A Portent of Vicious Elections to Come - CT

<[> The annual Christmas Cheers celebrated its 25th year last December 2009, the series of entertaining shows dedicated by the organizers to the memory of its founder – the beloved Msgr. Jose "Ping" Molina, who conceptualized the shows as a means to relieve his typhoon-stricken flock of their feeling of helplessness and misery.

The recent Cheers was a resounding success marred only by the major sponsor’s unfortunate political outburst, the first time the Cheers stage had been used to attack a political opponent.

Congressman Joseph Santiago may have felt entitled to do anything on his show (it was the Congressman’s Night for sure), having bankrolled the Cheers expenses for the last three or four years through his generous contributions. But what he did on Dec. 30 was highly inappropriate, to put it mildly.

Over the years, the Cheers organizers sometimes allowed politicians to speak on stage; there was a time during the stint of Virac Mayor Cito Alberto when then Congressman Jun Verceles broke into a show to greet his constituents. But such incidents were few and far between. And using the occasion to harangue one’s adversary never happened.

That Santiago’s unexpected attack could be repeated in the next Cheers is the least of our worries, as the veteran organizers certainly know how to handle the matter. What we should fear is the deterioration of the political situation in Catanduanes into a spectacle of politicians throwing unimaginable dirt at each other, to the detriment of voters who should instead be treated to a sober discussion of vital issues of poverty, graft and corruption, mining and environmental issues, and effective governance.

But then, when did the Catandunganon electorate mature enough to consider the candidates’ qualifications, not the color of his money? The May 2010 local elections is bound to be no better than its predecessors, a choice between evils, given the preponderance of candidates with scandalously large pockets and a similarly huge addiction to power.

All we can ask for then is some peace and an atmosphere that would allow voters to sift through dirt and find some grains of gold. Let us therefore ask our local leaders and those aspiring to replace them not to make the situation any worse than it already is.

Source: Editorial, Catanduanes Tribune - 09 January 2010