December 7, 2022

On the feast of St. Justin the Martyr last June 1, the Acts of the Apostles underscores leadership founded on the blood of Jesus Christ.
“At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus: Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the Church of God and he acquired with his own Blood.” Acts 20:28
St. Paul underscores self-awareness and awareness with others. He also emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit in leadership and its basic foundation in Jesus Christ.
The campaign and elections in Mountain Province was beyond question in terms of peace and order but in terms of honesty, vote buying was blatant.
Governance is about honesty, humility, and starts with honest elections. We can achieve the common good by good governance.
Colonel Ruben Andiso of the Mountain Province Police Provincial Office strongly condemned vote buying and other forms of evil acts in politics. He said the bigger the money involved, the higher the risks.
Vote buying undeniably means committing graft and corruption.
But there is still hope for Mountain Province. We can do something to curb or at least minimize vote buying.
I have hopes because we have candidates who remained faithful to clean and honest politics.
Some may have lost in the political race but at least they triumphed over the temptations and deceptions of the devil. We still have honest politicians. They started right and they remain humble.
Councilor-elect Felicito “Junjun” Kibatay Jr. of Aguid, Sagada is among the clean politicians. He did not buy votes and relied on his campaign platform and prayers to win.
His defeat in the previous election did not frustrate him. He waited for the right time where he felt that the seeds he planted were ripe.
He is among the politicians who have ethics, prudence, and good understanding of politics.
I recall some politicians with their platforms founded on personal gain. I heard some politicians pleading to the people for votes so that they will have a job and earn a living.
But Kibatay campaigned with good intentions – to serve the public and to represent the government. He wants to be the voice of the people. He also saw the need to fortify the promotion of peace where communities are threatened by insurgency.
People connected with his motivation and voted for him.
His expertise in leading cooperatives will surely make a difference in his exercise of public service.
Despite the rampant vote buying, there are politicians who remain true to what authentic public service is all about by not resorting to buying votes.
Another politician worthy of emulation is Eusebio “Puapo” Kabluyen who was reelected vice mayor of Bontoc.
One of the things I admire about him is his authentic and selfless service to the people. I also admire his fami;y who regularly and happily go to church. He is a God-fearing man.
He ran unopposed because of his politics founded on simplicity, honesty, and justice.
Instead of tarpaulins, he used empty sacks of rice as campaign poster.
He completed three terms as councilor before his successful run as vice mayor and now on his third term.
We still have politicians who are living proof that even without buying votes, there is hope in winning the political race.
Happy Pentecost Sunday to all!
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