• Political drama in Cebu


    To see print after years of hiatus is like putting a tortoise back to the sea.

    I learned to love the pen before I learned to love the mic. My struggle for syntax came before my seemingly endless struggle to learn the right pronunciation of Filipino words. Regardless, I am proud to say I am a modern day journalist with balls.

    I don’t want to be a stranger to readers so I opted to dedicate half of my maiden issue to introduce myself.

    I am a true blue Cebuano, Bosconian by heart, Jesuit by mind and Freudian by hand. I entered the seminary in college and studied 2 majors— Mass Communication and Philosophy. Sooner, I became active in the student council and began to question if priesthood was my real vocation.

    God really answers queries in a very mysterious way— I was kicked out from the seminary because of my alleged rebellious tendencies. At first, I thought God turned His back against me. Later did I know that it was the advent of my new vocation – in the media.

    I did not become a priest. I do not have the pulpit but I have radio, and now a newspaper, to say my piece. I may not have parishioners to listen to my sermon but I have loyal listeners (and hopefully readers) who listen to the product of my meditation on issues of the day.

    I am not an ordained priest but I am ordained in another mission— a mission to keep my listeners,now including readers,informed to help make their own intelligent judgment on issues affecting their interests, including issues affecting local political climate. Friends, welcome to the Countryside.

    * * *

    Let me start in my hometown Cebu.
    Local politicians are in panic mode, buying airtime, even renting the whole operations of AM radio stations in the locality. Former Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, now Cebu 3rd district representative,is negotiating for the takeover of El Nuevo BantayRadyo owned by Sarraga Integrating and Management Broadcasting Network (SIAM). SIAM is now operated by one of Garcia’s political nemesis, the children of former vice governor Gregorio Sanchez. The heirs allegedly lost interest in the station, causing them to run flat financially after the death of the Sanchez patriarch.

    Here’s the catch: businesswoman Mariquita Salimbangon is negotiating with SIAM. Mariquita is the sister of Cebu 4th District Representative Benhur Salimbangon, an ally of Garcia. It is no secret, however, that Mariquita is just a dummy of Garcia.

    Knowing this, another political rival of the Garcias and the Salimbangons- the Martinez’ surreptitiously sought the help of former senator, now Toledo City Mayor and a close friend to SIAM management, Sonny Osmena, to get the station.

    Former 4thDistrict Representative Celestino ‘Junie’ Martinez, Jr. owns and operates local radio station DYCM, with permit to operate in the city still pending despite the presence of his son, lawyer Carlo Jose, in the National Telecommunication Commission as Deputy Commissioner. Reportedly, the deputy commissioner cannot have it done for two reasons: one, NTC will collegially decide; two, Martinez earned the ire of his fellow commissioners for being intellectually haughty. DYCM operates using only test broadcast permit for almost a year now.

    The older Martinez is a strategist and is known to have the ability to calculate his political fate with tiny margin of error. If Garcia will operate BantayRadyo and then Martinez will lose DYCM, his political machinery will turn a downward spiral. But, if the ball will be on their court, he may have both stations, making his political arm stronger.

    * * *

    President B.S. Aquino spent the Labor Day in Cebu with apparent political drama. His first itinerary was supposedly to meet the local officials of Cebu City and some local groups. However, flimsy as it may sound, he cancelled it last minute after realizing Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama belongs to UNA. He then went to Naga City, 45 minutes late, to assess and observe the power supply problems at the Korean Electric Power Plant (KEPCO). He concluded his provincial sortie by gracing the P2 Billion worth University of Cebu Medical Center in Mandaue.

    President Aquino went from south of Cebu to north, deliberately snubbing Cebu City. I recall a similar (or maybe worse) incident after the 2013 earthquake, which ruined the Cebu City Medical Center. Aquino went to the province to inspect the extent of the damage but he snubbed the hospital which had the worst damage compared to other government-owned establishments. For sins of political affiliation, Cebu City residents until this date, are housing their patients in a makeshift hospital inside the DILG Fire Station, getting nothing from the national government.

    Well, should I say Cebu City residents must endure the apparent neglect from the president for the latter’s remaining days in office? Meantime, they hope VP Binay will come to their rescue. Hmmm…impossible, amigo!

    Catch me live on weekdays at DZRH 6:00-7:30PM or you can reach me at npadilla79@gmail.com


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    1. Congratulations sir for your return. Except for Mr Bobit Avila who writes about Cebu once in a while, but rarely about politics, I hope you will continue to update us Cebuano readers about Cebu politics. Even if only half a column like now. I was very surprised to learn about the developments you just mentioned, which I found very interesting. We need intelligent and educated political commentstors like you. I wonder if your program is in one of the radio stations you mentioned because I would be interested to listen.

    2. Filomer Lin on

      If healthcare is not the priority of this government even just building the Cebu City Medical Center into a premier gov’t hospital because governments in Singapore and Hongkong do that for their citizens then who will help us Visayans. Take note that the national budget for 2015 is at P 2.6 trillion. Even if you get P 2 billion from the budget for a new hospital, Cebu the queen city of the south, the 2nd most progressive and developed city in the Philippines deserves it or even more. Maybe Senator Osmena can endorse Cebu’s problem to the president because they are very close. By 2016, the national budget will be P 3 trillion and for now the Cebu fire station is also the Cebu City Medical Center, there seems to be no concern in helping us Visayans coming from Manila, why?