EDITORIAL: Underdog Lovers
With the 2022 elections already in sight, taking into account the voting mood of the voters is not ill timed. We can start with Camarines Sur. The biblical passage about David and Goliath may find political romanticism inspiring.
Let us start with the gubernatorial race between the late ex-Governor Juan F. Triviño and the late Apolonio J. Maleniza, which many considered had an unbelievable outcome.
It will be recalled that at that time incumbent Governor Triviño was at the height of his power and popularity. In terms of political machinery, the Nacionalista Party was practically in full control of the political atmosphere in Camarines Sur. He was perceived to be unbeatable.
Then from nowhere the virtually unknown Apolonio J. Maleniza of the then disorganized Liberal Party popped out as the challenger, practically without funds and political machinery. He waged his campaign almost like a beggar and took commuter vehicles to effect his campaign, distributing his hand bills right inside public transport vehicles. Triviño meantime took lightly Maleniza and even had time to play mahjong at the height of the campaign period. Maleniza posted a landslide victory.
The next episode about the gubernatorial race was between the then incumbent Governor Armando Cledera whose political and organizational machinery was perceived to be impregnable. Then the late Governor Felix O. Alfelor Sr., challenged his incumbency and waged a ragtag campaign. The rest is history.
Alfelor posted a landslide victory together with Rolando Andaya Sr., as his vice-governor who won handily against Jose Fuentebella III, son of the late Ambassador Jose Fuentebella. How it came to happen is a big enigma. Some say it was because Cledera lost the critical support of the Fuentebella camp. But then how could it happen that a member of the Fuentebella clan lost heavily to Andaya, who at that time was a virtual unknown?
The third is the gubernatorial contest between ex-Governor Luis R. Villafuerte (LRV) and the late Governor Jose Bulaong, who at that time was a vice governor. LRV took a beating from Bulaong. In fact in the return match between LRV and Bulaong, the latter would have won had he not been silently suffering from a deadly illness (cancer), which only very few knew about. Bulaong launched his campaign almost blind already but he kept it a secret.
There is a very clear pattern in the electoral mood of Camarines Sur voters. They go for the underdog. In plain they are underdog lovers. Could it be ripe for a repeat? Or are the Camarines Sur electorates now overdue to wake up to situational realities as they assert the power of the ballot against political dynasties.
The opposition will find it easy in recruiting a Naga City resident to aspire for provincial offices, given that although qualified voters of the City of Naga are not entitled to vote in any election of provincial governor and members of provincial board, yet, they can be still be candidates for any provincial offices.
Further, such qualified voters can be a candidate for any provincial offices (R.A No. 305, An Act creating the City of Naga, Article XV, Section 89 (Transitory Provision), approved on June 18, 1948). Until now R.A No. 305, Section 89 remains in full force and effect.
The recruitment field is very wide and open for Nagueños aspiring for provincial offices. The time for recruitment is still more than sufficient. Ideally, however, a Nagueño who traces roots from any Camarines Sur town preferably with large voting potentials may be a good choice.