Except for the unsavory radio commentaries we had to endure for the last several months, Negros Oriental just saw one spectacular election. We were practically looking at a fight between David and two Goliaths.
Amid all the rumors that some political parties were spending millions for the voters, the weakest candidate in terms of resources and machinery, Gov. Roel Degamo, staged a poll upset by beating the well-oiled campaigns of former Finance Sec. Gary Teves and Congresswoman Josy Sy-Limkaichong.
Limkaichong earned a reputation as a “dragon-slayer,” having put an end to the 27-year grip of the Paras brothers in the 1st District. Of course, Teves, three-term congressman and former finance secretary, is no pushover either. With the backing of his father Miniong, Teves seemed to have a hidden ace up his sleeve. Both Teves and Limkaichong had strong financial backers and were even campaigning in style by taking the art of campaigning to new heights — through helicopters.
Comparing all three candidates, Degamo is the political newcomer, who was elected as Provincial Board Member but ascended to the governorship because of the deaths of two governors before him.
Degamo’s strength was apparently the endorsement of both the Protestant and Roman Catholic Church, which went unnoticed by the political scanners of the dominant political parties.
This is unprecedented insofar as Negros Oriental elections are concerned. Atty. Juvenal Tuale, the provincial election supervisor, tried to put things in perspective by quoting Ecclesiastes 9:11: “… The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.”
Being at the right place at the right time. That, according to King Solomon, as recorded in the Book of Ecclesiastes, is the key to winning an election.
Elections are over and Degamo is the man of the hour. Let’s give him the chance to prove himself. As the governed, it is our duty to help the elected officials by holding them accountable to their promises vis-a-vis their performance.