TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte — The 40-year Floirendo-Del Rosario dynasty in this province has finally ended following the clan’s sweeping defeat in the midterm elections on Monday.
In the congressional race, Gov. Anthony del Rosario and Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. were beaten by Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez and Vice Gov. Aldu Dujal.
Meanwhile, Alvarez’s chief of staff Edwin Jubahib pounded Rodolfo del Rosario Jr. in the gubernatorial battle.
Outside the city hall of Tagum, sweeper Rose Marie Cagaton was all smiles due to the outcome of the polls.
“Masaya kami kasi ang dami namang hindi nila naitulong dito sa Tagum City. Nu’ng namatayan kami, sabihin lang nila na, ‘Wala kaming pera, balik na lang kayo bukas.’ Tapos ‘yung ospital, malaki binabayaran namin noon; manghingi kami sa kanila, wala silang maibigay,” she said of the previous administration.
(We are happy because they did not help us much here in Tagum City. When we were bereaved, they would tell us, ‘We do not have money, just come back tomorrow.’ Then we pay a lot in the hospital; when we ask for help, they could not hand a cent.)
Maricel Aton, a janitor, said she is also delighted to see new faces in the provincial level, noting that it was Alvarez, as congressman in the 1st district, who helped her in the hospitalization of her mother.
“I am really happy because the administration has changed,” she said in Visayan language.
Alvarez and Jubahib’s victory came notwithstanding a fresh graft and plunder complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against them over alleged receipt of kickbacks from government projects and use of government funds to buy vehicles, parcels of land and a resort on Samal island.
President Rodrigo Duterte also opted to support Gov. Del Rosario over Alvarez.
Gov. Del Rosario is a cousin of Rep. Floirendo, whose friendship with Alvarez went sour over political and womanizing squabbles.
Floirendo was officially the biggest donor in then Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte's presidential campaign in 2016
Political observer Mervin Jay Suaybaguio of University of Mindanao said it was apparent that people are tired of “kings” and that their desire for change overpowered other issues.
Floirendo and Del Rosario, the professor pointed out, have both also been accused of corruption.
“Although ‘yung mga Dutertes, influential sa mga tao sa Davao, pero in our case sa Davao del Norte, parang it doesn’t matter na kasi ‘yung mga tao, ‘yung drive nila is talagang to change the system,” he said.
(Although the Dutertes are influential to people in Davao, but in our case in Davao del Norte, it seems that it doesn’t matter because the drive of people is to really change the system.)
Suaybaguio added: “They want to change the rulers in Davao del Norte because they want something new.”
Meanwhile, sociologist Robert Mendoza of Manila Tytana Colleges, surmised that there is a prevailing thinking of “pagkasawa at pagkalibang,” which, he said, is common among millennials.
“‘Yun ang nananaig na pananaw at ugali sa pagboto ng mga mamamayan lalo sa lokal, ‘pagka ayaw na nila, ayaw na nila,” the professor said.
(That is the prevailing vision and attitude of people when voting especially in local level, if they no longer want, they no longer want.)
Mendoza noted that this thinking is unprecedented.
“Ngayon lang tumitindi ang konseptong ito na kapag may mga bagay na madali mong kunin, at ‘pag ayaw mo na, madali mo ring itapon,” he explained.
(It is only now that this concept arises that you can easily get something, then you also easily dump it.)