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Dongkoy: A great man, a titan in politics

Renato Tibon .

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Mayor Dongkoy Emano. We have lost a great man, a titan in Cagayan de Oro politics. We know him for his sincerity in helping the poor and the marginalized. He is well known for his good governance as Mayor of Tagoloan, Governor of Misamis Oriental and Mayor of CDO. Although we were on different sides in many political exercises, I am comforted by the fact that I had a full reconciliation with him and greatly honored to be with him in his last political endeavor. Let us all pray for Mayor Dongkoy.” – Rufus B. Rodriguez, former congressman, District 2 CDO

A GREAT man indeed lost his final battle. Known to be a political kingpin, Vicente Yap Emano, simply Dongkoy to his friends and foes, entered politics in the municipality of Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental in 1980. He served as the latter’s mayor for three years, ran and won as Misamis Oriental governor in 1986, and got reelected for three more terms until 1995.

Politics running pertinaciously in his veins, he won and served as Cagayan de Oro City mayor from 1998 up to 2007, then as vice mayor to Tinnex Jaraula following the end of his nine-year term.

In 2010, he again ran taking back the mayoral position up to 2013. He suffered a major setback in his reelection bid in 2013 but after a break of six years, he re-entered the political arena by running for vice mayor to Pompee La Vina who is seeking the mayoral position during this year’s mid-term elections.

Irrepressible until the very end, he kept his rivals guessing as to the status of his health, both mentally and physically. The man, with his signature guttural voice can make those around him giggle and laugh like the good old times even as he cussed and cursed and make fun of anyone who took his fancy.

Many of those seeking local positions in this year’s political exercise swear their undying friendship with Dongkoy despite a falling out due to political differences.

During the 2016 elections when he ran along with Oca Moreno and Rufus Rodriguez, Dongkoy Emano showed he can hold his own making the much-awaited debate a welcomed political spectacle not known to have happened in the political history of the city. Three of the most capable, competent and experienced politicians showing their mettle, presented their plans and programs for the city much to the delight of CDO residents who avidly followed and lapped-up the sometimes-barbed verbal exchange.

Like many of those who took the sides of the yellows, violets and orange, political colors which identified both candidates and followers, this writer merrily took the swipes and banters to social media where battles were waged between trolls and well-meaning supporters.

It was an eye-opening experience where one learns to love and hate, know and respect political adversaries but which in the end when dusts settled confirms the truism that in politics, there are no permanent enemies.

Congressman Rufus Rodriguez’s Centrist Democratic Party (CDP) entered into a coalition with Pompee La Vina and Dongkoy Emano’s Padayon Pilipino with the backing of Sara Duterte’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago and Abamin as partylist, showing to all and sundry that even erstwhile political adversaries can mend differences and reconcile for the sake of a common cause and that is for the good of Cagayan de Oro City.

Dongkoy Emano’s latest foray into politics took a punishing toll to his frail health. He went to Comelec to physically file his certificate of candidacy, participated in the press briefing which saw him respond to questions gamely. He was present in some of the ensuing barangay meetings and rallies and even went ahead of everyone else in the venue where Sara Duterte was to have a senatorial proclamation rally along with local candidates in coalition with her HNP party.

If Thanos was invincible, so was Dongkoy Emano. But there’s an endgame to any earthly endeavor much like the movie Avengers. The man succumbed to a lingering illness which refused to take him out for the longest time.

Farewell Vicente “Dongkoy” Emano. Your legacy will be forever etched in the hearts of your staunchest supporters, friends and Kagayanons whom you have served well. God speed on your journey to your Creator.

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