Praying for H.O.P.E.

BAR NONE - Atty. Ian Vincent Manticajon - The Freeman

It’s decision day on Monday, May 9. No matter what the results will be in next week’s elections, we pray that it will be an honest, orderly, and peaceful elections, whose acronym H.O.P.E. I often hear in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s when I was a kid.

In the 1980’s, elections were always a tense time for our family. My mother was an election officer assigned in the town of Aloguinsan in the early to mid-‘80’s before being transferred to Consolacion after the EDSA Revolution where she served as election officer until her optional retirement in 1998.

Those who lived during those times in the ‘80’s under the Marcos regime know that Cebu was not spared of attempts by politicians to cheat and use violence during elections. I remember one time when mama went home to the city unscheduled from her election assignment in Aloguinsan.

The story I heard was that violence erupted in the town and she had to jump over a fence at the municipal hall to escape from the melee as gunshots rang out. If memory serves me right, the next day uniformed men came knocking on our door at Casals Village in Mabolo. I guess she was ordered to report back to duty, with more protection this time.

If someone tells me now that the Marcos period was the golden years, I would tell that person to study his or her history. No one was really spared from the economic crisis and social instability of that period, even if you had well-placed friends and relatives from both ends of the political spectrum.

There were times that the family conversation touched upon the risks of the job of my mother in Comelec. She once confided to my father about the real dangers of doing her job right and on staying true to her mandate. My father, ever a serious man, told her that he can face the possibility of becoming a widower if that’s the price of his wife doing her job right.  My mother, ever the comedian, quipped: “Then buy me a new set (pair) of panties, dear.” Morbid as it may seem, she had already imagined the embarrassment of lying dead or unconscious in an old, tattered pair of undies.

After the EDSA Revolution, my mother was assigned as election officer of Consolacion town. Those were already peaceful times in Cebu, though politicians still pulled some tricks to make an election officer’s work challenging. I’m proud to say my mother stayed true to her mandate to give the people in her town of assignment an honest, orderly, and peaceful election.

On the wall in our house in Catmon today hangs a plaque showing a town council bi-partisan resolution unanimously adopted by all the local legislators of Consolacion recognizing Election Officer Corazon Sususco Cavada Manticajon for her fair and excellent handling of the town election. Beside that plaque is a laminated article of The FREEMAN written by Jose “Pepe” Sollano regarding the adoption of the town resolution (by the way, my mother is a fan of this column).

Cebu elections post-EDSA had since then been generally peaceful and orderly. Except in 2019 local election in Cebu City when various reports of harassments made against allies and supporters of then mayor Tomas Osmeña marred the elections. The city police, instead of being perceived as neutral for H.O.P.E, were perceived to be on top of partisan hounding. That was, for me, the lowest point in Cebu’s post-EDSA electoral history.

Here’s praying for enough brave and decent men and women in law enforcement, DepEd, and the Comelec to bring H.O.P.E. on Monday.


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