MANG Kardo, 46, a tricycle operator from Parang, had just parked his motor-trike by the roadside at Calero after shuttling his passenger from the public market in Mambulao.
Now waiting for his next fare bound either for Parang or poblacion, he happened to look towards the other side of Mambulao Bay as he tried to figure out where the public market was located.
For a while, he thought that it only took him less than 15 minutes to negotiate the five-kilometer distance from the poblacion to Calero.
With all these roads getting concreted, travel has become faster these days, he noted. It made his job of making a living for a family of six a bit comfortable.
He never thought about this five or six years ago when the road to Larap from Motherlode was hell for tricycle operators like him.
“They should have done this long time ago,” Mang Kardo thought.
When all the main roads in Parang turned into concrete, which linked up in April 2012 with the cemented segment of the Larap road in front of the local high school campus, he rejoiced, because it made driving his tricycle smooth.
He knew that all these came about a few month after Mayor Ricarte “Dong” Padilla assumed office on July 1, 2010 after winning the election for the office of the mayor.
It’s almost three years now, and the next local elections are just about the corner.
Mang Kardo is sure that he will have to vote for Padilla to get him re-elected, and push this concrete roads all the way to Larap.
That would be great. Long distance trip would mean more fares -- a bit faster now in raising the “boundary” (rent) he pays daily to the tricycle owner.
Until lately, he did not bother about the people who would be working with Padilla in the municipal government – the eight elected members of the Sangguniang Bayan, or municipal councilors.
All along, Mang Kardo only knew that the mayor can make or break a campaign promise, if he wished to.
And these roads begin getting cemented, so he (Padilla) is making his promise good.
But Mang Kardo is becoming curious.
Since these past few days, he has been hearing from his colleagues about the need for the voters to vote straight for Padilla’s Sangguniang Bayan candidates.
“Basta Padilla candidates lang …” he heard.
He was not aware how the SB works, although he knew that the council has eight elected members - six men from the administration, with the two others from the Liberal Party-Mambulao led by William A Lim, aka Walim, who was Padilla’s predecessor.
Lim is contesting the post of the vice-mayor now held by Ariel “Aye” Non, who is seeking re-election along with Padilla under the same party – the PDP/Laban/PMP-United Nationalist Alliance.
The council is presided by Non, who is Padilla’s right-hand man looking after a number of on-going infrastructure projects around the municipality, including the cementing of roads and building of bridges.
While Mang Kardo doesn’t give a damn yet about who make up the SB of Mambulao, those in the know in Mambulao and those who are based overseas are thinking of how to help Padilla get the eight SB candidates of his party elected, with six of them seeking re-election.
They are pushing for an 8-0 victory for the administration. This means shutting out every one from Walim’s own SB slate.
Of late, the overseas Mambulaoans learned from their families and contacts back home that Walim is plotting to “drop” four of Padilla’s SB candidates to pave way for four of his most “electable” candidates into the municipal council.
And he himself would get elected as the vice-mayor and become the presiding officer of the council.
With four of his men in the SB, they would be a force to reckon with during vital deliberations and voting on ordinances pertaining to appropriations; resolutions for payments of money; adoption of local development plans or public investment programs; and creation of liabilities (mangungutang sa banko and other financing institutions).
A deadlock during voting would rest its fate in the hands of Lim, who would definitely break it by voting with his men.
This would be very crucial as Lim and his men could always frustrate any development plans that Padilla would like to carry out in his bid to push progress further in his community.
And maybe just for the sake of frustrating them for all they care.
Padilla could not afford this to happen in the next administration in which surely, he would still be the boss.
Concerned overseas Mambulaoans as well as Padilla’s core group back home don’t want this either.
The Padilla camp has been made aware of such a plot.
The mayor himself won’t allow any of Lim’s men in the council, especially during this critical period of development underway across Mambulao.
And Mang Kardo has easily understood now the simple play of numbers in Mambulao’s municipal council.
The party that gets the majority votes of 5 against 4 after a fiercely-fought council deliberation wins.
Mang Kardo would like to think now that if this would always be the scenario during sessions, where Lim’s men could sway everything by the tyranny of their number, then his own future is at stake.
And not only his, but also those of Mambulaoans’ who hunger for progress in their community.
It is only because Padilla has six of the eight SB members working closely with him that he is able to launch massive infrastructure projects that are now taking shape across Mambulao and making life a much better for many people.
Sealing the Sangguniang Bayan victory for all of his 8 men is also sealing sustained progress for all Mambulaoans – for good.
That’s why Padilla needs all of them in the council to ensure a smooth sailing for his next administration starting July 1, 2013.
This should not be difficult to understand.
- Alfredo P Hernandez