New level of maturity in Sorsogon politics?
On hand, with me, is the July 4, recent issue of the Bicol Mail, published in Naga City, “Bicolandia’s Only Regional Newspaper”; and the August 7, issue of SORSOGON TODAY, touting its 40th Year of Continues Publication, (Jan 10, 1977 – Jan 10, 2017).Both in fact are long lasting publications in the Bicol region, as their respective mastheads show.
The July 4, issue of the BICOL MAIL, carried this news item, datelined Sorsogon City, under the headline: “Chiz leads Sorsogon execs inaugural rites,” which reported that Escudero, in his inaugural address, rallied local officials under the mantra – “Lambang Sorsoganon Magdanon,” to work together harmoniously and set aside political differences for the benefit of the people and the province, stressing the need for a united front for the province – urging the vanquished in the recent electoral exercise to join them in pushing for the progress and development of the province which had long been neglected.
Significantly, the August 7, issue of Sorsogon Today, carried this front page news item, headlined – “Bobet Lee visits Chiz at Capitol”, - noting that “A month after stepping down the Provincial Government, former Gov. Bobet Lee Rodrigueza dropped by at the Capitol to pay a courtesy visit to incumbent Gov. Francis “Chiz” Escudero on the afternoon of July 30.”
The news item, quoted former Gov. Bobet Lee thus – “As I’ve said, politics should only be 45 days. We did not even discuss politics. I merely extended hands, even offered my help for the coming Kasanggayahan Festival come October.”
The Sorsogon Today August 7 issue further noted that – “The simple courtesy call was followed by a toast at the Rompeolas” (this is a part of the old pier, now a popular place for socialization in Sorsogon City, among Sorsoguenos – supplied by the author), – which Sorsogon Today aptly noted as – “a testament that Bobet was also welcomed by Governor Escudero” as some keen observers said.
(Not long ago, political warring blocs in Sorsogon, would shoot it out at the drop of a hat. One time, Governor Juan Frivaldo was ambushed a few kilometers from the Capitol site, seriously injuring him and killing one of his constabulary escorts. Much earlier, an incumbent vice mayor of Bulan (Sorsogon’s premier town) was shot dead by a political rival.)
As one who values social harmony and unity, vital to community building, essential to nation building, this 90 year old Sorsoganon cannot just be unmindful of this developing narrative in Sorsogon politics. Have we reached a new level of political maturity? The actuation of both Chiz Escudero and Bobet Lee brings in fresh and gentler winds in Sorsogon’s political climate, amid what could have been head winds after a political storm that took place last May.
Along this line, three organizations in Sorsogon, namely Tomasinong Bicolano (U.S.T. Alumni) Sorsogon Chapter, led by ret. Judge Edmundo H. Escalante, the Sorsogon Medical Society, headed by Dr. Rolando E. Dealca and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Sorsogon Chapter, led by ret. Judge Frank E. Lobrigo and Atty. Joel Fulguerras, VP, IBP Sorsogon Chapter, are spearheading the organization of a Sorsogon Cultural Society, proposed to be headed by newly elected Governor, Chiz Escudero,(who chaired the Senate Committee on Arts, Culture and Education, while a Senator), perhaps in tandem with former Governor Bobet Lee, a music lover himself. The suggested Sorsogon Cultural Society aims, for its main purpose, the formation of a Sorsogon Symphony Orchestra, a Sorsogon Choral Society, and a Sorsogon Youth Orchestra to bring about “Maogmang Sorsogon,” and as part of the tourism come on program in Sorsogon. Needless to mention, the members of these three organizations believe in the unifying and inspiring power of music.
Disclosure/Transparency: the author, Judge Edmundo Escalante, wishes to let it be known that in good or bad weather, he is a loyal friend of former Gov. Raul Lee; just the same he is also proud to say that his father, Esteban Encinas Escalante, former Mayor of Gubat, Sorsogon and nephew of five termer, undefeated Congressman Salvador Encinas, was a contemporary of Salvador Escudero, when he was also Mayor of Casiguran, Sorsogon; and that subsequently when the old Salvador Escudero ruled as Governor of Sorsogon, his contemporary, former Mayor Esteban Escalante was his political lieutenant in the Capitol.
Gov. Chiz Escudero now occupies the Governorship of Sorsogon once held by his great grandfather, Salvador Escudero, patriarch of the Escudero dynasty. Chiz is the youngest direct line scion of the Escudero dynasty, even as Bobet Lee is also the youngest scion of the Lee dynasty, whose patriarch is former Gov. Raul Lee – to round up a bit of political history in Sorsogon.