Villarosas fall!

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Latest News Philippines: Villarosas fall! –

AFTER almost 18 years of uninterrupted reign, political karma has finally caught up with the Villarosas of Occidental Mindoro.  But nobody was caught by surprise.  Their devastating poll losses were totally expected.

According to reports, over 30,000 margin votes felled three-term Congresswoman Girlie Villarosa (Lakas) in the gubernatorial race.  She lost against incumbent Vice-Governor Mario Gene Mendiola (LP). Villarosa is a known close political ally of jailed former President Gloria M. Arroyo.

On the other hand, her husband, former Congressman Jose T. Villarosa (Lakas) was clobbered by former Mayor Romulo Festin (LP) in the San Jose mayoralty fight.  About 7,000 votes were the winning margin of Festin.

Records showed that Jose T. Villarosa was convicted to death for the double murder of  the Quintos brothers (Paul and Michael) in 2006 by Q.C. RTC Judge Teresita Yadao.  He was, however, acquitted by the Court of Appeals (CA) in 2008.  The Solicitor General opposed the acquittal stressing that under three Philippine Constitutions, criminal cases which penalty is either life or death can only be pardoned by the Supreme Court.  The CA decision is only recommendatory.  The cases are now pending in the Supreme Court. The victims are siblings of former Occidental Congressman Ricardo Quintos.

Political observers said the developments signal the dawn of a new day for Occidental Mindoro. “At long last the people have awakened.  For so long the province has groveled under the weight of poverty, corruption, human rights violation and inept leadership.”

A spokesperson for the 100,000-strong Market Vendors Association of San Jose said: “Vigilance was the key.  The electorate safeguarded their ballots.  Guns, gold and other enticements failed to work this time.”

According to reports, Occidental Mindoro under the long reign of the Villarosas has not moved an inch towards development and progress.  The local economy is in perennial distress. Unemployment remains high. Peace and order are unstable. And bureaucracy is shot through with corruption.

The deplorable condition, the sources continued, is made more ironic by the fact that the province is awash with rich natural resources and industrious people.  “The key problem is leadership.  A leadership that is honest, transparent and with strong political will.  A new era has at last dawned in the province,” one civic leader stressed.

Political observers said it may take generations before any Villarosa could make a political comeback.

* * *

Time heals. But the deep wounds inflicted on the family of the slain Quintos brothers appear to be pestering still.  Until justice is served swift and fast.

I don’t personally know former congressman Ricardo Quintos, father of the victims.  I’m simply expressing a vicarious and sympathetic sentiment.  I can only emphatize with his grievous loss: Two young sons in the peak of their career gunned down in broad daylight by identified killers.  But after more than two decades, justice — blocked by legal maneuvers and political intervention — is still crying to be ministered.  What cut can be deeper to a father’s heart than this?

But in this country, it seems that this is the way things normally are.  I was in the same tragic predicament last year.  My second cousin, a security driver of a San Pablo City councilor, was felled down by  riding in tandem assassins while entering his home.  He left a family of four and a still grieving pregnant wife.  I unashamedly wept, gnashed my teeth in unsinking sorrow and anger.  The assassins are still at large.  Maybe laughing their way to more grim killing errands.

What’s wrong with our country, General?  The late VP Emmanuel Pelaez moaned in seething helplessness mixed with anger.  This question is still repeated in deploring the state of lawlessness in our midst.

Order is the first law of the universe.  If a government cannot enforce law and order, it has no right to exist.

* * *

Stabilize peace and order.  Manila Mayor-elect Erap is expected to hold the bull by the horn in warning law breakers that he really means business.  This is his repeated campaign pledge.  He cannot waver or falter.

Manila is a playground of criminals and shady characters.  In fact, it is now tagged as the carnapping capital of the country.  Laws are being broken left and right — and with impunity.  There appears to be a feeling of helplessness everywhere.  So the Mayor-elect must quickly deliver.

Cleansing the police ranks of rotten eggs and scalawags may be a pressing priority.  Uplifting the quality of life of the clean and upright ones may be a parallel priority too.  Erap, as former PACC chief in the 90s, was a feared nemesis of criminals.  He must don his old fighting armor again.


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