THUNDER bolts and lightings are the fare when the titans clash. In an unexpected incident a few days ago, two political titans in Camarines Sur---First District Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. and Second District Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte--- engaged in a verbal fight that immediately went viral in the social media. The noise and fury reached the national television networks a day after it went viral.
Ironically, Nonoy and LRay are both outside of their places when they clashed over allegations of harassment that took place in the Third District of the province. The area where the incident happened is not even their district. Of course, both congressmen could assert their positions being elective officials to meddle on the affairs outside of their districts. Why not? Especially if it concerns public welfare and is a matter of life and death. On jurisdiction, it could have been the concern of Camarines Sur Gov. Miguel “Migz” Luis Villafuerte since the expropriation of the land covered by the Naga Airport Development Project is being implemented by the provincial government. It is also under the jurisdiction of Pili Mayor Tomas Bongalonta since it is his constituents who are affected by the project and by the alleged harassment.
When the dusts settled, after the verbal fight between Nonoy and LRay, the affected families who will be forced to vacate their homes and farms are left behind in uncertainty. It is actually the issue of development and sustainable resettlement of affected families who complain of pittance price of P8 per square meters of their lots, as they will be satisfied if relocated to a place where they continue their livelihood by farming.
The politics of the verbal tussle between Nonoy and LRay may not be less obvious since it shocked the viewers with questions like how in this world this could happen?
It was outrageous to watch Nonoy warning one member of Sagip Kalikasan Task Force with this line “Aabangan kita pare”, after the second district congressman pinned him by his arms. It’s an obvious show of raw anger against an adversary that defies decency expected of an elective official. But who cares about decency when protocols and ethical standards are turned upside down nowadays. Nonoy went out of his way to represent the farming families affected by airport development project.
It is unfortunate that after decades in public service, the verbal fight caught on the video has changed the public’s impression of Nonoy. Looking back, the first district of Camarines Sur has not experienced political violence under the congressional oversight of Nonoy, except for insurgency-related ones.
Under the administration of the Villafuertes, LRay as Camarines Sur governor for nine years and then Migz taking over the reign of his father in the fifth year now, violent incidents involving the Sagip Kalikasan Task Force had hogged headlines. The task force is a provincial government-created team of enforcers under the Office of the Governor. The celebrated one was the massacre of small-scale miners in Barangay Gata in the peninsular town of Caramoan. Another one was the incident of alleged harassment against settlers in one of the islands in Caramoan that a priest exposed in a television interview.
Among the Bicolanos, the people of Camarines Sur are the living witnesses of the track record of Nonoy and LRay, and in terms of who among the two has the capability to use violence on political and developmental issues remains to be seen.
But the people of Camarines Sur must be aware of the portents of things to come should circumstances escalate the antagonism between Nonoy and LRay as the midterm elections draw near. At all costs, the people of Camarines Sur must stand united against political violence at all times. Lest, the collateral damage may be more tragic than the would-be losers in the upcoming elections, the latter being the reason why men of lesser character are turning mad.