Support for aerial spray ban blamed for lawmakers’ defeat

Orcullo, who ranked 9th in the eight-seat slate per district, said those who tried to block the ban campaigned to voters to boycott her.

"True enough, the giants whisked their wrath of vengeance and pointed their fury only against me, being the proponent, by campaigning hard to boycott me," Orcullo said in a privilege speech she read at the regular session of the city council Tuesday.

Most of the banana plantations affected by the ban are in her district.

The speech appeared to be Orcullo's swan song as she cited her legacy, exhorted colleagues and thanked Dabawenyos for their support and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for "giving me the opportunity to serve the people of Davao, who also taught me good politics."

Orcullo, who had served three terms in the past, said she underestimated the effect of the ordinance banning aerial spraying, which she first proposed in 2004.

Leonardo Avila III, another pro-ban lawmaker,  ranked second in the first district next to Ma. Belen Acosta. Avila chairs the environment committee of the council, which conducted hearings prior to the passing of the ordinance.

There is no banana plantation in the first district.

Orcullo accused the "giants,” whom she did not name, of allegedly demanding their plantation workers and their families, including non-workers living in their lands, not to vote for her.  She alleged that even cargo laborers and port stevedores were asked to boycott her.

Orcullo said those who will vote for her were allegedly threatened to be terminated from work and ejected from their lands.

“My politics was defeated, but my principle remains as strong and tampered like a hard rock on the ground," she said as she claimed the boycott pushed through, catching her off-guard.

"But still it prides me to think that this body was able to exhibit a very strong political will by approving that very urgent environmental measure, despite the threat of boycott.

Orcullo said she had no regrets on any measure she pushed and supported in the city council. She urged fellow legislators not to be afraid and instead heed the call to preserve (the environment).

Addressing those who were allegedly behind the boycott campaign, she said she bore no grudges against them.

Orcullo is one of two in Duterte's slate in the May 14 polls who did not make it to the winning circle. Bayan Muna's Jeppie Ramada lost in the third district but Duterte attributed it to the candidate’s lack of exposure, not on his being a member of Bayan Muna.

The 24-member Davao City council will have Duterte's daughter,  Sara, a lawyer but neophyte politician,  as presiding officer.

The council will have eight women legislators: Mabel Sunga-Acosta, Pilar Braga, Angela Librado-Trinidad, Susan Isabel Reta, Myrna Dalodo-Ortiz, Rachel Zozobrado, Teresita Mata follow ex-officio member representing the Sangguniang Kabataan April Marie Dayap.

The younger Duterte is the city's first lady vice mayor.

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