Eloquent Rudy, idealistic Kris, and confused Atong

(L-R) Rudy Fariñas, Kris Ablan, and Atong Peralta photos by Czaryna Zai Mari

I WANTED Teteng Sales to be in the forum sponsored by student journalists of the Divine Word College of Laoag last Feb. 24. The former Pagudpud mayor, who claims he won the congressional race in 2007 over incumbent Roque Ablan Jr., intrigues me. I know so little about his position on issues, and I wanted to validate the general impression that he is an intellectual lightweight.

Apparently, however, he ignored the invitation to the event, the first congressional forum to happen in the province after the filing of certificates of candidacy. According to organizers, Teteng’s camp received the letter of invitation, and no less than his wife Maja was informed of the undertaking, but that they never sent a word, which is worse than begging off.

Former Sarrat Mayor Chito Ruiz was also unable to attend as he was in Manila, but his staff took time to convey the candidate’s regrets.

There was another congressional forum that was supposed to transpire last Feb. 26, the Anti-Kadiri Movement’s Congressional Hour. It was postponed, however, because Gibo’s visit to the province on that day made some personalities unavailable. Leaders of this anti-trapo movement say Teteng has also been ignored them.

This is sad, dear karikna, because candidates owe it to us, the voting public, to explain their stands on matters of public concern. Teteng’s popularity in the past was mainly due to the people’s tiredness of the old Ablan, a traditional politician who has been a fixture in the local political scene for decades. I say this will no longer be enough political capital for Teteng as he now faces four other candidates: Ruiz, Former Congressman/Governor Rudy Fariñas, Board Member Atong Peralta, and Ablan’s son Kris.

Rudy Fariñas was in his usual element. He was eloquent and sharp, an observation shared by Prof. Fides Bitanga, forum moderator. Continue reading “Eloquent Rudy, idealistic Kris, and confused Atong”

Congressional Forum unfolds

THE WILLIAMITE, official publication of Divine Word College of Laoag (DWCL), is holding a congressional forum for contenders in the first district on Feb. 24, Wednesday.  All five candidates—Kris Ablan, Rudy Fariñas, Atong Peralta, Chito Ruiz, and Teteng Sales are expected to participate in this event that will give student leaders, student journalists, professors from different universities in the province, representatives from various sectors, and the general public a chance to discuss salient issues with the contenders.

Only 500 persons can be accommodated at the venue, the newly-opened St. Joseph’s Audtorium at DWCL, so better to make seat reservations should you decide to come.  Contact Jaime Lao, The Williamite’s editor in chief at 09293051987.

Hope you could come, dear karikna, but, if you couldn’t, what questions would you have wanted to ask the candidates?

Michael Keon’s perfect script …and other political tidbits

(This column appears in The Ilocos Times this week.  I quoted some of your comments posted here in this blog so a wider readership can partake in your wisdom.  Keep ’em coming, dear karikna.)

WHOEVER HELPED Governor Michael Marcos Keon (MMK) draft the speech he delivered in his press conference, Feb. 8, must be commended.

First off, it seemed spontaneous.  “Let me speak from my heart,” he said.  And the piece did sound sincere.  As a speechwriter myself, however, I know it was carefully crafted and executed.

He began by relating the series of events that led to his running for reelection as governor opposite his cousin Imee Marcos.  He gave his story, his version of the story, which is very much different from what I heard from Imee in an interview she gave your karikna a couple of weeks back.

Anyway, why they both decided to run does not interest me much.  It’s given, they are both running.  Period.  It’s time to move on.

The best part came when MMK said that although this battle is the hardest one he ever had to face, he will carry on because he is running not as much for winning as it is for finding personal closure.  “I do not want to spend the rest of my life asking myself what the result would have been had I run,” he said, on a very pensive note.

He cast no stones on the person of anyone, and tackled the issues on the level of reason.

How could you, dear karikna, go against a man who is searching for answers in life, and who is holding on to his dignity?

The press conference, broadcast on cable television, was held immediately after Keon’s allies at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan lost the vote on the issue of Tobacco Excise Tax monetization.  Such event provided a very good backdrop to the presscon.  Emotions were high, and the losers were expecting  public sympathy.

The governor’s two children from Australia were there, and so were a number of mayors, to show solid support for MMK.


IMEE is not at all bothered that most of the mayors throw their support to her political opponent.

“Good leadership is not about making the mayors happy.  It’s about making the people happy by serving their interests well,” she said.

Besides, she is confident that some mayors will eventually cross the fence.  “They are just waiting for the right time.”  She explains that these mayors do not want to have their projects derailed and so they are sticking it out with the governor, but only in the meantime.

Let’s see.  As with the past, Balimbing is the fruit of the season. Continue reading “Michael Keon’s perfect script …and other political tidbits”

Politicos should learn from this labandera’s son

Supporters take dela Cruz to a 'victory ride'

HE HAD NO party, no posters, no leaflets, but Jonas Paul B. dela Cruz, a third year Civil engineering student, grabbed an overwhelming win over his three rivals in the Central Student Council (CSC) presidential race at MMSU.

Garnering around one half of the near seven thousand total votes cast in the CSC elections held Feb. 4, Dela Cruz reigned the tabulation boards in most precincts. Aside from his landslide victory at the College of Engineering, his home, where he obtained seventy six percent of the votes, he also won big in other colleges and units.

Seventy-five percent of the total population participated in the polls considered a breakthrough in the history of campus politics for having the most number of political parties and candidates vying for various posts.

Dela Cruz’ closest rival, Bryan A. Corpuz of The 2010 Party, got a 25-percent share of the votes. Gevy Ann R. Villanueva of Tindig MMSU and Reynald Theodore C. Teodoro of Anak ng MMSU had 15 and 12 percent, respectively.

Overwhelmed, Dela Cruz cannot believe the results. He relates that when he filed his candidacy as an independent, some people dismissed him as a nuisance candidate. He said he pursued his candidacy anyway because “students deserve an alternative to politics-as-usual.”

Dela Cruz instantly rose from obscurity to fame when he delivered very heartwarming speeches at campaign rallies. He began by talking about his life, which some listeners described as “pang-Maala-ala mo kaya,” referring to a popular true-to-life drama show on television. Continue reading “Politicos should learn from this labandera’s son”

Fallacies Galore

LOCAL JOURNALISTS swear they have not seen debates as highly charged as the spectacle they witnessed at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) recently.

Our provincial dads were arguing on the release of the province’s P254-million share in the P5.81-billlion tobacco excise tax due to tobacco-producing provinces.

This has been highly discussed in the news, so I will no longer delve into painstaking details, but allow me, dear karikna, to present the primary issue, which is: should Ilocos Norte participate in the Tobacco Excise Tax Monetization Program (TEMP) which would allow the province to get its share in lump sum, or should it subscribe to long-term installments, sans deductions? Under TEMP, we will be able to get our piece of the pie, but less 31.5% in bank interests and consultancy fees. Under the second option, we get almost the full amount.

Should the province participate in the TEMP, an SP resolution had to be passed to that effect. This is where the debates transpired. I know you understand why I am interested on this. I am a Philosophy teacher, and coach, too, of university debate teams. Add to that the fact that I am also a dutiful taxpayer.

One thing to be watchful for in debates are fallacies, which, as we have learned in our Logic classes, are products of convoluted reason. Here, I listed down some fallacies which were committed both by the SP members, and those who have spoken about the issue in media.

First in my list is False Dilemma. Also called Black and White Fallacy, this operates by effacing the various alternatives in between two extreme choices in a particular issue. Thus, the various gradation of gray in between black and white are concealed giving us only two alternatives, black and white.

Such is committed when one says, “either you approve the TEMP resolution or you deprive farmers their rightful share.” But, of course, there are alternatives.

I do not believe that any SP member is really against the welfare of farmers, and nobody is saying that we should not get the money. The questions are: in what manner?, and how much?

If the SP avails of TEMP in toto and as is, farmers will lose around one third of the total amount due them. They will be charged exorbitant fees for money they have already earned. Any self-respecting banker will say that the bank interest of 26 percent and the consultancy fee of 5.5 percent are just too high.

With TEMP approved as it is, farmers stand to lose around P80-million. That’s a big loss, very big loss. That means P80-million less government support to agricultural infrastructure and equipment, and to human resource development.

If paying interest is inevitable, can we not, at least, bring it down? Fifteen percent, the opposition says, would have been tolerable.

“But all others have agreed to it, why shouldn’t we?,” ask people who commit the Bandwagon Fallacy. Reportedly, Ilocos Sur, Abra, and La Union have already approved the TEMP, so proponents at the Ilocos Norte SP say we have to follow their lead, less we be left out. But, if we adopt this line, should we even need our own SP, why don’t we just wait for other LGUs to decide and just adopt whatever is the consensus? Continue reading “Fallacies Galore”