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Jun, John and Dodo defy feudal politics
17 March 1998 Sun Star

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  The May 1 political exercise is a significant one from a historical point of view. Not that this has not been done before, but rather because the battle is to be waged within the arena of feudal political domains. Jun Lozada in the Neg. Occ. 5th district, Dodo Bustamante in the 4th district and John Orola in Bacolod City are facing the domain of the traditional political families, political money patrons or their sub-alterns, the last being a battle of proxies who can be manipulated, ordered, or used to utilize the government power to protect or enhance vested interests.
In Jun and Dodo’s fields of battle, they are ranged against hacienda power centers which had for generations dictated the political agenda in this province. In the past, political warlords, generally owners of large sugar estates, had their sub-alterns or candidates from the non-hacienda areas, run for public office because more often than not, the hacienderos were loathe to campaign when the campaign style that emerged in the 1950s demanded that they come over to the electorates, personally ask for their votes, shake their hands or kiss the babies. I remember clearly how Jose Yulo, of the Negros landed gentry, was clobbered here in Negros because of the report that he washed his hands with alcohol after shaking hands with ordinary folks.
Modesto Sa-OnoyJun comes from the hacienda worker’s family, pulled himself from the mires of poverty through hardwork, determination, patience, and an intellect that he harnessed to the full. Fighting the gauntlet of poverty, he succeeded, becoming a diplomat and later member for the Cabinet, without much fanfare or ego-tripping. But remembering his past and the thousands of young people that could have been given the same chance as he had but for the stifling hacienda environment and failure of the hacienda class in the halls of government to improve the lot of the ordinary people, he came back, shedding off the luxury and comfort of a successful man and chose to become the voice and real representative who will work for his people.
Ranged against Jun are candidates of landed families whose claim to represent the teeming masses is their being landed. There is nothing wrong with being landed and being a congressman, but Jun’s opponents have all been tested as representatives of the 5th district and were found extremely wanting even for that lower office. Maybe because they represented their own class rather than the masses?
Jun, John and Dodo are fighting entrenched hacienda and vested interest groups of feudal politics whose claim to power is their being landed or rich to finance the candidacy of their hirelings.

The same thing with Dodo Bustamante who is facing another symbol of the landed class whose performance had been found wanting and, worse, exhibited traits of an hacendero of the ancient past even to these days. Dodo is given little chance by some, but Dodo believes the people deserve someone with professional and intellectual competence to stand and represent them in Congress. His chances are, in fact, getting better these days because he goes down into the by-ways of the district and immerses himself with the people who now see him as a way out of feudal politics.
John Orola is also fighting against hacienda votes and entrenched political machineries that had rotated in holding power in Bacolod. These machineries also arose from feudal politics that collaborated with urban economic interests. John embodies a new breed of politician who has a clear program of legislation and action which are missing among the urban feudal politicians who still make the same trite promises they never fulfill when they win. They have only their own, their patrons or financiers’ interests at heart.

Modesto Sa-Onoy

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