Cavite Politics: A Conspiracy of Betrayal
[By Gen. Rogelio A. Pureza (MNSA) & Danilo P. Cruz]
“There is no place for any loose stone in God’s edifice.” — J. Hall
LIKE LOOSE STONES, politicians whose interests are for their personal benefits alone should not merit any place in nation-building. More so, the wrath of heaven should fall on anyone who would make politics their passport for personal aggrandizement.
The obscene irresponsibility of those who pretend to serve the people, coupled with the immoral performance of their sworn duty to serve, render nugatory the concept of public service — as defined and practiced by the authors of democratic republicanism. And the concept of vox populi, vox dei becomes an illusory theory thereof insofar as most of those elected by the people (by whatever means) have misunderstood the meaning of public service.
To this day some people still fear that current Justice Secretary Boying Remulla may move mountains to clear his son Juanito Jose Diaz Remulla III of marijuana importation charges. He is just taking his time, they say following President Bongbong Marcos Jr. decision for him to stay on as justice secretary. They say this despite Remulla’s repeated assurances before local and foreign media that resignation “never” crossed his mind following his son’s arrest. “I wish my son a path to redemption.” But a lot of people find it hard to believe, so everyone is keenly watching how this saga will end.
It is in this context that Cavite politics is to be discussed.
The golden era of delicadeza and palabra de honor, principio and usapang lalaki may be traced back to the intense rivalry, albeit violent, era of the Dominador Camerino vs. Justiniano Montano battle for political supremacy in Cavite in 1940-70.
It was during this seesawing battle for leadership of the two groups that gave real meaning to the dangal and giting of Caviteños exemplified by the leadership of General Emilio Aguinaldo. Then, ang pangako ay isang sumpa, and kataksilan sa kasama is even punishable by death!
And so, Cavite politics was centered on the integrity and unquestionable pagkalalaki of the two opposing political leadership. Walang iwanan! Walang kataksilan! You either belong to the Camerino or Montano camp. Political parties are only incidental, even if there were only the Liberal and Nacionalista parties existing at that time.
A Change of Political Scenario
The declaration of martial law in 1972 effectively muzzled the electorate’s freedom of choice. While Lino Bocalan was elected governor in 1971, he was incarcerated and removed from office in 1972. The Montanos left for the US while Camerino, who was elected vice governor, assumed the governorship.
Upon the death of Camerino in 1979, Juanito Remulla, a former Montano follower, was appointed governor, a position he assumed until 1986 when Marcos Sr. was overthrown during the EDSA People Power Revolution. Fernando Campos, winner in the 1961 congressional elections of the then lone district of Cavite, was appointed governor by President Cory Aquino, but did not run for reelection.
During the 1988 elections, by a strange twist of fate, Remulla was handpicked by Peping Cojuangco, Cory’s brother, as Cory’s anointed and was reelected governor. In the succeeding mid-term elections of 1995, former National Bureau of Investigation Chief Epimaco Velasco was elected governor, ending Remulla’s 20-year reign at the helm of Cavite politics.
Velasco did not run for reelection and in his stead, his vice governor, Bong Revilla, ran and won the governorship in 1998. In 2001, Ayong Maliksi, a protégé of Remulla and former Imus mayor, snatched the governorship from Revilla and was reelected in 2004 and 2007. Meanwhile, Maliksi has turned his back against the Remullas and became bitter political enemies. Maliksi bolted the Magdalo provincial party of Remulla and joined the Liberal Party Atienza wing while Remulla joined the Nacionalista party of then Senator Manny Villar.
Reports had it that Maliksi reneged on his commitment to Jonvic Remulla, his vice governor, to succeed him. Their differences even reached the Court and an intense political rivalry ensued.
Meanwhile, Elpidio Barzaga, three times defeated mayoralty candidate of Dasmariñas, finally won as mayor under the Lakas-CMD political party of President Fidel Valdez Ramos, together with Epi Velasco as governor in the 1995 mid-term elections. Thereafter, he was reelected and became the incumbent congressman of the 2nd congressional district.
The action star Bong Revilla, on the other hand, was elected senator in 2004 and still in that position despite plunder charges against him while Barzaga is congressman still of the newly-created lone district of Dasmariñas and his wife Jenny now Dasmariñas city mayor.
Conspiracy of Betrayal
To this day, political horse trading and compromises became the name of the game. Gone was the time-honored tradition of isang salita at walang iwanan. Kanya-kanya and lamangan replaced the culture of loyalty ng marangal na Caviteño.
1. Trece Martirez City Mayor Jun de Sagun, undefeated in three terms, who ran and won as FVR Lakas-CMD, threw his hat in the gubernatorial race in 2008 but, for one reason or another, the provincial leadership of the merged Lakas-Kampi-CMD under Senator Bong Revilla and Rep. Pidi Barzaga refused to sanction his bid.
2. Instead, Barzaga, without the delicadeza nor the courtesy of resigning from Lakas-Kampi-CMD, supported the Liberal Party group of Gov. Ayong Maliksi whose presidential candidate is Noynoy Aquino, Gibo Teodoro’s rival candidate, on whose political party Barzaga then belonged. Openly, Barzaga rooted for the Liberal Party candidates: Osboy Campaña for governor and Recto Cantimbuhan for vice governor, together with the other municipal and city candidates of the party. Adding insult to injury, Barzaga ran as congressman under Lakas-Kampi-CMD together with his wife Jenny as Dasmariñas mayor
What is abhorrent is that Barzaga retained his identity and chairmanship of the administration party Lakas-Kampi-CMD while openly campaigning and supporting the candidacy of Noynoy Aquino of the Liberal Party, a clear case of having his cake and eating it too. We leave this to the patriotic Caviteños to register their sense of violation.
Please note that Barzaga became mayor and was resurrected from the ignominy of his three defeats through the efforts and sacrifices of the men and women of FVR Lakas-CMD in 1995.
We’ve been vastly amused over the past couple of weeks over talk about this and that Caviteño being the “new General Emilio Aguinaldo of Cavite.” My amusement positively reached stratospheric heights when a young writer named the protagonists now to be the new Caviteño leader as either one of the Remullas, Bong Revilla, Pidi Barzaga, and Francis Tolentino. ###