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Bustamante - The maverick
 
14 May 1998 Visayan Daily Star

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    When Alfredo Bustamante announced he was taking on Pontevedra Mayor Charlie Cojuangco in Negros Occidental's Fourth District, that was greeted with comments of a "David challenging Goliath." But Dodo never had second thoughts about it.
Rolly L. Espina    During the campaign period, I kept monitoring Dodo. And there were tales from people of the Fourth District of having espied him wielding the hammer himself in putting up his posters, using paint and brush to paste his propaganda materials, driving his own car and doing a lot of the nitty-gritty chores for rallies.
    Gradually, Bustamante seems to have touched public sympathy. Later, as hinted in a previous column, there were reports of an increasing groundswell of support for the PROMDI bet's quixotic venture. And protest votes were promised for Bustamante.
    Now a lot of those who used to deride the maverick politico are wondering whether Bustamante has succeeded in grabbing a sizable number of votes in his bid against Pontevedra Mayor Charlie Cojuangco. The initial reports showed him having garnered 10,724 votes against Cojuangco's 12,461.
    Few predict Dodo could ultimately upend Charlie. But they consider the votes that he drew as a signal that there is an underlying cadre of Fourth District voters who want to serve notice that they are not to be taken for granted, that they are a force to reckon with.
    Bustamante was never a political heavy weight. But definitely his stature rose as a maverick who remains unfazed by formidable odds. What many had dubbed as a rash venture may have transformed Dodo into a political figure to be reckoned with in the future.

Rolly L. Espina


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