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Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Opinion - CAN­DID THOUGHTS

HE one and only time I ran for a gov­ern­ment post was in the ‘70s when the then dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos launched the youth or­ga­ni­za­tion Ka­bataang Barangay (KB) ob­vi­ously to counter the in­flu­ence of mil­i­tant youth groups like the Ka­bataang Mak­abayan and to ac­com­mo­date the po­lit­i­cal in­cli­na­tions of his daugh­ter Imee, who even­tu­ally be­came the KB na­tional chair­per­son. The com­po­si­tion of our slate was mas­ter­minded by then Sam­bag 2 barangay chief Jesse Az­nar.

My cousin Noel, who would later be­come Cebu City coun­cilor, was our stan­dard bearer. I ran for KB coun­cilor to­gether with five oth­ers, in­clud­ing a former Miss High School of South­west­ern Uni­ver­sity. I was poised to be­come high school vale­dic­to­rian then, so ap­par­ently that gave us the right to la­bel our slate the “beauty and brains” team. (I could not help but smile when I wrote the last sen­tence.)

Those were sim­pler times and the po­lit­i­cal stakes weren’t that big. Like, KB lead­ers didn’t end up be­com­ing ex-of­fi­cio mem­bers of city or mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils. So no­body felt the need to en­sure that a fa­vored bet in the KB polls would win by buy­ing votes. While Noy Jesse was the one who formed our slate, there was noth­ing much he did af­ter that.

I re­mem­ber us wear­ing t-shirts with our names printed on them and do­ing the rounds of the barangays sans fan­fare. I could not even re­mem­ber now if bal­lots were printed for the vot­ers. Mean­ing that the po­lit­i­cal ex­er­cise was very ba­sic. Of course, we won, with me gar­ner­ing the largest num­ber of votes among the bets for KB coun­cilor.

I didn’t get to ex­pe­ri­ence the act of gov­er­nance be­cause I drifted away from barangay youth af­fairs and was in­stead sucked into stu­dent ac­tivism. Noel did that and when he was al­ready too old for the KB plunged into barangay pol­i­tics, first win­ning a barangay coun­cil seat be­fore be­com­ing barangay cap­tain no­tably dur­ing those times when Noy Jesse left the barangay and be­came Cebu City coun­cilor (he even had a short stint as vice mayor). Noel him­self ended up in the City Coun­cil him­self.

I am writ­ing about pol­i­tics be­cause wannabes have started troop­ing to Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions (Com­elec) of­fices yes­ter­day to file their cer­tifi­cates of can­di­dacy for the na­tional and lo­cal elec­tions in May next year. Wannabes in­clude first timers, re­elec­tion­ists and re­turnee politi­cians. They also in­clude the am­bi­tious and overly am­bi­tious, and the ”dunay K” and “walay K.”

Had I not be­come an ac­tivist, I may have ended up be­com­ing a politi­cian like Noel. Of all my sib­lings, I was the only one who in­her­ited my fa­ther’s pas­sion for pol­i­tics. My fa­ther once ran for barangay cap­tain against Noy Jesse, his can­di­dacy propped up by my ac­tivist friends. He lost. His last run was for barangay coun­cilor a few months be­fore he died. He lost again.

I would say with cer­tainty now that I am not re­ally cut to be a politi­cian. I don’t have the tem­per­a­ment for it. My pref­er­ence has al­ways been to lead a pri­vate life. But there are those who are ei­ther fit to lead and who love to serve the gov­ern­ment or are not fit to lead but love to run for an elec­tive post. They are the ones who are trick­ling into Com­elec of­fices.

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