WHEN Ricarte Padilla ran for office in the 2010 mayoralty election in Jose Panganiban, CamNorte, he won by an overwhelming landslide against contender Yolanda P Lim, a prominent Mambulaoan whose only political credential was that of being the wife of a lackluster former town mayor.
And yet, Padilla those days had nothing much to show save for his “karisma sa tao” and an awesome name recall.
Now, with unquestionable leadership credibility and capability, backed by high-flying popular projects such as the baranggay road cementing program, scholarship program and skills training program and some more, and with more or less P40 million in public money as cash reserves at his disposal – if needed – to get the votes, how many more voters would Padilla be able to scoop in the May 2013 local elections to mount another landslide victory against anyone who would come his way?
MWBuzz is asking this silly question because of one man named Arlen Julia “Manoy” Olores.
Once again, Olores, a longtime resident of Mambulao, has filed his candidacy for the mayoral race, triggering unwanted speculations that he has gone nuts, or simply he got no wind of the political buzz obtaining right now in Mambulao.
In the 2010 mayoral election, Olores picked a mere 1.54% (268) out of the 17,303 votes for the taking. Of the total ballots cast, Ricarte garnered 11,495 versus Lim’s measly 5,540.
The number play alone would easily tell everybody that there’s really no point for Olores to pursue his ambition for a town hall takeover next year.
This is one reason why former mayor William A Lim, a three-termer as mayor, opted out of harm’s way by allowing Padilla to take a second term.
This he did by lowering his gun sight instead and trained it straight at the office of the vice-mayor now occupied by Ariel (Aye) Non.
Lim, with his own “balwarte” having been a political honcho for more than 15 years, firmly believes that taking over the municipality’s second highest post next year would be a walk in the park.
This 100gig digital picture is something that Olores has failed to see and digest: that he is facing formidable political machinery in Padilla’s and that his having just a “dream to serve” Mambuaoans is not enough for a credible campaign.
We agree that as a Filipino citizen, Olores has the right to run for a public office, much less file a certificate of candidacy for a particular elected government post – in this case, the office of the mayor.
He may have the so-called marubrub na hangarin at adhikain na magsilbi sa mga taga-Mambulao through the office of the mayor, but that is only one side of the coin.
Because on the other side, many a question begs to be asked: Does he have the political machinery to push his candidacy? Does he have the logistics to oil this machinery? Does he have a political base commonly known as “balwarte” which would deliver him the winning votes especially now that Padilla is the “pinakamabangong kandidato sa pagka mayor” (remember? He only got 1.5% of the votes cast in 2010)? Does he have the political acumen? Does he have the managerial know-how to run the economic and financial affairs of Mambulao? Does he have a political record of having ran for an elected office in Mambulao (except for the 2010 polls) even at the baranggay level? Does he have visible sources of income that would help boost his candidacy’s logistics? Does he have revenue-making real estate property to show financial stability? Does he have friends outside of his own family and relatives in his community who believe that he is really serious?
He may have them one way or the other, but we can certainly say that all would only be half-baked, which augur bad news for his campaign.
It would be good for Olores to quit this early from his mayoralty ambition to spare him, his family and his handful of supporters the burden of wasting his meager resources and inflicting his doomed campaign with political nightmares and humiliation (again) that are just lurking around the bend.
Olores should not wait for somebody to ask Comelec to disqualify him for being a nuisance and be shamed.
While the Constitution mandates the state to “guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service”, the Supreme Court, in a 2004 resolution, has clarified that running for public office is a privilege, not a right.
What is recognized is merely a privileged subject to limitations imposed by law, the SC added. It declared too that the constitutional mandate was a general guideline, not at “judicially enforceable constitutional right”.
To ensure that the equal access clause is not violated, the key is to apply the limitations “to everybody equally without discrimination,” said the SC.
“Equality is not sacrificed as long as the burdens engendered by the limitations are meant to be borne by anyone who is minded to file a certificate of candidacy,” the High Court said.
Comelec, on the other h and, is very clear when it defined what a nuisance candidate is:
1) One who makes a mockery of the election process;
2) An aspirant whose name might confuse the voters, or
3) A contender who has no capability to run a campaign.
Very clearly, Olores qualifies under the third definition.
It’s not a joke to be carrying all his life the political tag of “nuisance candidate” and join the rank of notorious nuisance presidential candidates Pascual Racuyal and lawyer Elly Pamatong.
But Olores can still serve the good of the community.
What he can do is tell his native community about the many good things taking place in the municipality of Mambulao under the governance of Padilla and how they can all help to sustain such community projects for the benefit of all.
This way, Olores may earn the people’s goodwill.
--- A P Hernandez