable political ally.
“Lig-on na siya og baroganan, dili mabasta-basta,” he said.
But in a separate interview yesterday morning, Dacer hinted that there were other barangay chairpersons aside from Ebabacol that the Padayon Pilipino was considering for the Liga’s presidency.
“Gawas ni Ebabacol, na-a man si Kapitan Gilda Go sa Barangay 21, si Conrad Lim sa Barangay 33, ug Alam (Yan Lam) Lim sa Barangay 40 nga interesado sab nga mag-ABC president,” said Dacer.
Ebabacol told reporters on Tuesday that he decided to be sworn into office by Moreno to acknowledge his mayorship and to show him respect as the city’s leader.
“Akong gihatagan sa tumang respito ang atong amahan sa dakbayan. Kinahanglan nga diha kita kaniya manumpa nga mahimo niyang kaabag sa pagserbisyo sa katawhan, sa pagkab-ot sa mga programa nga angay matagamtam sa Barangay 17,” Ebabacol said.
But Ebabacol said he has not turned his back on the Padayon Pilipino.
Ebabacol said neither did he discuss partisan politics or party affiliations with Moreno, and the mayor merely asked him to help in city hall’s development efforts.
“Ang among nahisgotan walay labot politika. Mapasalamaton usab ako ni Mayor Moreno kay wala sab ko niya gi-engganyo nga mo-uban sa iyang poltikanhong kalihokan,” said Ebabacol.
He said his decision to take his oath before Moreno was not discussed by him with former mayor Vicente Emano, Padayon Pilipino’s founding leader.
Ebabacol said he was keeping his options open, and he could choose to run for the presidency of the Liga if the Padayon Pilipino has really decided to field him.
He said the decision would really be up to the Padayon Pilipino’s leadership.
“Ang tanan maghukom niini ang mga kapitanes man. Pero kon kita hatagan sa kahigayonan, puwede, kay na-a man kitay experyensiya tungod kay nahimo man usab kita nga ex officio member sa city council. Basin di-ay atong mapadayon ang atong pagpanerbisyo dili lamang sa atong barangay apan sa tibo-ok dakbayan sa Cagayan de Oro,” Ebabacol said.
Councilor Leon Gan, meanwhile, said Ebabacol’s move did not make any difference because the Padayon Pilipino has majority of the barangay chairpersons based on his count.
“Majority pa man gihapon ang among mga kapitan,” Gan said.