By RUCHE GUANGCO
Team OKKA .
THE dominant local political opposition whose kingpin has been decimated by Mayor Oscar S. Moreno not once, but twice, first in 2013 and then in 2016, had to scramble for a standard bearer.
The “Alas,” as the kingpin is called by his subordinates (literally, by all members of his local party) have skirted getting beaten by Mayor Moreno for a third time. The other faction of the local opposition wanted to cast its bet on a high percentage shot, so to speak, after beaten badly to a third place in 2016.
Then came this man whose resume includes former, actually sacked SSS commissioner, sacked former Tourism undersecretary, and resigned Agriculture undersecretary. I used the term “sacked” to mean not renewed, shipped out.
First, this person caused trouble at the SSS, allegedly acting as padrino to a group of brokers, and then asked for a P26-million budget for a social media project. When this was disapproved, he asked for P1.9 million monthly for the same project. Smart kid. He was not given the lump sum and so, he wanted to settle for P22.8 million which is P1.9 million per month. When this was not approved, he rolled out a vilification campaign against directors who opposed it.
Then-Palace spokesperson Harry Roque was quoted as saying of the ouster: “Again, let this be a reminder to all public officials that the President is serious in curbing corruption and has strong resolve to promote good governance.”
A few months later, he was recycled as Tourism undersecretary. Ben Tulfo, a brother of then-Tourism secretary Wanda Teo, was fuming mad at this man and accused this undersecretary of masterminding the campaign against his sister. This man was said to have leaked the so-called “Wanda Files.” When the kitchen became so hot for Teo, she resigned and was replaced by Bernadette Romulo Puyat.
Secretary Puyat saw no use of this man and so, he was not reappointed. Then in no time, he was recycled again as undersecretary of DA.
A few months later, he resigned to file his certificate of candidacy for mayor of Cagayan de Oro. His main credential is “social media director” of the 2016 campaign of the President yet insiders in the campaign say there was no such position. He merely created it after he was booted out of the communications group allegedly for being a troublemaker. What he did was vilify and vilify using trolls and fake news.
A check at his past ventures, he had an unsuccessful recording company. He also ventured into real estate in the US that also went pfft.
With nothing to show, except perhaps his high school valedictorian medal from Xavier University High School, this man started with negative campaigning purportedly against the “most anti-Duterte mayor” in the country.
Later on, he convinced, literally at the backstage of the Limketkai Atrium, the President to raise his hands as a gesture of endorsement. Now, beautifully photoshopped pictures of him, hands raised by President Duterte, is plastered around town. The original though had a Chinese phone brand poster as background in what looked like a hastily taken photo, his right foot was even chopped off the frame.
Although Mayor Moreno ran under the Liberal Party in the last elections, he never did lift a finger against the Duterte campaign. It is not his nature to pull people down.
In fact, results of the 2016 election showed two things: Cagayan de Oro is a Duterte and Moreno city. Cagayan de Oro voted Duterte-Moreno. Voters did not stick to partylines.
It is very doubtful if this man, whose campaign is grounded only on personal attacks and on the obsession to destroy Mayor Moreno, will get a significant number of votes. Sure, the President’s endorsement may win some votes, but it would not be enough.
Mayor Moreno is campaigning based on solid accomplishments and solid platform in line with the President’s “Build, Build, Build” philosophy.
The other side, who claims heaven and earth as the President’s “chosen one”, is ironically campaigning to “Destroy, Destroy, Destroy.” Listen to his radio programs and you will hear him say words that are unprintable and shouldn’t be broadcast at all. It’s so terrible that one radio personality from one of the stations where he has a “blocktime” program confided to me that she would never allow her children to listen to this man’s radio program.
Cagayanons have learned painfully what bad local governance brings. It paid dearly with “Sendong.” They now know who is and will pull them up and who will pull them down.
But do not underestimate the man who is vile as his spoken words, the kind of person who does not wink an eyelash in telling lies and spreading fake news. He does farm not to feed people with nourishment but with trolls — those unhappy, unloved cretins — to spread negativity. Beware!
Until election day, he will cause turbulence and then he will be placed to his proper place. We’ll just pray, to a place where he does not cause trouble anymore.
No doubt, this “Dutreno” factor will again be decisive in the May 2019 polls.
(P.S. The city government, under Mayor Oscar S. Moreno, will soon finish the second and third hospitals, a rehabilitation center for drug reformers, halfway house for the abandoned and soon, a mental hospital, too.)
(Ruche Guangco is a worker in a group that is making preparations for the election campaign of Mayor Oscar Moreno and his ticket.)