The exciting political slugfest in Cebu's new 7th district
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - December 8, 2015 - 9:00am

Although I was born in Argao, I grew up in Langin, Ronda and my father is from Dumanjug. Thus, I have always been a voter in the old sixth congressional district then composed of Toledo City, Aloguinsan, Pinamungajan, Barili, Dumanjug, and Ronda. That district used to be dominated by a fiery, diminutive congressman, Manuel Zosa, or Don Maning, from Barili,  the father of the 1972 delegate to the Constitutional Convention Francis Zosa. Maning Zosa was an ally of Don Ramon Durano. The Durano-Zosa-Dumon triumvirate with Congressman Tereso Dumon of the old seventh district in the north was the alliance that always gave the late Serging Osmeña a big headache in Cebu. Ronda was the smallest town in that district as Alcantara was the smallest in the old fifth, then dominated by Don Miguel, Don Manuel, and Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco, later by Tony Cuenco who transferred to the old third, and was beaten by Cong EddieGul by 16 votes.

Then came the 1987 Constitution that made Ronda and Dumanjug and all the towns of the old fifth district components of the new second district, from Alcantara in the southwest all the way round south to Argao in the southeast. That configuration was the intellectual creation of then Constitutional Commissioner Hilario Davide Jr, lumping together fifteen towns, which used to be the fourth congressional district dominated by Congressman Isidro Kintanar of Argao, which was called SAAD (Sibonga, Argao, Alcoy, and Dalaguete.) Sibonga became part of the first district, now represented by the Gullases, then Congressman Eddiegul and now his grandson, Cong. Samsam. The second district was too big that it was necessary to separate the southwestern towns from the southeastern municipalities. Some called it Davide meandering, a derivative of the US ''gerrymandering." But I called it a blessing that my town of birth, Argao, and my official town, Ronda, as well as my father's home, Dumanjug, were altogether in one district.

As of today, the second district is reduced to seven towns, which can now be called by the acronym SAADBOS (or Samboan, Argao, Alcoy, Dalaguete, Boljoon, Oslob, and Santander). The new seventh district in the west can be called DR MAMBAG (Dumanjug, Ronda, Moalboal, Alcantara, Malabuyoc, Badian, Alegria, and Ginatilan).This configuration is by virtue of Republic Act 10684, signed by President PNoy, which came from the Senate bill sponsored by Senator Ferdinand R Marcos Jr and the House Bill co-authored by Representatives Willy Caminero, Gwendolyn Garcia, Benhur Salimbangon, and Aileen Radaza. This was originally filed by then Congressman Pabling Garcia but he was beaten by Cong Willy in 2013. The Garcias and Cong Willy are one on this for their own respective political convenience, of course. Call it Garciamandering or Caminerondering, this is all politics. Public interest has nothing to do with it.

Today, the son of Cong Pabling, Pablo John (Fourth placer in the Bar of 1994 ) is running for congressman in the new district against Cong Willy's ally, lawyer Peter John  Calderon (eleventh placer of the 1998 Bar), scion of the late Tito Calderon and his wife, a daughter of Don Ramon Durano. This will be a very interesting fight between two bar topnotchers and scions of big political families. Peter John is a former Mayor of Samboan and a former member of the Provincial Board. Pablo John was a congressman of the third district and was defeated by now Governor Hilario P Davide III in 2013. It was a bad year for the Garcias when both Cong Pabling and Cong Pablo John lost to two LP stalwarts from Argao, Gov Junjun and Cong Willy. Argao is three times bigger than Dumanjug. Next year, if Badian, Moalboal, and Alegria could give Calderon a big majority, Garcia will lose the fight even if he wins in Dumanjug. The LP and the Davide factor may help Calderon a lot.

josephusbjimenez@gmail.com

AILEEN RADAZA ALCOY ARGAO CONG CONG WILLY DISTRICT DON RAMON DURANO DUMANJUG PABLO JOHN PETER JOHN RONDA
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