Del­i­cadeza is such a lonely word

Am I Run­ning Again

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Front Page - BY TITO MORA

hile abroad, I bumped into a friend who in­tro­duced me to his com­pan­ions. And upon hear­ing my name, one of them, a busi­ness­man, re­marked that “It must be quiet now in CDO as you are here.” We all laughed and af­ter ex­chang­ing a few pleas­antries, we said our good­byes. Upon my re­turn, that same busi­ness­man called to con­dole over the death of my fa­ther-in-law and to ask if we can meet up for din­ner that day. But since we al­ready have din­ner plans, he sug­gested that we meet even for cof­fee and so I agreed. That was April 17, 2012.

That meet­ing over cof­fee re­sulted in a din­ner a few days af­ter at his home with Gov­er­nor Moreno, who came late with his bas­ket­ball play­ers. And so it was that night that the Gov­er­nor told me that he has se­cured his fam­ily’s bless­ing to run for Mayor against the in­cum­bent whom I had led to be re­moved, al­beit un­suc­cess­fully, through the re­call sig­na­ture cam­paign.

I did not know much of the Gov­er­nor. We do go to the same gym. I watched him on TV dur­ing the im­peach­ment trial against then Pres­i­dent Estrada. We were to­gether for a day dur­ing the cam­paign for Sen­a­tor, and now de­ceased Joker Ar­royo. Joker is a fra­ter­nity brother and they were to­gether as part of the prose­cu­tion team dur­ing the im­peach­ment trial. Though I am quite close to some of his re­la­tions, that is all I knew of him. While lis­ten­ing to his story, at the back of my mind I won­dered what was the real rea­son why he did not agree to chal­lenge Mayor Emano at that point when we were peak­ing with our sig­na­ture drive.

He then asked me to run with him. He said that I was the first one he had in­vited and that made me feel spe­cial. He said that he ad­mired my courage for stand­ing up to the most pow­er­ful politi­cian in the re­gion, and that was flat­ter­ing. But I was more in­ter­ested on why he was run­ning and what sort of a man he is. Be­sides, I was al­ready com­fort­able with the progress we were hav­ing with our ad­vo­cacy on the en­vi­ron­ment and good gov­er­nance. And now that there was a po­lit­i­cal stal­wart who will face up to the chal­lenge for change then the elec­toral process was good enough. I was con­tent in my place as a pri­vate cit­i­zen. I asked for time to con­sult and re­flect. But a de­ci­sion had to be made. I called for a spe­cial meet­ing a few days af­ter, of Save CDO Now Move­ment, where I asked to be re­lieved as Chair­man. Even though I have not ac­cepted the of­fer, I felt that it would not be right to per­form my role, be­ing quoted, seen and heard on me­dia, with a tinge of po­lit­i­cal color, cloud­ing, what to me is a prin­ci­pled ad­vo­cacy. The Board un­der­stood and let me go. I asked my wife, chil­dren, fam­ily and friends. I asked for spir­i­tual guid­ance and prayers from the re­li­gious. I was afraid of be­ing thrust into a world deep in cor­rup­tion and de­ceit. The sig­na­ture cam­paign led me to work with peo­ple I have never worked be­fore and if I did ac­cept, there will be more lies and de­cep­tion, com­ing straight to my fam­ily and home. And so I asked,what for? In­ten­tion is very im­por­tant. In­tent can make an act crim­i­nal. Months passed and soon, I heard of names be­ing floated and an­nounced as part of the party of Gov­er­nor Moreno. Still, I could not de­cide.

Un­til I heard out­go­ing Gov­er­nor Moreno speak be­fore the crowd, “Vice-Gov­er­nor Nor­ris Ba­biera will be a bet­ter gov­er­nor than I am”. This was dur­ing the last State of the Prov­ince ad­dress of the out­go­ing lead­er­ship of the prov­ince. That state­ment moved me to ac­cept the of­fer to run for coun­cilor and be part of the chal­lenge against the in­cum­bent. Maybe I was naive, but I found that pub­lic state­ment as a re­flec­tion of the man’s hu­mil­ity. For most, maybe if not all politi­cians, are of the in­se­cure kind. With forked tongues they can ad­mire and praise, with a straight face, per­sons whom they truly de­test. Which is what was ex­plained to the fra­ter­nity by the fam­ily of the late Sen­a­tor Joker Ar­royo. One of his dy­ing wish was not to have any cer­e­mony, ser­vice nor rites upon his death. He did not rel­ish be­ing ex­tolled for his virtues by men and women with forked tongues. Politi­cians who are nice but fake and rot­ten to the core. Those were my own words of course, but Sen­a­tor Joker got his wish and sim­ply faded away.


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