Something Wicked in the State of Dumangas
The low day and dirty election tactics in Dumangas
23rd May 2007
Mayor Roland "Roly" Distura was the incumbent mayor of Dumangas. He had served the maximum of three terms under Filipino law and had to move on. All the members sat down and decided that the current Vice Mayor would be the best person to take over the mayoralty. Onal Golez, a local celebrity and councilor, backed the decision.
Now Mayor Roly had decided to run for congressman, which is the next step up the political ladder. He was to run against a guy called Ferj Biron. Ferj Biron has a crap load of money. The battle for congressman was going to be a battle between Ferj Biron's money and Roland Distura's popularity.
Ferj Biron wanted a presence in Dumangas - someone to campaign on his behalf, so rumor has it (and I believe it) is that he gave Onal Golez one million pesos (about $30,000 New Zealand dollars) to run for mayor. Onal took the money, went back on his word and went head-to-head against the current vice mayor.
What ended up happening? Well, popularity is one thing, but money is another.
Both Roland Distura and the current vice mayor got steamrolled by Ferj Biron's money. Ferj Biron retained his seat and Onal Golez became mayor because they bought a crap load of votes.
A strange upside to this sorry tale is that is opens the door (just a little) for CERV, the volunteer organization I work for, to return to Dumangas. We clashed with Mayor Roland Distura and we were never going to return while he was in power. Now, with Onal Golez in power, there is a chance we can return. Firstly though, CERV needs more volunteers, which is something I hope to help with when I return.
2005, 2006 and 2007 Malcolm Trevena.