INSIDE PAGE | Fernan A. Gianan:

The province’s new leaders should agree on something

Our apologies to readers and personalities in the frontpage photos for the black-and-white nature of the pictures. There was an unintended but unfortunately uncorrected error, for which we seek your kind understanding.


If the island province is to fully recover from the pandemic and progress even more in the next three years, then the top three leaders must reach an agreement to cooperate and collaborate with each other.

Governor Joseph Cua, along with his brother, should sit down with Congressman-elect Leo Rodriguez on how best to proceed with implementing the programs and projects needed by their common constituents.

They would have to forget the past, particularly what happened in 2019.

It may be recalled that despite winning his second term, the governor was not allowed to assume his post due to his one-year suspension from the Ombudsman case involving the alleged use of capitol property as equipment yard of ERR Construction.

There is no way forward but for the two leaders to agree on something, especially since the governor’s alliance includes eight of the 11 municipal mayors who have a say in the identification of nationally-funded development programs and projects in their respective localities.


Of course, this is only with respect to how the projects will be identified and then pushed for funding in Congress by the district representative.

Implementing the funded infrastructure projects will be a different matter even if the congressman himself, as a contractor of multi-million projects, knows the ins and outs of the business.

He will have to deal not only with the local chief executives but also local contractors and politicians, who routinely engage in the business through dummy contractors.

As one astute political observer noted, Rodriguez is now in the shoes of a former congressman, who allegedly demanded payment of SOP from projects bid out during his nine-year term while both were disembarking from a Virac-bound flight sometime ago.


As the governor noted when asked about vote-buying in the island during a recent debate, the distribution of cash by candidates does not guarantee victory.

The voters, he insisted, still have the freedom to choose who among the aspirants they will elect to public office.

This is partly validated by Congressman Hector Sanchez’s lopsided defeat at the hands of former Bato Mayor Leo Rodriguez.

The incumbent reportedly gave away a thousand pesos for each voter as against the challenger’s P700 but still lost badly in ten of the 11 towns.

An electorate that accepts “gratipikasyon” but considers the candidates’ qualifications and accomplishments, however, is absent here.

According to political observers, the eventual winner was weakest, as far as qualifications and intellectual capacity were concerned, during the run-up to the polls.

If the voters are indeed discerning of the aspirants’ backgrounds, they would have gone for the former congressman, who was by far the most accomplished but chose not to give away cash.

The Catanduanes electorate, it appears, limits their choices to candidates who give away cash or goods or, in the absence of cash, just goods and the chance to meet the aspirant especially if he or she is good-looking.

In addition, the “gratipikasyon,” especially if it consists of goods or a little cash, has to be given a week or two ahead. Big amounts, on the other hand, are eagerly awaited by voters even if given hours before voting begins.


THE GUARD’S DREAM. A security guard has a dream that the jet plane his boss is supposed to take the next day is going to crash. When he wakes up, he calls his boss at home and tells him. His boss listens to him and decides not to take the plane.

The next day, the plane crashes. The boss calls the security guard to his office and gives him a reward – and then fires him. He asks his boss why he’s being let go.

The boss replies, “You were sleeping on the job.”

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