Cebu Reporter's Blog

A reporter's ramblings on the latest news and happenings in Cebu

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cebu's Hot Election

I was one of the first few journalists who arrived at the scene where Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island mayoral candidate Rogelio Ilustrisimo Sr. was gunned down. It was right infront of the Comelec provincial office located inside the Cebu Provincial Capitol grounds.

Ilustrisimo had two gunshot wounds on the forehead, apparently inflicted by a gun marksman who was waiting for the mayoral bet at the parking area infront of the Comelec Office. The Cebu Provincial Capitol compound is heavily secured by blue guards, policemen, and even soldiers but as to how the gunman was able to sneak in the .45 caliber gun, shot the mayoral bet in broad daylight, and then escape unnoticed, i don't want to know.

What bothers me most is the fact that the Comelec has now placed under it's control the entire island of Bantayan because of the series of political violence that has taken place the past days. Bantayan Island is a laidback, quite, and unmodern island located at the northern most tip of Cebu. Sta. Fe town, one of the three towns in Bantayan Island, is a low class municipality (no offense to the residents there) and I believe its IRA is too low to buy a luxury car or gargantuan house and lot.

Why then do politicians in the Island resort to violence to ensure a seat in the local government? Just recently the police intercepted and arrested five armed men who later turned out to be civilian body guards of the incumbent mayor of another Bantayan Island town. What is with this island that politicians are willing to commit a crime just to get the votes of the residents?

Is it because Bantayan Island is surrounded by still undeveloped white sandy shores that reeks of multi-million development potentials? Or is it because the seawaters of the island has become a home of several species of marine life that have been the target of illegal fishing (commercial and low-time)?

Whatever the reason behind the election violence that are taking place in the island, I just hope that the residents will use their wits and reasons in electing the right leaders. Otherwise, the cycle of violence will continue, hindering the development of Bantayan Island.

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