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After 31 Years

Oh, my much loved monument has gotten a crack. (Not that I’m considering the new opposition councilor some sort of “flaw”. I think and hope that he’ll do good in city hall.) What I’m trying to say is… that having grown up in and around Naga, I have long held with pride that the local government has been completely swept with unity, without or little internal inconsistencies. Yes, some unbelievers may call it a textbook example of oligarchic monopoly; but it is one singularity that as the Wikipedia page goes, “dramatically improved stakeholdership and people participation in governance, in the process restoring Naga to its preeminent position as the premier city of Bicol Region.” ( ) Now, I feel like I’m holding up my Ming Dynasty vase and looking at a crack at the bottom. Oh well, for so long, it stayed strong and stable from those who dared to break it; and now, it has a little dent. But I could still put it on display and hold it with pride for the nation and the world to see. I guess, i should be grateful that it held on strong and managed to get a little discoloration. Well, I actually am very grateful and relieved because for a moment there, I thought that there could be some possibility of the end of it all. For some time, I was afraid that the growing popularity of the opposing party would be an efficacious threat. I let out a sigh of relief that it had not. But they scored a first indentation on my vase. I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. It has been a good 31 years (heck, that’s almost a quarter of a century) since then mayoral candidate Jess Robredo was going around with Uncle Jun Lavadia giving away pancit canton packs (no, not the small Lucky Me packs, the big Marca Pili ones. Sorry, millennials, you probably don’t know that.). For the first time in 31 years, Ubos kung Ubos, Gabos kung Gabos was barred from claiming that slogan.

Now, maybe this Ming dynasty vase is still as good. It still looks as majestic. Maybe I’ll just turn it in such a way that the crack doesn’t show. No, seriously, maybe in this generation, we don’t really need the complete ticket to maintain and mend stakeholdership and people participation in governance and so much more. Maybe it’s not so much a dent on my vase. Maybe it’s actually a dash of pepper to season my tasty bowl of kinalas. Maybe we don’t really need the whole slate to advance the preeminent position as a premier city of a region. Maybe this is not bad after all.

On the other hand, it is in this battle that I found myself at the edge of my seat, curling my toes, holding my breath and genuinely worried that this time, perhaps, Thanos might indeed knock down the Avengers. In the past clashes, we were very confident. We would laugh it off. Even the opposing parties would openly admit the obvious impending results. The team had faced challengers, unbelievers, former allies, but had always had the buoyancy to stay afloat, the assurance to stand unscathed when the dust and smoke settle. But this time, it seems that the Captain has gone to rest; Tony has gone to fight other battles; and Thor has used up his time. Coincidentally, at the same time, Thanos seemed to have collected many of the stones that he needed to score a victory.

I was anxious. Young minds were being corrupted to perceiving that receiving a thousand bucks from a candidate is good and practical. Some citizens were thrilled with the strength of a Titan. Some of the electors were gravitated to the promise of change. Change? Why do we need change in the first place? I reasoned that the city has sailed ever so smoothly for decades; maybe not just smoothly but progressively even. Perhaps a new captain have the potential to deliver change. But the old and seasoned crew have the benefit of experience and certainty to keep the ship on the course that it had gone through more probably than a novel/novice captain. Yes, perhaps, he would be a good skipper. That remains to be proven. However, the old crew had navigated through and around calm and chaos and have gotten the vessel through. Yes, maybe a new commander could do it better. But the probability of the old crew getting us through is simply far higher than this new applicant, in all due fairness to him, and I am so glad you didn’t let him in.

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1

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