Part I: The Mayor Behind The Mayor

Or, Democracy Is About The People, Not About A Family Or Clan

Nine Plus Nine Plus Nine Plus… A tongue twister, mental arithmetic or a case of obsession ? It could be a mixture of all these if we are referring to the maximum term  of  nine years  a Filipino local politician may hold office and his habit of adding another nine through his wife and another nine through his son and another nine through his grandson and so on. In practice we know this as dynastic politics. In a family of four, this would mean 36 years of rule already, but we should not forget that we have an extended family tradition in the Philippines,-  so this could mean more than 36 years!

Much has been written and debated about the phenomenon of dynasty in the Philippines’ political landscape but no substantial results has ever been achieved in form of legislation and the 1987 Constitution itself has not provided a clear definition and limitation of dynasty  from the very beginning. This existing loophole has been taken advantage by many political families in the Philippines. In fact we may call our nation a Loophole Republic of the Philippines, which is a republic based on the loopholes of law, at least when it comes to political power and other criminal actions. I even entertain the idea that the 1987 Constitution is itself the lobby work of traditional politicians- or political dynasties. There are rivalries naturally among these dynasties but they easily join forces together when it comes to finding ways to stabilize their status qou- or protect their interests.

The house of representatives  is the favorite meeting place of trapos where they work together primarily for their own interests and not really  for the ideals of  democracy. In fact, there are about  160 lawmakers representing the 250 political clans in the two chambers of the Philippine Congress- this according to the Center for People Empowerment in Governance.

Dynastic politics seems now to be deeply-rooted in our political character so that those who are born into a political dynasty claim an inherent responsibility- or pressured by family tradition- to rule and those who are born under the rule of  such a political dynasty seem to accept – or pressured to accept their destiny as such and consider political engagement as taboo. Many may have opposed this role but find no support from the rest who still are under the yoke of tradition. A tradition is like a frame that exerts pressure on the picture from all sides. This is how our society is being “kept” together- to one’s advantage and to the other’s disadvantage- depending from which angle you view it.

 Manila could serve as a platform in  breaking this tradition  being a cosmopolitan and a melting ground of all kinds political orientations, a neutral meeting place of politically-minded  Filipinos from different provinces where they feel released from the yoke of their respective local politics or where their hardwork and higher education find recognition, or where they are not pressured to certify their ownership of vast hectares of lands in order to join the political arena. This is the hope that remains but still, as we see it, is not easy to realize for Manila is also home to many traditional political dynasties with interests to be  protected. This battle is very much actual in today’s Manila for Arroyo seems to have not yet given up the hope of extending her tenure of power and is still finding out last-minute dirty tricks to incapacitate the opposition to secure herself and her  relatives.

Superficially, this tradition of political dynasty seems to be much more pronounced in the local or provincial governments. But it seems that, at least in Bulan, this does  not represent the tradition- but there are signs  today of breaking away from tradition.

According to some historians, dynastic politics was introduced to the Philippines by the Americans, not by the Spaniards,  when electoral politics was initially limited to wealthy people,  and when the Americans left in 1946 wealthy landowners “took the helm in leading the country to protect their business and other interest”. This is the paradox of history for we were supposed to learn from the Americans what  democratic governance was all about- a legacy they still claim today being the self-proclaimed champion of democracy. But colonialism was also an expression of vested interest among colonial powers at that time. So what would you expect?

 In my view, political dynasty chokes the progress of democratic growth of the locality. The main danger of relatives ruling in succession is the false impression it leaves to the people of the indispensability (defined by Thesaurus as the quality possessed by something that you cannot possibly do without) of these families in running the affairs of the town or province. The people become convinced of  their helplessness believing that the affairs of the government is vested only upon these families; or people resigning to the idea that that there is no one else among them who possesses the quality of good leadership and the sincerity of intention believing that the next one would enrich himself anyway so why not leave it to the ruling families for they are already rich and besides they have done something also for the town and they are nice and kind  to the teachers that they even pay their snacks during their seminars.

For me it is clear that when people reason out this way it is symptomatic that their understanding of democracy has been taken  away from them, mutilated slowly but surely during these 18, 27, 36 years or even more of being ruled by a single family or clan, that the people have been devalued and almost reduced to political lumpen proletariat. This is the result of  political power being monopolized by a few families for an extended period of time. People became  politically  decapitated, unable to make their choice- for there has been  no other choice. 

The following historical facts are taken from the  work of our past local historian Mr. Hizo with the assistance of Tony Gilana. Mr. Hizo was a quiet man I have personally known in the 60’s and 70’s in Canipaan. This work  can be found in the Municipal Building of Bulan in Barangay Aquino, printed on a wall together with the enlarged photos of past municipal mayors as well as  other historical facts. I copied it during our quick visit there. In any case I find the new location of the municipal building as  out-of-place  being away from the center of the towm, in fact almost hidden from the town. I prefer the old location because  of its centrality and the message of transparency and accessibility for the people. The old  familiar building of the Municipio still exists but for sure needs general repair and upgrading.

 In Bulan prominent political names who served as Gobernadorcillos (the title of town executive from 1801-1891-  the Gobernadocillo were elected from among the ranks of the Principalía by twelve senior Cabeza de Barangay) several times way back during the Spanish period were Vicente, Camposano, Mateo, Gueta, Gillego,Golpeo and Gerona. The Gerona whom I think was the most prominent political name in Bulan first appeared in Bulan municipal history in 1852 with Don Rafaêl Gerona and served two separate years as Gobernadorcillo to be followed some years later by Don Calixto and  Don Rufino Gerona. The Golpeo name  first appeared in 1857 with Don Sixto Golpeo.

The Asuncion first appeared in the municipal history of Bulan in 1898 with Don Zacarias Asuncion -my great grandfather- who served for two years as Capitanes Municipal  from 1892 to 1900, the title of Don was retained-  the title of office  being changed from Gobernadorcillo to Capitanes Municipal in 1893 with the passing of  the Maura Law which was  aimed at making the municipal governments in the Philippine Archipelago more effective and autonomous.  

From 1901- 1937  the title Capitanes Municipal was replaced by Presidentes Municipal- during the American colonial period from 1900-1942, a change from Spanish Monarchy to American Democracy. This period was the Gerona period in Bulan history for they dominated starting with Sr. (replacing the title  Don) Rufino, Sr. Salvador, Sr. Pascual and Sr. Federico Gerona, each serving a maximum of 1 or 2 years in different periods. During the Commonwealth Government  of the Philippines which started in 1934,  the name Golpeo re-appeared with Sr. Amado Golpeo, serving two consecutive terms as Presidentes Municipal from 1932-1934, and from 1935-1937.

From 1938 until the present time the name of town executive was changed to Mayor, the American counterpart, however the title Sr. was retained. The first elected Bulan Mayor from 1938 was Sr. Germiniano Gerado who served only for two years.

The name Asuncion re-appeared in 1941  during the Japanese occupation with Sr. Adonis Asuncion (my grandfather- and son of Don Zacharias Asuncion) who was elected town mayor in 1941 and worked as such till 1943, had to vacate his elected office for a year being hunted by the Japanese Imperial Army, replaced in 1943-44 by the Japanese-appointed Federico L. Gerona and Odon G. Goyala. Returning in 1945 after the Liberation, he continued his term until 1946. At this point it is interesting to ask who at that time in Bulan collaborated with the Japanese invaders.

The name De Castro first appeared in the history of Bulan in 1896 as can be found from the excerpt below taken from the Wikipedia:

“In October 1896, Don Teodoro De Castro y Zabala was arrested and incarcerated in Bilibid, because he was found in possession of letters written by anti-Spanish natives in Manila. Don Zacarias Asuncion and other residents suffered the same fate, for having no cedulas personales and for singing anti-Spanish songs.”

If the present De Castros in Bulan are related to Don Teodoro De Castro is a subject of our inquiry. 

How Socorro G. De Castro- who served as vice-governor of the province of Sorsogon from 1971-1975 before becoming representative of Bicol Region-V at the Interim Batasng Pambansa from 1979-1984- relates to the De Castros of Bulan is also a point of interest for all.

We hope that the family De Castro would provide us with the answer.

The De Castros became municipal mayors starting in 1968 with Luis De Castro, Sr.(who was able to serve Bulan for only two years), in  1979 with Alberto De Castro (first term as appointed, second term as elected) and  in 1995 with Guillermo De Castro (who served three terms) and in 2004 with Helen Cheng De Castro, the incumbent mayor and wife of Guillermo De Castro. If Mayor Helen De Castro would run and  be re-elected next year this would be her third term also.

From Luis De Castro to Mayor Helen De Castro, Bulan has been presided by the De Castro clan for a total of  24 years,-  27 years  if Helen De Casto would be re-elected next year. As of now husband and wife Guillermo and Helen De Castro have served for  15 years already.

It’s nice to serve one’s hometown and we take-off our hats to those who had faithfully and honestly served Bulan as town mayors. Self-interest is not always a negative attribute for man would not do anything under the sun freely if not for it. If  this is what  propels our Bulan leaders to serve the people honestly then we could only  be thankful for that. However, we know also that the mind is corrupted by possesion of political power extending over a long period of time and that the ambition for it already corrupts the mind also in some people. It is at this point that Self-Interest becomes a very dirty and primitive attribute within the context – or under the pretext- of  “public service” and  “public trust” for  this becomes unequivocally synonymous with power-hoarding, plundering of public funds, bribery and corruption.

In this connection I express my deep gratitude to Ex-Vice Mayor Toby Gonzalez and Ex-Mayor Julian Ginete for their longest years as individuals spent faithfully serving the town of Bulan. For me these two were the most durable politicians that Bulan ever produced. Toby Gonzalez served many times as vice-mayor and as mayor in succession. Mr. Julian Ginete alone served  Bulan a total of 13 years as elected mayor in two separate periods, as vice-mayor and as mayor in succession.

They say that behind every successful man is a strong woman. In the Philippine setting, this could explain why after his term of office the wife takes over. Interestingly, it came from the opposition side  that for the first time in Philippine history, a wife continued the legacy and aspiration of the husband after being killed upon his return from exile; Corazon Aquino became president. Imelda Marcos did not become president of the Philippines but we know how she  dictated behind which practically led to the ruin and downfall of Ferdinand Marcos. Hence, a strong woman behind can also ruin a successful man, let us not forget this fact. Our Asian neighbor ex-Singapore premier Lee Kuan Yew was not damaged that much by his wife as Marcos was but her strong  character seems to be spotlighting only the  weaknesses of Lee Kuan Yew. This creates problems in him and casts public doubt upon him even until now with regards to running  their private businesses.

After that it became  fashionable  in the Philippines that the  wife continues  the office. We have seen that among the Bayanis in Marikina (Fernando and Marides), the Lee in Sorsogon (Raul and Sally Lee), etc. In Bulan this fashion first started with the Gotladeras (Pantaleon And Nene)  and continued by the De Castros (Guillermo and Helen). Indeed, the first Lady becoming the town executive, and the former mayor or so becoming the first gentleman. If First-gentleman Arroyo  were gentle enough,  he would have been the first First- gentleman becoming the president, and Gloria the first woman president becoming the First Lady!

This funny configuration speaks a lot about the low level of politics in the Philippines. It speaks for everything other than a democracy; it speaks for clanism and dynastic politics; it speaks for patron politics and how these “stakeholders” build a network of interdependence to safeguard their power addiction. Behind a mayor is a mayor and a governor, behind a governor is a congressman and so on and so forth. This is the  framework beneath the sick Republic of the Philippines, sick for  being ruled not by the constitutional provision and a fine democratic culture but by power addiction of some clans.

Hence, where greed for power rules the town or country it is poor, corrupt and unpeaceful, and where the rule of law governs the town or country it is progressive and peaceful.

Peace be with you.

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer






Filed under Politics, Views and Concern

11 responses to “Part I: The Mayor Behind The Mayor

  1. attybenji

    the mayor behind the mayor is a good read!

    … political dynasty thrives in our country in particular because of the power addiction of the people in power.

    Writer, Dan Mahony, M Phil said… power addiction is similar to alcoholism and other addictions. The symptoms included increasing desire for more and more. Undeniably, for politician and people in power, the wealth & power have long been recognized as addictions.

    I found several quotations regarding wealth & power from many great thinkers and political leaders since ancient times. The quotations are, it seems to me, evidence that wealth & power have long been recognized as addictions, though the particular word was not used.

    “Power is sweet; it is a drug, the desire for which increases with habit.”—Bertrand Russell, 1951

    “In order to understand the system in which we live and help move it toward recovery, the time has come to admit, without reservation, that it is an addict and functions on a societal level the same way as any decompensating or deteriorating drunk.”—Dr. Anne Wilson Schaef, 1987

    “Most of those who drink are not alcoholics, and it’s the same for wielders of wealth and power.” —Will Rike.

    “Dictators ride to and fro on the backs of tigers, and the tigers are getting hungry (Winston Churchill, 1936).”

    “It is not power itself, but the legitimation of the lust for power that corrupts absolutely (R. H. Crossman, 1951).”

    “The worst ruler is one who cannot rule himself (Cato, 234-149 B.C.).”

    “The human mind is prone to pride even when not supported by power; how much more, then, does it exalt itself when it has that support? (Pope Gregory I, 540 – 604 A.D.)”

    “For where the instrument of intelligence is added is added to brute power and evil will, mankind is powerless in his own defense (Dante, 1320).”

    “A plausible insignificant word, in the mouth of a demagogue is a dangerous and deceitful weapon (Robert South, 1634-1716).”

    “If you would be powerful, pretend to be powerful (Horne Tooke, 1736-1812).”

    “Power gradually extirpates from the mind every human and gentle virtue. Pity, benevolence, friendship, are things unknown in high stations (Edmund Burke, 1756).”

    “The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves (William Hazlitt, 1778-1830).”

    “Power is not happiness (William Goodwin, 1793).”
    “Men in power have no opinion, but may be had cheap for any opinion, for any purpose (Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882).”

    “Who shall count up the evil brood that is born from power–the pitiful fear, the madness, the despair, the overpowering craving for revenge, the treachery, the unmeasured cruelty? Auberon Herbert, 1893).”

    “What really flatters a man is that you think him worth flattering (George Bernard Shaw, 1905).”

    “A friend in power is a friend lost (Henry B. Adams, 1907).”

    “The love of power is generally an embodiment of fear (Bertrand Russell, 1931).”
    The lust for power is not rooted in strength but in weakness (Eric Fromm, 1941).”

    “Increase of material wealth does not in any way whatsoever conduce to moral growth (Ghandi).”

    “The men who really wield, retain, and covet power are the kind who answer bedside telephones while making love (Nicholas Pileggi).”

    “It is when power is wedded to chronic fear that it becomes formidable (Eric Hoffer, 1954).”

    “Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other (Carl Gustave Jung, 1954).”

    “My concern is whether America can overcome the fatal arrogance of power (J. William Fulbright, 1966).”

    “Men in power have not the time to read; yet men who do not read are unfit for power (Michael Foot).”

    “Intelligence is not all that important in the exercise of power, and is often, in point of fact, useless (Henry Kissenger, 1973).”

    “Arbitrary power has seldom or never been introduced into a country at once. It must be introduced by slow degrees, and as it were step by step, lest the people should perceive its approach (Lord Chesterfield, 1737).”

    “Power is gradually stealing away from the many to the few, because the few are more vigilant and consistent (Samuel Johnson, 1774).”

    “It is apprehended that arbitrary power would steal in upon us, were we not careful to prevent its progress (David Hume, 1741).”

    “Monarchy would not have continued so many ages in the world had it not been for the abuses it protects. It is the master of fraud which shelters all others (Thomas Paine, 1792).”

    “It is the people with secret attractions to various temptations, who busy themselves with removing those temptations from other people; really they are defending themselves under the pretext of defending others, because at heart they fear their own weaknesses (Ernest Jones, 1918).”

    “Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power (Bertrand Russell, 1952).”

    “I have been a conspirator for so long that I mistrust all around me (Gamal Abdel Nasser, 1958).”

    “The greatest worry of all our dictators is to be found out by their own people (Richard Mowrer, 1970).”

    “Power abdicates only under the stress of more power (Martin Buber, 1950).”

    “All wealth is power, so power must inevitably draw wealth to itself by some means or other (Edmund Burke, 1780).”

    “It is impossible to divorce property from power (John Randolf, 1773-1833).”

    “Ambition is in fact the avarice of power (Charles Caleb Colton, 1829).”

    “When you come to analyze the love of money you find…desire of power, of social position and reputation for ability and success (Edward Bellamy, 1887).”

    “Those who have economic power have civil power also (George W. Russell, 1913).”

    “Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism (Carl Gustav Jung).”

    “The problem of power is how to get men of power to live for the public not off the public (Robert F. Kennedy, 1964).”

    “People’s ambition begins to grow as they feel the attraction of power (Shirley Williams, 1981).”

    “As to the people, they have no understanding, and only repeat what their rulers are pleased to tell them (Plato).”

    “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those they suppress (Frederick Douglas, 1817-1895).”

    “The man with power, but without conscience, could, with an eloquent tongue, if he cared for nothing but his own power, put his whole country in flame, because this whole country believes that something is wrong, and is eager to follow those who profess to be able to lead it out of its difficulties (Woodrow Wilson, 1911).”

    “True democracy is the renunciation of the struggle for power (Isocrastes, ca. 400 B.C.)

    “; There is nothing, absolutely nothing which needs to be more carefully guarded against than that one man should be allowed to become more powerful than the people (Demosthenes, 344 B.C.”;

    “Power must never be trusted without a check (John Adams, 1816)”;

    “It was to guard against the encroachments of power, the insatiate ambition of wealth that this government was instituted, by the people themselves (William Leggett, 1834)”;

    “The rich tend to be ashamed of riches, but politicians are never ashamed of themselves, though they should be (Woodworth Wyatt, 1976)”;

    “Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty (Ronald Reagan, 1981).”].

  2. junasun

    To Attybenji,

    I read all the quotations above which you have picked out for us. Thank you, it’s interesting to study the thoughts of brilliant and experienced men in history.

    This time I’ll pick for myself the qoutations of C.G. Jung, the Swiss psychologist and founder of analytical psychology, a system I studied intensively in the 80’s:

    “Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism (Carl Gustav Jung).”

    “Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other (Carl Gustave Jung, 1954).”

    He was a keen observer of political events as well and even predicted the rise of Nationa Socialism
    in Germany.

    jun asuncion

  3. I like this article very much especially the history. would it be possible to request a table showing two fields (columns): on the first field, the year/s of occupation and on the second field, the names of the mayor or occupant of the post? I am willing to publish the same in my site. Posible kaya? 🙂

    Thanks Jun and more power to Bulan Observer. Keep up the good work.

  4. Tonyboy-PIO

    Dear Jun,

    A little comment on the politics of Bulan:

    It would be an insult to our own kababayans to question them why over the last five elections in our town, the De Castros have won. It’s also a big question mark why over the last seven elections, the Guyalas have never succeeded, that is even Guiming or Baby De Castro took the center stage. The Guyalas have already joined the political fray during the time of the great Tio Boning Gillego, and up to now.

    Albino Guyala won as vice-mayor in 1995 because of Guiming. After that he was not able to recover. And when he tried in 2001, Mayor Guiming trounced him by over 14000 votes!
    Bulan’s voting population is 40,000 plus. These people are good, intelligent people. To say that they are not would be an insult to our own kababayans.

    In the U.S., there are some politicians, congressmen, senators, governors and mayors, who have never been replaced since they were elected to office. They retired with still the belt of popular mandate with them. And what about the Bushes? the Clintons?

    It may be true that with the present harsh Philippine economic situation hounding the very grassroots of our societies, many among our kababayans are tempted by the lure of money, due to dire need, especially from unscrupulous politicians. This however, does not mean that all of our kabayanas, Filipinos or Bulanenos are all inclined to it. We are a people with hope. This electoral process brings out the best and worst in us. But by and large, Bulanenos are honest and conscientious in their decisions during election time.

    The De Castros may have their own shortcomings, but who among our leaders, past and present, are without?

    It may be easy for Bulanenos living abroad to easily believe what they hear or glimpse at. But I believe if they stay a while, and immerse themselves in the very life that we go through then it will be easy to understand the situation.

    There is a difference between local and national politics. In the national scene people just read or watch what our leaders do. But in the local scene, our leaders get in touch with our people, everyday.In the local scene, our people and leaders inter act with each other face to face. It is not by remote control. And the De Castros are fully immersed in this leadership role and interaction with our people. Sometimes, the physical infrastrutures or projects are not enough. It is how you shake their hands, how you listen to them that you get their gratitude. Why, this is what happened to the phenomenon that was Tata Juan Frivaldo. Eight terms he served, and he was loved not for what he has done but for who he was.

    Students of politics who want to get into this complicated arena of politics must learn that people appreciate you more for who you are. A snub never gets elected into office. Precisely because people look for a father-brother-leader figure in their leaders. Even if you have the highest degrees of education, a lawyer, a doctor, or a master architect if you are not attuned to the very heart and mindset of your own people, you will never get elected. This has been proven time and again. I know because I have been into it.

    When a politician promises, people easily can psyche them, especially here in Bulan.

    The people of Bulan are respectful but can also be very irreverent when it comes to people offering them false hopes.

    Also, the performance of the De Castros in governing have been tested time and again. So I think, this is the reason why they have neen trusted with that sacred mandate of governance.

    Thanks po! Mabuhay !

  5. junasun

    To J.A.Carizo,

    Thanks for showing interest in the municipal history of Bulan.
    I cannot provide you the complete chronological table of the past town executives of Bulan for what I have contains only the data I needed for this short article which I quickly copied when I went to the muncipal building.

    The best thing to do now is to ask Tonyboy Gilana to provide you with the materials you requested for. I know he will be willing to provide and he will be proud to introduce a piece of Bulan history to the rest of Bicol region and particularly to the many readers of your site Bik-Lish.

    But I have a few wonderful aereal photos of Mayon Volcano which I took four years ago. I’ll publish them soon and if you like I will send you copies.

    Thank you!

    jun asuncion

  6. junasun

    To Tonyboy Gilana,

    This is the basis of our discussion:

    Art. II, Sec. 26, which says, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law”.

    This is the problem:

    The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, is being violated by Congress itself by perennially avoiding the passing of enabling law, which includes the final definition of what is and what constitutes political dynasty.

    The reason:

    Many Congressmen/- women are members of poilitical dynasties themselves.

    This short post The Mayor Behind The Mayor is actually a very simplified presentation of dynastic politics in the Philippines, a fact we can never categorically deny for it is as real as other electoral anomalies like vote buying/selling, etc. The purpose was and is not to insult our Kababayans or the De Castros but just to describe this political reality. I understand now your apologetic stance towards the De Castros as you have explained it yourself why. But your case is normal, it’s also a part of the mechanics of this dynastic politics in the Philippines. This is what I meant when I wrote somewhere that Bulaneños should first free themselves from the political dystonia which is characterized by erratic argumentations and reflexive avoidance of actual or “hot” political issues and realities.

    To make it clear to you: As I have written, “Self-Interest is not necessarily a negative attribute if this is what propels our local leaders to honestly serve our people “. This could happen to the entire family or clan also that they all be propelled to honestly and sincerely serve the town as mayors, etc. if that’s their way of showing their love and loyalty to their own people. There is nothing wrong with that. If you think the De Castros served and are serving faithfully and honestly the people of Bulan and were elected cleanly by the people, then there is no reason to be apologetic. (from the Greek word Apologia, which means speaking in defense of). And besides, there was no attack launched at all specifically against the De Castros in my writing. I merely counted in years the terms served basing on your very own historical work.

    Why for example bar Sergio Osmenña, jr. or Manuel Roxas II from running for presidency just because they belong to political dynasties when they are capable politicians in their own right, and if they want to serve the country? It needs differentiation. I’m just pointing out that if the intention and credentials are good, then nobody should stop somebody. Take the case of Bayani Fernando who was succeeded by his able wife Marides. Now Marikina is one of the best cities in Asia. This is what I failed to include in my writing that political dynasty is also a two- edged sword, it can cut and harm but also can be useful. The danger is that too much power for too long a time corrupts the mind of man- an undeniable psychological fact. We have seen that in world history and we have seen that in Marcos in how he tailored the whole Constitution for his own favor- and in the attempts to do the same by Gloria Arroyo. This is I think what Art. II, Section 6 is trying to prevent.

    The Clintons and the Bushes you mentioned are different because in the U.S. – aside from being a meritocracy- check and balance system works. There the judicial, the legislative and the executive branches are independent and credible, and the electoral process is transparent and exhaustive. In the Philippines, this is unfortunately not the case, for aside from pulling the strings behind these branches of government, the president still has the military or the mayor the police and other “subsidized” armed people. So the concept of political dynasty is understood-and practised- differently in both countries. On top of that, the Clintons and the Bushes neither called Garci nor distributed cash envelopes on the eve of the election or during the election day,- nor did Obama and he is an example of a clean democratic electoral process or how Art. II, Sec. 26 of our Constitution should look like which says, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service…” for he is black, not rich and did not belong to a political dynasty yet became U.S. president.
    Was Bill Clinton succeeded by Hillary for a term only to return again to his post- as Binay of Makati once was by his wife, or Nene Aguilar of Las Pinãs or Manuel Villar? How about the Estradas? They were far less better.

    That’s a night and day difference.

    It could be that Guyala’s weaknesses are the strengths of the De Castros that’s why they always lose and win respectively. If the Geronas were once the most prominent families, I do think that the De Castros are the most prominent political families of Bulan. This is a fact. And the De Castros were and are not only politicians but educators and even philanthropists. This side should also be known to all.

    We, students of politics have very less understanding of this complicated arena so we are entitled to ask questions to some people like you who know more for they have been into it and also entitled to expect honest and competent answers from our teachers. And for many Tagabulans- including jun asuncion, Dora the Mouse and Rudy Bellen- who live abroad and who have no mind of their own, gullible and ignorant of what is happening in Bulan, do not understand anything about local politics and democracy, it is advisable to go home to learn these lessons in Bulan. That would be great! That’s not an insult, my dear Kababayans but a friendly invitation.

    But I want to make it clear also that our purpose here in Bulan Observer is to build a huge Bulan On-Line community that critically observes the town, but not to offer Bulanenõs living in Bulan false hopes. We leave it to the politicians in Bulan.

    Salamat tabi.

    jun asuncion

    • Arvin Gotladera

      Greetings Manoy Jun and Tio Tony Boy!

      Did Tio Tony Boy serve as Bgy. Captain before? Is he the father of Salve who worked with the Civil Service Commission in 1987?

      Arvin Gotladera

  7. Dora the Mouse

    To Jun and Tonyboy Gilana

    I love the exchange of comments! It is so honest, democratic, educational, open minded and frank. This is the way it should be. I give you my respect for the honesty and sincerety of your individual statements, concerns and opinions.

    This is what I admire about Bulan Observer. We can express our opinions, thoughts and concerns. Through exchange of views and concerns, we are continously learning new things either in politics, science, philosophy or even witty jokes from Atty Benjie. I am interested to buy the book History of Bulan when it is ready.

    Bulan Observer is the place for everybody to have the chance for young taga-Bulans to contribute their talents and fresh ideas and for older people to share their wisdom and life experiences so that other people will learn from it. It is a great place to give and to share ideas and sometimes take those ideas and apply it to your daily life.

    Thank you Bulan Observer for the many fine articles you shared with us readers.

    Dora the Mouse

  8. PIO Bulan

    Dear Jun and Arvin:

    Greetings tabi!

    This is in reply to the query of Arvin.

    Salve is my sister tabi. I’m the eldest. She is the fourth among us. Yes, she worked for Tia Nena Gotladera when Tia Nena was still with CSC. And don’t call me Tio Tony, hehe! They did not call me Tonyboy for nothing, hehe (again!). But I think Jun is my contemporary. We are from Quezon Academy Batch ’79. He was from CIC, I think. My sister Salve is Atty. Benjie’s classmate. I was a three-termer municipal councilor from 1995-2004, and had been flor de boto in my next two terms, 1998-2001,2001-2004.

    Tia Nena is my Papa’s ninang. We fondly call her “Maninay” Nena. In 1986, after the EDSA Revolt, Tio Taleon became OIC Mayor of Bulan. He appointed my father Perfecto, Jr. as OIC Capitan of Fabrica, which our De Castro uncles and aunts and lolos did not want for my Papa (now deceased). That was a period when my papa were not in talking terms with our De Castro patriarchs. He even opposed Tio Gary De Castro’s bid for mayor in 1988 and sided with Tio Taleon. I was in the seminary then. But that is history for us.

    We have a special affection with your family, the Gotladeras. Olaf, with whom I had a political tangle in 2004, when we fought it out by 200 votes as Provincial Board Member, and we went up to the Supreme Court, which I eventually lost, was actually very young when Cyrus and Kathleen were my playmates in Moon Theater.

    I was Congressman Boning Gillego’s youngest political (youth) speaker sa tribuna in the 1980’s . And I love Tio Boning. He was a brilliant man, a true nationalist and great public servant. He was also a friend, with Tia Nena and Tio Taleon to our family, especially to my Lola Dolor De Castro Gilana. We had special bonds.

    When I was Municipal Councilor of Bulan, it was I who wrote and authored new names for all the streets and landmarks of Bulan. Even if the Gotladeras were our political nemesis during that time I convinced Ex-Mayor Guiming and my colleagues in the SB that we name the whole length of Quezon Street (Dishky) to Celerina Gotladera Street, because I believe that she deserves it as the first Bulaneno CSC Chairman and First Lady Mayor of Bulan. And she was really a great professional. Our old LGU employees told me of her efficiency as an administrator, first to come to office and last to leave. I was even thinking of having Managa-naga renamed as Barangay Bonifacio H. Gillego because it was in Tio Boning and Mayor Guiming’s time that the Managa-naga socialized settlement program was realized. Now , our people there have lots to call their own!

    Arvin, personally, I have the deepest respect for your great family. And we in Bulan owe your family much for administering our town well and doing much for all of us in Bulan.

    I think Cris Gotladera is running for vice-mayor. He is a very cordial, friendly, intelligent and kind fellow. Except of course, we are on the other side of the political fence. But he is a friend of mine.

    Well, you are right, this election time is again a time for giving out by candidates and for solicitations by sectors to our candidates. I think these practices take away the purity from our democratic and electoral process. I’m sorry about it,and I hope it will change.

    Don’t worry, we shall post in our website,, the list of candidates once they have already filed their certificates of candidacies after November 30. And we shall also give Jun infos about the election activities and updates.Bulan has now 44,000 voters!

    As to the Pawa Hospital, please be informed that we in the LGU, under Mayor Baby De Castro, are doing our best to be of help in our own way even though the hospital is under the Provincial Government. We are managing our own RHU or Rural Health Unit for the medical services of the people of Bulan.

    Sayang, dire kamo makauli this Pista sa Gadan. But the weather may still come out fine here in Bicol. Sana dire na magtama anywhere sa nasyun ta si Santi, kay halos darapa na kirita. But our Bulan MDCC is preparing for it.

    God is Good, we know and believe that.

    Thanks Arvin. and have a nice day po!

    Municipal Information Officer

    • Arvin Gotladera

      Dear Manoy Jun and Tony Boy:

      Thank you very much po for your answers.

      How is the weather in Bulan? Didi sa QC makulimlim na po. I pray this is the last typhoon that will hit our country.

      Manoy Tony Boy, kamusta po kay Salve and Nene. I met and got to know them in 1987. Nene was I think then teaching in an Elementary School in Manila.

      I hope we could meet each other when I visit Bulan next year.

      By the way Manoy Jun, are you based in Bulan or here in Metro Manila?

      God Bless Us po!

      Arvin Gotladera

      • Hello Arvin,

        I’ve just written a lot of letters to our sponsors for the coming Charity Concert in December here in Zürich. So you know where I am based now, a little farther than Manila where you are. But on-line and in my heart I’m based in Bulan. My address -in case you want to know- is: Bulan Observer! – and this is your address, too. So we are neighbors.
        Do visit me fequently for a coffee or a jam session. Do you play any musical instrument?
        My best regards to the Gotladeras!

        jun asuncion

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