"It's a divine crusade!" "It's people power!" "It's a miracle!" These are some of the impressive and impressing exclamations made by some people on the occasion of the euphoria caused by the election of a priest to the office of Pampanga governor. And the extraordinary claims have their basis in the socio-political realities that surfaced in the province before, during and after the last elections.
The political majority of the Pampangueños amply showed they had enough of the perceived corruption of the two other candidates aspiring for the same office before the priest filed his own candidacy. It was then commonly said that the political contest between the two previous aspirants for the office of the governor, was in substance "balas vs bolitas". The former stands for the continuous corruption in the quarrying business in the province. The latter on the other hand represents the flagrant corruption brought about by the jueteng syndicate, whose Vatican equivalent is said to be in Lubao, Pampanga.
Furthermore, a good number of the people demonstrated that gold and goons were no match for their collective good will and resolve. The Filipino bayanihan spirit unquestionably proved stronger than all the die-hard allies, practically limitless resources and dubious expertise of traditional politicians. All the massive propaganda and big promises of the other two candidates bowed down before truth, sincerity and commitment on the part of the third lowly candidate.
Finally, it has become evident that even Pampanga is no longer a GMA kingdom. No less than the both other losing candidates were close and precious Malacañang allies. Both were rejected by the people. Both fell by the wayside. Both must be bewildered how could they have lost the elections when they have behind them all the machinery and wealth, power and influence of no less than the incumbent national leadership.
But after all the above good news, when the euphoria is gone and the exhilaration stopped, there are at least three realistic and objective bad news to consider.
The Catholics in Pampanga—and they are unusually good and fervent ones—are now not lightly divided, considering that the big composite majority of the followers of the three candidates profess and practice the same Catholic faith.
The clergy of Pampanga is said to be also divided in the sense that while some favor and endorsed the candidacy of a fellow-priest, there are those however who are perceived as decidedly against it as something offensive to good sense.
There was even the public occasion when the praying of the Holy Rosary and the singing of Church songs here heckled and ridiculed by the followers of the other two candidates.
How and when will these deep wounds be cured—if at all?
21 May 2007