In Baybay, Leyte, momentary peace only
BAYBAY CITY, Leyte - On Feb 15, 2013, Leyte mayoralty candidates and their supporters gathered at the Immaculate Concepcion Parish in Baybay, Leyte for the signing of a peace covenant.
Even though the campaign period for local candidates has not started, residents of Baybay have already witnessed the exchange of harsh words between the contending parties.
Running under the Liberal Party, incumbent Mayor Carmen L. Cari is the mother of Congressman Jose Carlos Cari and Vice Mayor Mike Cari. Her daughter-in-law, Margarita Cari, is the president of the Liga ng mga Barangay. A political family, the Caris have ruled Baybay, Leyte for 32 years.
This coming elections, however, for the first time, they will be facing a strong opponent. United Nationalists Alliance (UNA) mayoralty bet Marilou V. Galenzoga created a stir when she organized a peaceful rally, "Walk for Change" last Sept 16, 2012. More than 30,000 people clothed in blue joined what has been regarded as the "people power" in Leyte.
On the day that the peace covenant was signed, Galenzoga said she was overwhelmed by the presence of her supporters. The blue color stood out among the crowd that gathered inside the church for the signing of the covenant. A man in his 50s admitted that he had to travel from his barangay, Makinhas, to show his support for Galenzoga.
Mayor Cari however, declared she was not threatened by the number of Galenzoga’s supporters. She was accompanied by some barangay captains and supporters who reside near the church.
Organized by the local police and the Commission on Elections, the event began with a mass celebrated by Rev Fr Fermin Wabina and 7 other priests. While exchanging the sign of peace, Cari and Galenzoga shook each other’s hands. At the same time, their respective supporters approached each other to shake hands.
Signing of the peace covenant took place after the mass officiated by Rev Fr Edmund Jesus, assistant city election officer Adelina Modina Enales, and assistant chief of police PS Insp Jose Bacalso. The covenant read:
Kinasing-kasing namong ihalad ang among kaugalingon aron mapahigayon ang usa ka limpyo, han-ay ug malinawong PINILIAY sa atong NASUD nga PILIPINAS sa ika 13 Mayo, tuig 2013. (We heartily offer ourselves to have clean, orderly, and peaceful elections in our country, the Philippines, this 13 May, 2013.)
Paningkamutan namo nga kining nga mapatuman aron kining maong PINILIAY mahimong agianan alang sa usa ka makatarunganon, makatao, ug hamtong nga panggobyerno nga magpaila sa kinaiya sa usa ka haring lungsod. (We will strive to implement this covenant that this election may be an instrument for truthful, benevolent, and matured governance that will embody the ideals of the city.)
Siguradohon namo nga kining maong PINILIAY pagamanduan sa tingog sa balaod, pagtahud sa mga prinsipyo sa demokrasya ug pagtugot sa gamhanang DIOS. (We will ensure that this election is ruled by the voice of law, respect for the principles of democracy, and consent of the Almighty God.)
Gitinguha namo ang pagtinabangay nga mapatuman kining among katuyuan. (We will strive to cooperate to carry out our purpose.)
Uban sa panabang sa Ginoo, isaad namo nga buhaton ang tanan nga among mahimo ug barogan ang angayan nga buhaton sumala sa among kaakuan ug obligasyon. (With the help of God, we promise to do our best and stand on what is best to be done based on our obligations.)
Tinguhaon namo kini niining umaabot nga piniliay tungod ug alang sa katawhang Pilipinhon. (We will work towards its realization this coming election for the Filipino people.)
Ang among magatimaan sa kamatinud-anon sa among tinguha sa pagsuporta niining among katuyuan. (Our signatures testify our sincerity to our commitment to support this cause.)
On paper only
Ironically, however, after the covenant was signed, the two candidates started arguing.
Mayor Cari told Galenzoga the only votes she and her party will receive are from the supporters with her on that day. Galenzoga responded, saying that Mayor Cari tried to get supporters to join her but unfortunately, "Wala nay manguban pa niya (no one accompanies her any more)." – Rappler.com
Niño is a Rappler mover and a resident of Baybay City, Leyte. He writes for the Eastern Visayas Mail. You can follow him on Twitter @ninovillalino. You can also be a Rappler Mover in the coming elections. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.