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Dodo, the Challenger
15 March 1998 Sun Star

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  TUGUIS ODYSSEY. Political maneuverings have been carried out by candidates to ensure that they coast along easily in the forthcoming May 11 elections.
Among the areas where this is being done is the fourth district where Pontevedra Mayor Charlie Cojuangco is running virtually unopposed, when his probable opponent, Arsenio "Bucan" Yulo, a formidable one because he belongs to the clan which wield political power in Bago City and in the district, backed out after the horsetrading between the Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition and the LAKAS-NUCD leaders. 
Edgar CadagatThis leave Charlie without any opponent from LAKAS-NUCD. Although, some reports said, the powerful sugar planters’ bloc in the area would field Bob Vuenca, it might not be the case. But those who think they have it easy should have second thoughts once they know whom Charlie Cojuangco is up against. 
Without much fanfare, Dodo Bustamante launched his candidacy January 21 in Barangay Tuguis, Pontevedra, which shares a boundary with Barangay Tuguis, Hinigaran town which was holding a fiesta that day. 
As everybody knows, Barangay Tuguis or Hacienda Tuguis is owned by the Colmenares family which is considered patrons in the area. 
That evening, we attended the fiesta celebration where dyEZ’s Fred Salanga was the speaker for the proclamation of the fiesta queen. 
MESMERIZED BY DODO? We had accompanied Dodo Bustamante to the launching in the quiet village where the local Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer was holding a meeting after the members of the Kauswagan Multi-Purpose Cooperative, held their own meeting to discuss coop affairs. 
The coop members were previously hacienda hands in the land covering 82 hectares owned by the Bustamante family. 
"I convinced family members that we should have our land parceled out under the government's CARP program because landowners have been considered oppressors", Dodo Bustamante said while on board the Pajero which he said he 
borrowed from an uncle. 
For him (Bustamante), like Bacolod City congressionable John Orola, there is no turning back. It's no retreat, no surrender for him. So, if Charlie Cojuangco thinks he has it easier, he has another thing coming. 

He was helping the workers with their cooperative because through it, he believed they would be emancipated eventually. 
He had organized the coop himself which now had a savings of P714,448.71. Like many landowners during their peak, the NPAs had burned the hacienda house and had once accosted him, but he had nothing to hide. 
Dodo said he felt a sense of mission, the reason why he decided to climb up the political ring, saying that if he were not cheated through dagdag-bawas tactics, he would win hands down in Pontevedra, Charlie's bailiwick. When he decided to run, he did so as part of his commitment to change things and he was never after the money or personal gain. 
NOW HIS TIME. Relating how he came to this momentous and historic decision to contest the political post in the fourth district, Dodo said he had a tiff with Leandro Vasquez, the Cuban adviser of PHILSUCOM-NASUTRA chairman Roberto S. Benedicto, an uncle who was his boss in New York then. He had heated confrontation with Vasquez whom he berated for making wrong decisions on sugar matters. 
During his confrontation with Vasquez, RSB stopped him cold with an admonition to "wait for your time". 
"I have been waiting for my time since then, up to the period when President Corazon Aquino was in power, when President Fidel Ramos took power, and then now". 
"Now is my time, I can do better than anybody else", Dodo intoned. 
Relating how he had meet Charlie's wife, Rio Diaz, during the birthday party of Mrs. Nelly Montilla Lovina, mother of COFA honcho Noni Lovina, Dodo said he was further buoyed up when the former told him thus, "after meeting you, I am now confused whom I will vote for." 
For him, like Bacolod City congressionable John Orola, there is no turning back. Its no retreat, no surrender for him. 
So, if Charlie Cojuangco thinks ha has it easier, he has another thing coming. 
Here come Dodo B. 

Edgar Cadagat

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