by Sunday Post
Two new entrants are joining the ranks of city mayoralty hopefuls after City Councilor John Geesnell “Baba” Yap and Dr. Abe Lim. Although Yap is yet to make up his mind, it was bruited around this early in the game that he is casting a moist eye to succeed his uncle City Mayor Dan Neri Lim. There’s no question that another uncle, Dr. Abe, has already manifested his desire to run for mayor after consultations with his US-based family. He also made consultations with barangay leaders allied with the camp of incumbent Mayor Lim and the reception was said to be encouraging. The two other wannabes are former vice mayor Jose Antonio Veloso and lawyer Augustinus “Dodong” Gonzaga. Both Gonzaga and Veloso were interviewed last week in the top-rated radio program “Cuentas Claras”.
In separate interviews, Gonzaga said he has decided to make a crack of the ciy mayoralty after being assured of the top guns of the Liberal Party. Gonzaga said he was banking on the support of Senator Franklin Drilon, a close associate. Gonzaga, a former city councilor in the 80’s, is the deputy secretary-general of the law department of the Commission on Appointments. With this impressive credential, Gonzaga believes that he can clinch the nomination of the Liberal Party in this city. Drilon is a stalwart of the LP. However, if he fails to wrest control of the LP nomination, Gonzaga said he’d rather choose not to run. The top city post is up for grabs for new pretenders after the incumbent is barred from seeking reelection for completing the three-term limit. As for Veloso, “ it is the die cast” according to a press release. Sure of his plan to run, the former vice mayor said “my leaders are kept posted making my decision definite to seek the city mayoralty seat in next year’s election.” In another media interview, Veloso said the incumbent last-termer mayor is out by 2013 and there’s no better time for a mayoralty run than new year’s elections to restore dignity and competence at city hall.
Tagbilaranons know fully well how the city has been mismanaged and the silent majority are just too eager for the ultimate right moment to come, his supporters said. Veloso expressed full trust in the political maturity and intelligence of the city constituents even if last-termer Mayor Dan Lim seems hell-bent to perpetuate in power thru a bloodline successor. Veloso topped the instant survey for city mayor conducted by DYRD’s top-rated Inyong Alagad program on Monday, eve of Tagbilaran fiesta. According to a press release presumably from Veloso’s camp, city hall can only be cleansed of grease if the next mayor rules not by Lim’s dictate, Veloso’s leaders and supporters asserted. Many leaders gathered at the Veloso residence during the city fiesta. His leaders and supporters are intact but Veloso is open to those who like to join his group for more strength and adhere to their core crusade for a city that is proud again of its storied history. Also a former two time councilor, Veloso leads the group that includes reelectionist Councilors Anne Mariquit Oppus, Bebiano Inting and Alberta Torralba, wife of ex-Mayor Jose Torralba.
While his group has the support of Gov. Edgar Chatto, Vice Gov. Concepcion Lim and First District Rep. Rene Relampagos, Veloso has kept himself visible in barangays. He has gone his way attending to vital community concerns like delivering road repair materials in response to people’s clamor, which otherwise has fallen to deaf city hall ears. With support clubs and organizations, he has spearheaded surgical-medical missions like free tuli. Consistently service-oriented, the former vice mayor has initiated mass feeding for children as in Cogon, for example, where his program has been carried out by the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) led by chairman Rodney Magallano. Veloso has kept strong link with the sector of the women so that they had him and Oppus as their invited guest speakers capping the city celebration of the Women’s Month in April. He has maintained his low profile even if he has also involved himself in sports development of the youth sector.
Veloso was in fact instrumental to the formation and participation of the delegation of Tagbilaran athletes to the first-ever Boholympics last month. He generated support to the delegation that ultimately grabbed the overall championship of the multi-event competition, which the province’s has designed to be Bohol’s foremost annual sports spectacle. Many are convinced, however, that effective governance is never all about sports especially in an LGU like Tagbilaran where many essential concerns and calls for transformation have been neglected. Many sectors share the idea that activities obviously for “pogi” points cannot qualify for the kind of leader who is equal to the big task, tall order of governance. Veloso said that above all, a city leadership that is credible, competent and has a high regard for values has long been the crying want of the Tagbilaranons. Veloso is running for mayor as he bleeds in merely pondering on the years wasted by an administration that champions both empty and double talks. He said city hall needs a leader who knows what to do, can focus on it and make it done to prove he is worth the mandate.