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Opinion

Election violence in Cebu

STRAWS IN THE WIND - STRAWS IN THE WIND By Eladio Dioko -
As the election fever rises, a series of violent incidents have rocked the country. Mostly politically motivated, per assessment by the PNP, these happenings have given the country a black eye in the international community. Democracy which is supposed to have been embedded as an ideal among our people suffers a set back. The consequence is without doubt far reaching, especially upon our socio-economic life.

Tourism of course becomes the first casualty. In a country where salvaging is a frequent event, who would dare venture? Foreign investments too get a douse of cold water. For who would waste his money in a place where respect for human life is a joke? The reign of justice and peace is a pre-condition to a successful entrepreneurship. Without it no economy survives.

Cebu is supposed to be one of the most peaceful places in the country - even during elections. The Cebuanos are supposed to be mature enough in their game of politics, after all, their level of literary is high. Their level of development too in education, trade and commerce and other socio-economic endeavors is above par compared to other places in the country. In governance - are not Cebuano leaders known for their drive, dynamism and discretion?

When a spate of killings broke out in other places (the day-light shooting of a congressman in front of a church in Manila, the assassination of a mayor in Pangasinan, and other such bloody mayhems), we told ourselves that such happenings were not likely to take place in this land of the Bisdaks. But we were wrong. The slaying of mayoralty candidate Rogelio Illustrisimo Sr. last week proved us wrong. An isolated incident, some observers appraised the event. Perhaps, but the gruesomeness of the act carried out in broad daylight right in the Capitol compound shocks the senses.

In the last three decades political rivalries in Cebu have not been as intense as in other areas in the country. Election seasons here had as usual been spiked with a number of bloody incidents, but their number was limited and their players were low-profile personalities, hence, these were looked upon as tolerable happenings. With the Illustrisimo killing, a new dimension of election violence - this time involving key candidates - has materialized. Is this the start of more election salvaging in these parts?

Our hope, of course, is pinned on the police authorities. If they can pinpoint the culprit, not just the gunman but those behind him, and eventually have our justice system work its way on this case, the Cebuanos would be extremely grateful. But the PNP cannot do its work without the cooperation of those who witnessed that dastardly act. Happily as of this writing a witness has surfaced. With a big reward money dangled by the Cebu City and provincial governments other witnesses might also materialize and help solve this case.

Solving the case of course would not bring back the life of the victim. But it will at least assuage the grief of those close to him and of his followers. It will also show to all and sundry that crime does not pay and that in a civilized society like Cebu there''s no place for violence, elections or no elections.

In the meantime there is a need for every citizen to heed the Church''s call for prayers. More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of, says a poet. The Church of course has its faith bedrocked upon Jesus Christ who assures his faithfuls thus: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you… let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid". If the candidates only listen to these words, they would not be troubled no matter what the outcome is at the polls. And there would be peace.

Peace is what every Cebuano should pray for and pray hard. Side by side with efforts to closely watch the poll proceedings Church groups should storm the heavens with calls for divine intervention. Somewhere in the Good Book is a line which runs something like this: Unless the Lord watches the city in vain are the efforts of the watch men.
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Email: [email protected]

CEBU

CEBU CITY

CEBUANO

CEBUANOS

GOOD BOOK

JESUS CHRIST

PEACE I

ROGELIO ILLUSTRISIMO SR.

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