BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER
Until today, yours truly is still at a loss how in heaven, or hell, has Rep. Sharon Garin qualified to represent Filipino farmers in word, deed or affiliation when she ran and got elected under the Aambis-OWA partylist in 2010.
Two years past since her election, yours truly is still groping for the bills or laws that she authored, co-sponsored or supported that has anything to do in enhancing the lives of Filipino farmers that her partylist supposedly advocates.
Section 2 of RA 7941 has two keywords for qualifying an organization or group into the partylist system, “marginalized” and “underrepresented”.
Rep. Sharon Garin hails from the scion of an overrepresented and mainstream, not marginalized or underrepresented, political clan, based in southern Iloilo or what is commonly called “first district”. The riding comprises the home base of the Garins which are Guimbal and San Joaquin, plus Igbaras, Miag-ao, Tubungan, Tigbauan and Oton towns.
It was not her platform that catapulted her to the Lower House but the political muscle of her father Oscar Garin Sr. who engineered her victory.
Oscar Sr. had been a member of the House of Representatives himself; he is now a director of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).
The framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution have good intention in giving voice to marginalized or underrepresented groups through the partylist system.
However, the Philippine elite hijacked that opportunity to further entrench themselves in power and grandeur thus, further marginalizing the underrepresented.
Incidentally, friends of former Igbaras vice-mayor, Edmond Esporas, recognize Aambis_OWA’s pivotal role in the 2010 elections. Edmond was running for mayor and until then, a Garin loyalist having belonged to the same mainstream political machine as the district patriarch.
In short, Edmond Esporas followed wherever Oscar Sr. was. The former, however, will always remember what the political giant did to him in 2010.
Oscar Sr. ditched him: the former delivered at least jeeploads of packed grocery items to Igbaras and gave Eddie Esmero, a candidate for the Igbaras municipal council then, a free hand where or to whom the goodies were to be given.
The rest was history. Esmero dispatched the goods according to the wishes of his source: he distributed them in the names of Aambis-OWA, his standard bearer, Vicente Escorpion Jr, and himself.
He and Escorpion won handily, thanks to Aambis-OWA, whose jeeploads of grocery items were proof of everything about itself except for its being “marginalized”.
We have yet to see or hear of any attempt by the good lady in introducing any measure to improve the lot of Filipino farmers. We are not advocating for the disqualification of the Aambis-OWA partylist. However, yours truly can only wish to make it more responsive to the plight of the mangunguma that she supposedly represents.
Edmond Esporas, three-term councilor before running for mayor in 2010, is gunning again for the municipal council next year. He used to be a member of the ruling Liberal Party (LP). He was dislodged along with local LP members when Malacanang wrought a miracle of transforming former GMA-loyalists into instant LPs.
Escorpion became instant LP because of that. He seeks reelection but another lawyer, Sherwin Quidato, challenges him.
The challenger, now member of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) was elected number one councilor in 2010. He has six other local legislators in his slate while the reelectionist has only one.