‘What’s party for?’

12/07/2010 - VARIOUS officials described it as a Christmas party, a farewell party or an advanced victory party. But for Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, the question isn’t what to call last night’s party for barangay captains, but this: What was it for? Asked about reports that T. Padilla Barangay Captain Michael Ralota, the party’s host, wanted to house barangay captains ahead of today’s federation elections, the mayor quipped, “Nganong magpa-house man sila? Wala sila’y balay? (Why do they want to be housed? Don’t they have their own houses?)”

“If they are there because they want to learn...but if they are there because they want to be bought, that’s up to them. But that’s not dignified because they will vote because they were paid,” Rama said. Ralota faces Busay Barangay Captain Eliodoro Sanchez today for the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) presidency and a seat in the Cebu City Council. All cities and towns are required to hold their barangay federation elections today. Provincial federations will hold their elections on Dec. 17. While most of the other Cebu City captains were in a Compostela resort for the party, Sanchez said he was staying at home. Rama has arranged for a morning mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral for peaceful and “non-confrontational” ABC elections. Like Sanchez, the mayor’s cousin, Basak Barangay Captain George Rama, was reportedly not invited to the party. “Was there an invitation from Jingjing (current ABC president Eugenio Faelnar)?” asked Rama. Interviewed separately, Faelnar said it could be an advanced victory party for Ralota, whom Rep. Tomas Osmeña has endorsed for ABC president. Ralota clarified, though, it was not only a Christmas party but also a farewell party for him as outgoing ABC vice president of the City and a thanksgiving party for the captains who have always supported him.
Faelnar, whom Osmeña previously endorsed for the ABC presidency, has said captains allied with the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan are expected to vote for Osmeña’s choice. Faelnar said he was not invited to last night’s affair, but he sees nothing wrong with it.

“Unsa may naa ana kung duna siya’y kwarta pagpahigayon ug party, naa diay magbuot nato. Iya sab na, naa ra na sa mga tawo kung unsaon nila pagsabot (What’s wrong with hosting a party if he has the money for it? That’s his call. It’s up to people what they make of it),” Faelnar said.

Ralota said it was a simple party where candidates who attended were given a chance to campaign. Ralota has no official line-up. The candidates for vice president are Capitol Site Barangay Captain Manuel Guanzon and Dave Tumulak of Basak Pardo. Until recently, Guanzon was a contender for the presidency, but Osmeña picked Ralota after a straw balloting. There are two candidates for auditor, Kamputhaw Barangay Captain Lorenzo Basamot and Ramil Ayuman of Barangay Apas.
There are 19 candidates for the ABC board of directors but only 10 will be chosen.

Strategy
The ABC secretary and treasurer will be appointed by the president, among the 10 barangay captains who will compose the board of directors. Sanchez said he did not mind that some of his allies attended the party.
“If I could afford to house them, I would’ve invited the barangay captains too to Marco Polo (which is located in Busay). I won’t complain about what they are doing because that is their strategy,” said Sanchez.


Besides, explained Sanchez, most of the barangay captains already have their choices in mind, with or without the Christmas party.

“Whatever the decision is, I will always abide. I’m running because I want to give them an election. I will not withdraw because that would mean I lost. If I don’t win, at least I’m second place,” said Sanchez, in jest.

Rama said he continues to stay away from the ABC election because the organization is supposed to be strictly non-partisan.

But the mayor said, “Never be afraid. You’ll never know victory until you fight.

You’ll never know victory until you struggle for it…If you lose, but you fought, there is dignity after the loss.” (Sun Star)

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