Between Caminero’s Argao and Cesante’s Dalaguete

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez - The Freeman

This is another Tale of Two Cities, or I should say, the two future cities of Argao and Dalaguete, which are both first-class municipalities today. This is also the story of two outstanding and first-class gentlemen who are both my friends, Cong. Willy Caminero of Argao and Mayor Cesante of Dumaguete. I hated the day when they became aspirants for the same position.

The political struggle between my two friends is being perceived by political pundits as a close contest between Argao and Dalaguete. Both Cong. Willy and Mayor Ronnie are honorable public officials. They are both good men with dreams for the district. But the way I see it, Cong. Willy will be reelected. I am sad that the good mayor of Dalaguete will have to wait for another time, albeit Ronnie would be a very good congressman once the incumbent shall have completed his three consecutive terms.

Argao, by the census in 2015, had a population of 72,366 and a voting populace of 45,139. By educated estimate, Argao’s total population by now should be around 75,000 and its voters calculated to be about 46,000. Dalaguete in 2015 had a population of 67,497 and voters numbering 35,658. So after four years from the 2015 census, Dalaguete's population must be approaching 70,500 and voters about 37,000. By this alone, Willy has the advantage assuming that the Argawanons will continue to carry him.

But Willy has been in power too long enough for many of his former supporters now are going the other way. In Argao, Edsel Galeos, the very rich contractor, and the Sesaldos are no longer with him. The Kintanars are not with him anymore. At least, not all of them. Edsel and the Sesaldos are with the opposing camp led by Ronnie Cesante. Also, the candidacy of Cora Lou Kintanar will definitely divide the Argao vote, and that would be a good news for Ronnie. However, being the incumbent, Willy enjoys the distinct advantage.

Besides, Willy is allied with Governor Junjun Davide, who is highly beloved in Argao. The governor's father, Hilario Gilbolingo Davide Jr., has made Argao very proud as the hometown of a chief justice, a Comelec chairman, a delegate to the 1973 Constitutional Commission, and a commissioner of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. He was also an Ambassador Extraordinary Plenipotentiary to the United Nations and a Magsaysay awardee, like his brother. Willy Caminero is a barrio boy like the former chief justice, and his association with the Davides makes him even closer to the people in the villages.

Ronnie Cesante has a very beautiful vision for the district, but Cong Willy is like a Sali-argao plant which is difficult to uproot. Besides, Ronnie's bet for governor is not much loved in the second district, unlike Davide who is the darling of the masses in the south. Davide's support for Cong Willy assures the latter's reelection.

Mark my word: both Cong. Willy and Junjun will win. In Argao, in the second district, and in Cebu.


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