FASTLANES: Be the change the people want. By BenCyrus G. Ellorin

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/1 July) — We all woke up yesterday (Wednesday) not just into a new day but to a new and renewed mandate of our government.

Starting 12 noon of June 30, as the 1987 Constitution has mandated, the term of all elected officials from the President to the local government unit councilors, save for the barangay officials, have expired.

Theoretically, we have a new set of officials. Forget the old faces and names, what is important is that by virtue of the votes these officials got in the May 10, 2010 vote, gave these officials a new mandate and a new term to serve as government’s delegated organs to ensure that the will and aspirations of the people are materialized.

So much had been said and written about the Inaugural Speech of P-Noy, so I dedicate this piece to our local officials.

In his last word as city mayor, citizen Constantino “Tinnex” Jaraula, who now has more than 40 years of public service behind him, had said it well when he enjoined the new caretakers of city hall “to set aside politics in the name of true service to the people.”

Conspicuously absent were the two oppositionists in the city council, comebacking councilor Atty. Edgardo Cabanlas and reelectionist Roger Abaday. Also absent was second district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.

Cabanlas and Abaday said they were not invited. Rodriguez’s absence was not explained, but it is open knowledge to everyone that he did side with the key opponent of Mayor Vicente “Dongkoy” Emano in the last election.

I hope the good congressman has other reasons than politics, maybe he was not invited or opted not to be there. By the way, party list Rep. Maximo Rodriguez Jr. of Abante Mindanao told me when we met in a consumer forum last week that Rufus had his right leg in plaster cast after he injured his knee. Get well, Congressman Rufus.

Whatever, the scene at city hall Wednesday morning was an ostentatious gathering of party mates or groupmates, as the PaDayon Pilipino is just a political group, it being not a registered political party.

It is an announcement that the local political kingpin, Dongkoy Emano, is back after his masterful win over the former first district congressman, Klarex Uy.

It would have been a breath of fresh air had the oppositionists been invited in their oath taking last Wednesday as a show of mature politics and statesmanship. But that would not be, and hindsight wishful thinking.

I do hope though that the new leadership in city hall got the message that the people of Cagayan de Oro want change, and they did express that in the May10 vote.

Perhaps for the second time in his illustrious political career, Mayor Dongkoy’s boat has been rocked in the last election. Used to five-digit leads over his hapless opponents, Mayor Dongkoy narrowly escaped defeat with his 2,130 votes win over Uy.

The last time he was politically distressed was when he was unseated after a tumultuous election protest that saw the incumbent mayor of Gingoog City, Ruthie Guingona, win in the 1995 gubernatorial race in Misamis Oriental. Yes, that was all water under the bridge now, especially that the ruling came at the close of Dongkoy’s supposed last term as Misamis Oriental governor in 1998.

What can we get of the narrow win by Dongkoy?

Methinks, it is the expression of the people of Cagayan de Oro wanting change. Change from the viciousness of political vindictiveness. Change from the small-town mentality of our city officials into a big-city, genuine progress and sustainable development-oriented governance.

And finally change from that small-town powerlordism into mature politics based on transparent and accountable government and statesmanship.  [Comments can be sent to]