|Now is the time to look back to the respective performance
of our top provincial and municipal officials, if only to determine who
among these fellows still deserve the public's trust. In this respect,
it is fair to ask whether the actual performance of Cong. Joseph Santiago
during his first three years in office has made any impact on his constituents.
In the same manner, it is only fair to rate the actual performance of
incumbent Governor Jun Verceles (including his adversaries at the SP headed
by Vice-Gov. Cesar Sarmiento) if we are to arrive at a logical idea of
the present crop of politicians reigning in our benighted province. To
be blunt about it, there is nothing about Cong. Santiago's alleged performance
that entitles him to deserve another time.
Hain na so mga ipinangako kaini sa sato? Hain na so mga public school
buildings? Hain na so mga concreting? Hain na so mga livelihood projects?
Hain na so mga baratong bolong? Hain na so pig-aapod niyang tunay na pagsierbe
sa Inang Catandungan? Where, in other words, have these lofty promises
gone during the first three years of his power and influence as Representative
of the Lone District of Catanduanes?
What Catandunganons would remember as Cong. Santiago's legacy to the province
were his relentless effort to subvert and destabilize the Verceles administration
through his running dogs in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Through Vice-Gov. Sarmiento, Cong. Santiago succeeded in depriving the
province of the most vital and urgently-needed solution to the long-term
power crisis way back in 2001. In fact, it was the Santiago camp who conspired
and resurrected the most vindictive and counter-productive style of trapo-politics
the province has ever seen: the recall move against the incumbent governor!
Meanwhile, what has Cong. Santiago done to improve the lot of his suffering
constituents? Virtually nothing!
In fact, most, if not all, of the concrete road projects now credited
to his name all over the province were in truth merely realigned projects
originally initiated by Gov. Jun Verceles during his last term as Congressman.
Cong. Santiago, together with his cohorts in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan,
will have a hard time explaining to the electorates their mediocre performance
in public office. As for Gov. Verceles, his unassailable track record
as public servant can speak for itself. If a question boils down to who
among our leaders deserve another term, Catandunganons would still go
for Verceles instead of Santiago.
Now that the much-vaunted Third Force of alleged billionaire Cenon Traballo
has been written off by respectable local organizers as "clinically
dead" - the ball is back to square one, as far as this corner is