Simply Unbelievable

March 19th, 2012 · No Comments


It was the Bicol Inc’s turn to have their annual general meeting and elections.  The organization prides itself as moving the seat of power on a fair rotational basis among the Bicol provinces.  This year, after doing a complete round of all the provinces, it was Albay’s turn.  And vying for the two representative seats of Albay were candidates Ross Iglesia, Neria Soliman, Josie Musa and Gil Bellarmino.  For the winner, it was also an opportunity to be the head honcho for Bicol Inc. this year.

But already there was something cooking.  It was hot and spicy but nothing as palatable as the Bicol Express.  Musa’s 22 new member recruits had just been disqualified by the Comelec team headed by Jun Relunia for failure to comply with the eligibility requirement by last December.   

The candidates took their places and everything seemed to go on smoothly.  The candidates took their turns in delivering their campaign speeches. The voting proceeded peacefully, and then the counting began.  Just as Jun Relunia, the election officer for the day was about to announce the winners – Mr. Ross Iglesia (67 votes), Neria Soliman (37 votes), Ms. Musa who got only 29 votes waved her hand frantically, her eyes roamed anxiously around the room in search of allies, her head kept tilting to one side, and she stood up and declared that she was protesting the election results based on the disqualification of her enlisted recruits.

As an outsider, it was obvious Ms. Musa had hoped to win.  Having been the vice chairperson of Bicol Inc. last year, she had hoped to inherit the chairmanship by natural succession which of course is not the case.   Where on earth did she get that?  But amusingly, Musa had sat there quietly and patiently listening to the counting.  It was only after she had lost the seat that she decided to protest.  According to Ms. Musa, she had protested from the start.  But why then did she go through her election speech if she was in protest.  Odd I thought.

Since Musa protested, the decision to re-accept the disqualified members was then placed to the general assembly.  The acceptance of the 22 questionable members who all voted in absentia inflated her 29 votes to 59 and thus deposing the Ms Neria off her second post but was not enough to knock off Iglesia. And when everybody had gone home, it was Ms. Soliman’s turn to protest against the declared results but who of course had more reason to complain than Musa.

The question is why would Musa insist on having her recruits counted (most of which are comprised by her family, I may add) when she knew she had submitted the list of new members only in February, instead of three months prior to the AGM as required.  In the absence of proof who is to say when the forms were actually filled in.

Undoubtedly, Iglesia is definitely in and since he got the most votes, would it be presumptuous of me to say he takes on the chairperson for 2012?  Or will someone pull out another magic trick?


Sad to see that the Bicol Inc. has not been immune to the virus that has plagued most of the community organisations at election time.  People bond together based on the “kakilala” and “hakot” systems.   Emotions run high and all logic fly out the window.  The best candidate is usually not the best candidate.  Members are re-born and re-appear just in the nick of time to cast their ballots.  People have a say even when they are absolutely misinformed. 

I have witnessed so many of these scenarios though nothing of course would ever compare to Ruben Amores’ 88-98 election win in 2007 and Cen Amores’ fiery display of emotions after losing to Collado in 2010.

Maybe the loser could get a free trip aboard the Bicol express? That could be fun.


Words just ain’t Words

In another unbelievable scenario, fortunately or unfortunately, I so happen to have gotten hold of a copy of the February issue of the Philippine Community Herald.  On the front page was PCC-NSW election story carrying Ms. Zaragoza’s byline.  As I read through it, I realized that I could recite the words by heart.  For an instant,  I thought I was experiencing a déjà vu or it was some kind of divine intervention channeling the words through me, or my paranormal skills had been heightened?  But lo and behold,  it was nothing quite so mystic.  These were my words taken from a profile/fact sheet that I had written for PCC last year. 

As luck would have it, I bumped into Ms. Zaragoza at an event a few days after.  She saw no wrong and claims that the material was given to her by the PCC President when she interviewed him.  The fact that she asked a question and got a reply in writing does not constitute an interview nor does it make a story.    Fact sheets and profiles are handed out by organizations but one does not go around copying it verbatim and worst, one does not affix their byline.  Even a high school student knows that.  As of press time, I am still waiting for her reply in writing. 

Alas, if such is the state of our media, it is frightening.  I can only be glad that I have chosen well where to have my words printed.


Tags: Grey Matter