Laoag: Conjugal City

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Laoagueños saw a number of firsts in the recently concluded local elections. First time Fariñases clash. First time a woman was elected mayor. First time the city is ruled by a wife-and-husband tandem.

Roger, a full-blooded Fariñas, lost to Chevylle, a Fariñas only by affinity, in the mayoralty race. She is wife of Roger’s nephew, three-term mayor Michael, who also won as vice mayor. During the campaign, Roger positioned himself as an anti-graft crusader by exposing anomalies and excesses allegedly committed by the couple. In campaign rallies and media interviews, he presented documentary evidence apparently showing ill-gotten wealth–foremost of which is an P80-M house–and mismanagement of the city’s coffers.

Naturally, Michael and Chevylle denied these allegations, but without delving into sufficient details. They basically just let Roger spill whatever beans he had at hand. The couple focused on the basics: press as much flesh as they could, solidify their hold on barangay captains, and intensify their exposure in the various forms of media.

But if Chevylle and Michael were indeed corrupt as Roger claimed, why the overwhelming win? Are Ilocanos really ready for negative campaigning? Personally, I gave value to what Roger did: raise issues that we normally would not have any chance to learn about and probe into. Many people, however, took it against the self-styled crusader. They dismissed everything he was saying as “pamerperdi” (paninira). Indeed, exposés made during the campaign period bear lesser credence than usual, and this is because the crusader himself is bent to benefit from whatever damage his revelations could possibly inflict his opponent. Why didn’t he speak about all those before? Why did he keep mum? Roger argues that he came to know about those alleged shenanigans only recently. Hmmm… Let us, dear karikna, give him doubt’s benefit while carefully watching his next steps. What will Roger do now? Where does he go from here? Continue reading “Laoag: Conjugal City”


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Herdy Yumul

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