Monday, June 16, 2014

A Personal and Political Perspective

By: Neil Edwin R. Wagas

The Origin

In the middle of 19th century during the Spanish colonization in the Philippines, a certain Spanish missionary in the name of Father Manuel Alonzo arrived in our town that was nameless during that time. Other history books mentioned the name Father Jose Alonzo but Mr. Esteban “Nene” Valencia insisted that the exact name was Manuel instead of Jose. According to Mr. Valencia, the remains of Father Alonzo was preserved at the campus of the University of San Jose Recoletos in Cebu City. Father Alonzo who was a native of Compostela, Spain adopted the same name in honor of his home town of the same patron, Saint James the Apostle that led to the construction of a small chapel and officialy became a parish church in 1866.  Records at the Saint James Parish also revealed the name Rev. Father Manuel Alonzo was the first parish priest in 1866, the same year the church was built. 

When I was a young boy, I heard another story from the old folks that the name Compostela derived from the word “Campo sa Castila” or the camp of the Spanish Guardia Civil.  In the old days, Compostela was known to be a favorite hang out of the Spanish friars and I even heard stories that some of them were having an affair with our local women and produced illegitimate children.  These children were often called as the Spanish mestizo or mestiza. My mother was one of them because her father ( Luis A. Reyes Sr.) was a Spaniard.

In my personal point of view, the story about Father Alonzo has more historical basis because of the establishment of the parish church and the significance of our annual town fiesta celebration that falls every 25th of July and coincides with the fiesta of Saint James the Apostle in Compostela, Spain.

Geography and Population

Compostela, Cebu, Philippines is located in the northeastern part of the island province of Cebu at a distance of 25 kilometers from the provincial capitol. It has a total area of 5,390 hectares and a population of 31, 446 based on the year 2000 survey and then rose to 42,574 in the 2010 survey of the National Statistics Office.  Under the 1987 constitution, this town is part of the 5th congressional district of the province of Cebu including the towns of Liloan, Carmen, Catmon, Sogod, Borbon, Pilar, Tudela, Poro, San Francisco and the city of Danao. Compostela is composed of 17 barangays such as: Poblacion, Estaca, Magay, Cogon, Canamucan, Cambayog, Bagalnga, Tubigan, Panangban, Basak, Lupa, Mulao, Dapdap, Tag-ubi, Buluang, Cabadiangan and Tamiao.

Means of Livelihood

The main source of income for the people of Compostela is farming and fishing.  People in the mountain barangays used to raise animals like chicken, goats, pigs, cows and carabaos. Breeding of fighting cocks is also one of them.  Compostela is also famous in making white cheese or known as queseo. This product is made up of pure carabao or cow’s milk and is processed into a delicious white cheese and then wrapped with banana leaves.  Another popular local product is the tinap-anan. This product is a fish grilled like a barbecue and it's a favorite food of the masses for being cheaper than any other food.

Compostela is also famous in its agricultural products like ampalaya, eggplant, corn, mango, guava, spices, beans and kangkong.  Most of these products are marketed to the cities of Mandaue and Cebu particulary in Carbon market.  Fishing is also the main source of income in the coastal areas like the barangays of Estaca, Poblacion and Magay.  Tamarong, tulingan and dalupapa (giant squid) are the most popular fish among local fishermen especially in Sitio Aggies of Barangay Poblacion.

In the early 90’s, export industry became a major source of income like wood crafts, stone crafts and even rattan weaving.  Hollow block making and extraction of sand and gravel is also one the oldest industry in the locality since the early years.  Compostela is also popular in its beaches mostly located along the national highway and one of them is the famous Stakili Beach Resort now known as Estaca Bay Gardens. Town residents also enjoyed the abundance of fresh water reserves through the services of MCWD while the power company was provided by CEBECO II.

The streets of Poblacion, Compostela, Cebu


The Birth of a New Town

In the middle of the 19th century during the Spanish colonization in the Philippines, Compostela was founded as a Barangay of the town of Danao (now known as Danao City) and later became a district of the Municipality of Lilo-an in 1903 during the American occupation.  Some historical accounts including Wikipedia mentioned that Compostela was officially founded as a barangay on December 26, 1878 before it became a municipality in 1919.   

During that time, Compostela was under the leadership of Barrio Capitanes as a product of Spanish influence.  The early leaders who served as Barrio Capitanes were: Juan Gesulga, Claros Perales, Felix Canen, Severino Calo, Arcadio Bantilan, Segundo Gesulga, Bonifacio Librero, Lorenzo Castro, Gregorio Kanen and Mariano Castro.

It was on January 17, 1919, when a special committee was created under the leadership of the late Hilario A. Kanen and with the help of Cebu Governor Manuel Roa, Compostela officially became a municipality through a bill passed by the Philippine Assembly under the leadership of Speaker Sergio Osmena Sr., who was also a fellow Cebuano.  Hilario A. Kanen was then appointed as temporary President with Juan Velasco as Vice-President.  The first appointed councilors were: Luis Yungco, Antonio Yungco, Valentin San Mateo, Juan Rosal, Rufino Acaso, Segundo Gesulga, Gregorio Kanen and Mariano Castro.

Prior to the establishment of the new municipality, Mano Ayong was working at the Cebu Provincial Assessor’s Office but was inspired (to lead and represent the special committee) by two distinguished Compostelanhons in the person of Mr. Luis Yungco and Mr. Juan Velasco.  According to some sources, both Yungco and Velasco shouldered the expenses of the operational process in the creation while Mano Ayong served as the spokesman.  During that time, people in Compostela were complaining about unjust taxation from the Municipality of Lilo-an that led to the consensus of forming a separate local government.

On that same day (January 17, 1919), people of Compostela celebrated victory with a grand parade from the town of Liloan and Mano Ayong became a local hero. The building that is now occupied by Julie’s Bakeshop (formerly Filipino Bakery) at the national highway was also the site of the first municipal hall until 1926.

Months after the said event, Hilario “Mano Ayong” Kanen and his group subsequently won the first election that was held on June 03, 1919.  According to Mr. Bernabe Castro, no one from the opposition challenged the contest for Mano Ayong and his group was very popular during that time.  The people of Compostela credited Mano Ayong and his company for a job well done in the establishment of a new municipality and in memory of his heroic act, a monument was erected in front of the muncicipal hall.

Again, on June 08, 1922 under the Philippine Organic Act of 1902, another local election was held. Mano Ayong Kanen still won but this time Pablo Cabatingan Sr. won as Vice Mayor. Under the said law, local elections were held every 3 years while local chief executives were called as Presidente Municipal or Presidents instead of Municipal Mayors. It was only change in 1934.

According to a very reliable source, Mano Ayong was the second son of Fr. Manuel Alonzo, the first Spanish Friar assigned in Compostela and his mother was Eulala K. Kanen.  His elder sister was Filomena and had two younger brothers and they were Andres and Gregorio. Mano Ayong and the rest of the family carry their mother’s family name for being illegitimate. This story was confirmed by one of Mano Ayong’s children, Mr. Celso Kanen and his niece in the person of Mrs. Conseho Kanen-Cola.  Mano Ayong married first to Cornelia Cepeda but separated without a son and then married to a certain Aleja Lawas and blessed with four children and they were; Celso, Perla, Jovita and Arnaldo.  He also had an illegitimate son to a certain Rosario Lopez named Cesar Lopez before he got married.

Prior to 1919, the province of Cebu was under the leadership of several governors starting from Julio Llorente in 1900, Juan Climaco in 1902, Sergio Osmena Sr. in 1904, Dionisio Jakosalem in 1907 and then followed by Manuel Roa in 1912 until 1922 while the country was under the leadership of Governor General Francis Burton Harrison from 1913-1921.  He was succeeded by Governor General Leonard Wood from 1921-1927 and followed by several Governor Generals such as Henry L. Stimson in 1928, Dwight Davis in 1929 and Frank Murphy in 1933-1935.  Sergio Osmena Sr. became the first speaker of the first Philippine Assembly in 1907.

Meanwhile in overseas, America was under the leadership of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson and Vice-President Thomas Marshall. President Wilson defeated Republican Presidential candidate Charles E. Hughes in the 1916 U.S. Presidential elections.

The 1925 Elections

In 1925, Hilario A. Kanen supported his secretary, Mr. Sebastian Perales, to run for mayor on his behalf.  Mr. Perales was the youngest son of Victor Perales and Gabina Nunez and he was only 25 years old at the time he ran for mayor.  He enjoyed the support of Don Sergio Osmena Sr., courtesy of Mano Ayong who was a close friend of the latter.  At that time, the provincial leadership of Cebu was dominated by only two prominent politicians and they were Sergio Osmena Sr. and Gov. Mariano Cuenco.

Pablo Cabatingan Sr. who was the current Vice-Mayor was persuaded by Governor Cuenco to run for mayor together with Eusebio Velasco as his running mate. Luckily, Pablo Cabatingan Sr. won the contest over Sebastian Perales with a matter of one vote only while Eusebio Velasco also won as Vice-Mayor.  This tandem won 3 consecutive elections.  That were on June 02, 1925, June 05, 1928 and June 02, 1931.  It was also during their term that the construction of the municipal hall of Compostela was initiated and completed in 1926.

Pablo Cabatingan Sr. was the son of Mr. Eugenio Cabatingan and Ms. Olympia Saso.  He married first to Trinidad Sanchez and became a widower but blessed with four children namely; Porferia, Justina, Francisco and Arlenda.  Years after the death of his first wife, he married again to Cipriana “Inday Piyang” Perales, who happened to be the younger sister of Sebastian Perales, his political opponent in 1925. Both Mano Amboy and Inday Piyang were blessed with seven children and they were; Santiaga, Teofilo, Sadisita, Pablo Jr., Mario, Olympia, and Eugenia.

At that time, the province of Cebu was under the leadership of Governor Arsenio Climaco in 1923 until 1930 and followed by Governor Mariano Cuenco from 1931 to 1933.  In the national scene, Manuel Roxas was the Speaker of the lower house and Manuel L. Quezon was the Senate President.

In overseas, America was under the leadership of Republican President Calvin Coolidge and Vice-President Charles G. Dawes.  President Coolidge defeated Democratic Presidential contender John W. Davis in the 1924 U. S. Presidential elections.

The 1934 Elections

In 1934, Pablo Cabatingan Sr., after serving nine years as mayor, decided to give way to his Vice-Mayor (Eusebio Velasco) a chance to succeed on his behalf and Rufino Acaso became the running mate of Mr. Velasco. A certain Vidal Reynes ran as the opposition’s mayoralty candidate but lost in the contest.  Vidal Reynes was the brother of the late Don Victorino “Bitong” Reynes and Alejandro “Ando” Reynes.  Bitong Reynes was the richest of the Reynes family for he got married to the adopted daughter of the famous Don Pedro Cui in Cebu City. The election day was held on June 05, 1934.

Andres Kanen (brother of Mano Ayong) also ran for mayor that divides the opposition and gave Mr. Velasco the advantage of winning the contest.  Both Velasco and Acaso won the contest respectively and served two terms until December 1940. The councilors were; Macario Gestopa, Andres Gesulga, Timoteo Dalaguit, Simeon Minoza, Cirilo Arias and Teodoro Canen. Mr. Pedro Canen became the Secretary with Mr. Pablo Hipolito as Treasurer and a certain Castor Laurel as the Chief of Police.  

Eusebio Velasco Sr. was the son of Mr. Margarito Velasco and Ms. Donata Kalo.  He then married to Gaudiosa Paloma and blessed with 6 children and they were; Estelita, Luz, Merecia, Margarito, Alfredo and Eusebio Jr.

During that time, Cebu was under the leadership of Governor Sotero Cabahug in 1934 and followed by Governor Buenaventura Rodriguez in 1937 to 1940 while the country was already under a commonwealth government headed by President Manuel L. Quezon and Vice-President Sergio Osmena Sr. whose tandem defeated Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo and Gregorio Aglipay in the 1935 presidential and vice-presidential race.  It was the first national elections after the ratification of the 1935 constitution.  The constitutional commission was headed by the late Claro M. Recto in 1934 that served to be as a transition government prior to the declaration of the planned independence to be granted by the American Government.

It was also the first time in Philippine history that women are allowed to vote and to vote themselves in the1937 elections.

In overseas, America was under the leadership of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Vice-President John N. Garner. President Roosevelt defeated Republican Presidential candidate Herbert Hoover in the 1932 U.S. Presidential elections and was reelected three times in 1936, 1940 and 1944.  He ended his term in 1949 and became the longest serving President in U.S. history.

The World War Era and the 1940 Elections
In 1940, my grandfather Gervasio T. Wagas Sr., who was fresh from Siliman University, challenged incumbent Mayor Eusebio K. Velasco in that mayoralty contest. Despite being a new comer in politics, Lolo Basio won over Eusebio Velasco and served the town until the World War II broke out in 1942.  Pedro Morre, the running mate of Lolo Basio also won over Rufino Acaso.  Both of them were not able to complete their term and ran to the mountains to avoid arrest and a possible execution from the invading Japanese Imperial Army.

During that time, polling stations were situated in Sitio Guimbal of Barangay Canamucan, another at the central school, one in front of the public market and one in Sitio Guiwanon. People in the mountain barangays were transported to the mainland during the election day to cast their votes.  According to Lolo Basio, vote buying was not popular during that time and they only served food for the voters plus free transportation back and forth.  Mr. Bernabe Castro, whose father Calixto Castro was a staunch supporter of Lolo Basio told me a story about a bet for a carabao between the Tanjay and the Bugtai family in Brgy. Mulao over the contest. Tanjay family supported Eusebio Velasco while the Bugtai family supported Lolo Basio. The election day was held on December 10, 1940.

 Prior to Lolo Basio’s entry in politics, he was an administrative assistant at the Cebu Provincial Captitol.  He finished his high school at the Cebu Provincial High School now known as Abellana National School, together with Anatalio Bacalso, Andres Camasura and Ramon Durano Sr. as his schoolmates. All of them were members of the school’s debating team during their time. He also finished his elementary in the seventh grade at the Liloan Elementary School as class valedictorian. His parents were Juan Canen Wagas and Juana Ponce Taroja and he was second to the last of the nine children.  The other siblings were; Demetrio, Bonifacia, Benita, Gliceria, Anecito, Cliteria, Maria and Anatalio who was next to Lolo Basio.  He then married to Lourdes Gala of Brgy. Panangban and blessed with eight children and they were; Ranulfo, Estrella, Virginia, Gervasio Jr., Angelina, Editha, Nancy and Elmer.

In the provincial level, Hilario "Dodong" Abellana won as governor of Cebu against Mariano Mercado. Abellana was supported by the Osmena's while Mercado was supported by the Cuenco's. Dodong Abellana replaced Governor Buenaventura Rodriguez at the last minute because Governor Rodriguez died one day before the election. Abellana has only one day to campaign but managed to win the election.  Governor Rodriguez died on December 09, 1940. Lolo Basio said, he supported Governor Abellana.

Under the 1935 constitution, local elections were held in the months of November, inaugurations fell on the last day of December and the first day of January of the following year was the first day in office for the newly elected local officials.  As of this time, I still don't know on why the election of that year was held in December, instead of November. Some historians suggest that it was a special election.

On December 8, 1941 Japanese forces attacked the Air Force Base in Clark Pampanga and Iba, Pangasinan after Pearl Harbor.  On April 9, 1942 Bataan and Corrigedor surrendered and one day later, Japanese forces arrived in Cebu under Major General Kiyotake Kawaguchi.  They landed in Pinamungahan and Talisay.  On May 13, 1942 Brig. General Bradford Cheynoweth, chief of the Visayas Force Command surrendered to the enemies. That same month, USAFFE in the Visayas was also disbanded to the dismay of the local fighters.

The Battle of Guila-guila

One significant event that happened in Compostela (Cebu, Philippines) during World War II was the famous Battle of Guila-guila in Barangay Bagalnga that took place on March 5, 1943.  Japanese forces were ambushed by Filipino guerillas led by a certain Lt. Agapito “Pete” Admana under the command of Major Fabian Sanchez.  The said ambush was very successful and inflicted heavy casualties against the invading forces.  

At early dawn of that day, Japanese forces lead by General Sosaku Suzuki were already sighted patrolling in the vicinity of Liloan town going to the north direction. It was Amado Castro (father of Rogelio and Vicente), a guerilla and a native of Guiwanon, Compostela, made the first shot against the patrolling enemy. Unfortunately, Mr. Castro was wounded during the exchange of fire. As the guerilla forces were retreating to Brgy. Estaca for being outnumbered.  Mr. Castro was left hiding under Jubay Bridge and got killed by the enemy during the chase.  Most people said that Castro was a good runner but failed to escape because he was already wounded in the leg. Witnesses said, he was stabbed to death by the Japanese Imperial Army.

While the enemies were approaching Barangay Estaca of Compostela, a certain Antero Tapayan, another patriot and a native of Panangban, Compostela, Cebu was already in position waiting for the enemies to arrive and was ready for fighting.  Unfortunately, Mr. Tapayan was killed in action.  One witness said, the Japanese army who killed Mr. Tapayan disguised as a woman.  According to some sources, the order of the Major Fabian Sanchez was to harass the enemies upon patrolling by delaying their movements while preparing for a possible ambush in Sitio Guila-guila.   Major Sanchez was already suspecting that the real objective of the Japanese soldiers was to invade the general headquarters of the guerillas located in Brgy.  Tabunan part of Cebu City.  Geographically, the Guimbal-Dapdap road was the easiest way going to Brgy. Tabunan and the ambush in Sitio Guila-guila was very strategic for the guerillas.  Many people said, the said ambush was already planned a long time ago.

According to a certain Jose Bobo, who was one of the guerillas participated in that ambush, three machine guns were already in position waiting for the Japanese forces to arrive.  Mr. Bobo said, that they dug foxholes to cover themselves while waiting for the enemies to arrive. According to him, it was around 2:00 o clock in the afternoon when the fighting started but they only retreated because they were running out of bullets and ammunitions.  He also said that Lt. Admana was asking for additional supplies from the central command but nothing arrived and instead they were ordered to withdraw.  I also asked him on the number of casualties inflicted on the enemy side and he said that he cannot give the exact number but he was sure that it would be more than 500 or maybe a thousand.  He even joked at me that the order was to shoot and not to count on how many dead bodies.  Some history books accounted less than 300 dead bodies only.

Some civilians who witnessed during the clean up said that truckloads of dead bodies were transported that they even counted as much as ten 6x6 trucks.  This was confirmed by Mr. Marcos Castro who claimed to be a guerilla and a native of Compostela, Cebu.  Days after that incident, Japanese Forces bombarded the area in retaliation and burned down the houses in the vicinity of the ambush area particularly the house of Cirilo Cohitmingao.  According to Mr. Bernabe Castro, his father Calixto Castro was the one in charge of the provisions for the guerillas during the fight.  The said provisions were kept at the house of Mr. Cirilo Cohitmingao.  The planned ambush was well implemented and it was considered as one of the greatest achievement for the Filipino fighters during the war.

I got a chance to talk to Mr. Jose Bobo when we visited Sitio Luzaran of Brgy. Tag-ubi in Compostela, Cebu sometime in 1986.  A year later, Mr. Bobo was murdered allegedly by men in uniform for he was suspected as a supporter of the New People’s Army. His son Nolasco Bobo or known as Kumander Bobo was allegedly a communist rebel and was already in prison when it happened. Years later, another son of Jose Bobo in the name of Mesias “Mising” Bobo was also murdered allegedly by military men at his residence in Brgy. Cogon, Compostela, Cebu.  It was a tragic experience for a patriot like Mr. Bobo.

The said date (March 5, 1943) was also confirm on the accounts of Col. Manuel Segura’s history book and other witnesses including Jose Bobo and Marcos Castro.  On the other hand, my Auntie Binya (Virginia Wagas-Velasco) argued that the correct date was on March 11, 1943 for she can still remember that day when her sister (Angelina) was born at the time the incident happened. She said that when her mother (Lourdes Gala-Wagas) was about to deliver a baby, loud explosions and sounds of gun fights were heard from their location in Sitio Libo, Barangay Cabadiangan.  Lolo Basio was on his way to Mana Basay’s house, the only midwife at that time, when he was met by a certain Toto Gahi.  Mr. Gahi told Lolo Basio not to continue his way to Mana Basay’s house and offered his help to get the said midwife out of fear that Lolo Basio might encounter a Japanese soldier as the gun fights in Sitio Guila-guila already took place.  Mr. Gahi even told Lolo Basio these words “You are an important man of this town, so you must be in a safe place.  Go back to your house and I will get Mana Basay instead”.

In my own personal view, the said incident that Auntie Binya was referring to was the retaliation of the Japanese Army after the ambush.  I believe that March 5, 1943 was the correct date of the ambush and March 11, 1943 was the retaliation.

The Establishment of a Japanese Government

As the war broke out, the Japanese Puppet Government appointed an OIC Mayor in the person of Mr. Dionisio Portes Sr. who happened to be the brother of Juan Portes Tuyco, my great grandfather on my mother's side.  Mr. Portes served his term until the Liberation period.

Dionisio Portes Sr. was the eldest son of Mr. Felipe Tuyco and Ms. Maria Portes but choose to carry the last name of his mother for his parents were not legally married at the time he was born. He got married to a certain Anastacia Gorgonio and blessed with 13 children and they were; Tertuliano, Crecencio, Nono, Emiliana, Lucia, Josefina, Rosita, Dionisio Jr., Ramon, Carolina, Lecita, Roland, and Myrna.

Mr. Rogelio Abelo Sr. in one of my interviews said that during their childhood days, they were force to enroll a Japanese sponsored education at the old public market while regular classes at the central school were abolished.  According to him, he was only seven years old at that time (1943) when he enrolled in the first grade and they were trained to understand Japanese language by Japanese teachers.  He can still remember some of his classmates like Bonifacio Pumar, Matias Calo and Miles Quimbo.  Mr. Pumar became the principal of the Compostela Central School in the 90’s.

During that time, the province of Cebu was under the leadership of Governor Jose Delgado in 1943 followed by Governor Jose Leyson in 1944 and Governor Fructuso Cabahug in 1945 while the country was under the leadership of President Jose P. Laurel and Vice-President Benigno Aquino Sr. who were elected under a KALIBAPI assembly that swore allegiance to the Japanese Puppet Government.  After the war, Laurel and Aquino faced charges as war collaborators together with other political leaders but later acquitted.

The Capture of Cebu Governor Dodong Abellana

On October 8, 1944, at the height of the Japanese occupation in the Philippines, an incident happened when my grandfather (Gervasio Wagas Sr.) together with Cebu Governor Hilario “Dodong” Abellana and his family were arrested by the Japanese Imperial Army in Brgy. Cabadiangan, Compostela, Cebu.  The said date was based in other history books but Benjamin “Tiyo Ben” Canen insisted that the correct date was August 5, 1944 for he was one of the captives when it happened. Until the time that I was writing this book, I really had a puzzle of what really is the exact date.  Tiyo Ben might be right or wrong with regards to the date but his accounts on the event was unquestionable because he was an eyewitness.

Fortunately, Lolo Basio was released by his captors due to the intervention of my father (Gervasio Wagas Jr.) who kept on hugging on Lolo Basio’s neck.  My father was already 3 years old at that time when it happened.  Lolo Basio told me he was lucky that no one from the Japanese Army went inside the house because he was working with his typewriter to make a report for the guerillas as part of his job as a correspondent during the war.  And he
continued talking that if they just saw the paper in my typewriter, I'm sure I'm dead that day. After that incident, Governor Abellana never came back and believed to be executed by his captors at the U.P. Campus in Cebu City. 

According to my father, Governor Abellana and his family were already in a safe place somewhere in Bohol but returned to Cebu and planned to transfer in Brgy. Tabunan where the general headquarters of the guerilla forces stationed.  According to some witnesses, the Governor landed in the shores of Jubay, Lilo-an, Cebu aboard a pump boat and then proceeded to Brgy. Cabadiangan where Lolo Basio was hiding.  Prior to the incident, Governor Abellana was courted by the Japanese Forces to pledge allegiance to the Japanese puppet government but refused and became a fugitive.

Manong Elias Canen had a different story regarding the incident for he was there when it happened.  He insisted that Governor Dodong Abellana was already in Barangay Tabunan and it was Anita Abellana (wife of Dodong Abellana) and her children that arrived in Jubay, Liloan aboard a pump boat.  The children were Mario, Vicente, Hilda and Lourdes. Immediately after their arrival, they proceeded to Lolo Basio’s residence in Sitio Libo of Barangay Cabadiangan in Compostela, Cebu.  Lolo Basio’s house became the meeting point of the Abellana family for the latter was a close friend of the Governor and beside he was also serving as a Civil Relations Officer of the guerilla forces during that time. 

I was really puzzled by the two versions of the story. But Judge Lorenzo Paradiang has an article published in a local newspaper about that incident and it says that Governor Dodong Abellana and his party arrived from Bohol. His version sounds similar to my father's version.

At early dawn of that day, a group of Japanese soldiers and Filipino under covers from Lilo-an town, were patrolling to Barangay Cabadiangan whose mission was to arrest Governor Abellana.  The arrival of the Abellana family in Jubay, Lilo-an was already detected by the Japanese soldiers with the help of Filipino spies.  The Japanese forces were guided by a certain Frank Vidal, who was once a guerilla and later became a spy, with a certain Teofilo Ponce who served as a hostage guide after being captured in Lilo-an. Some historical accounts mentioned that Mr. Ponce was arrested on September 03, 1944. That's more than a month before the said incident.  And because of this, I am convinced, that October 08, 1944 was the correct date. 

Upon arriving in Barangay Cabadiangan, the Japanese Forces divided themselves into two groups.   The first group proceeded to the house of Benita Wagas-Toong (Lola Nitay) and the other one to the house of Gliceria Wagas-Canen (Lola Teliang).  Both Benita and Gliceria were sisters of Lolo Basio.  At the residence of Lola Nitay, Titong Cabatingan and Juanito "Aning” Rumanillos were captured while sleeping.  Both of them came from a Benefit Dance (Bayle) in Barangay Cambayog and maybe because of being tired and drunk, they slept at Lola Nitay’s house. Coincidentally, they were found by the Japanese soldiers with a revolver in their position while sleeping.  Both Titong and Aning were members of the guerilla forces. Anatalio Wagas (Lolo Tayong), Lola Nitay, Florentino Toong, Margarito Pepito and Restituto “Tito” Calo were also arrested at the time it happened and all of them were brought to the house of Titong Cabatingan.

Meanwhile, the other group of Japanese soldiers that proceeded to Lola Teliang’s residence, arrested Benjamen Canen, Ireneo Durano, Marcelo Paradiang and a certain Lucia “Lusing” Cinco who was also maltreated by the Japanese soldiers by removing her dress with only a panty remained in her body.  Minutes later, Lusing was released upon the arrival of her cousin, Felimon Delgado who happened to be an under cover during that time.  That incident was witnessed by Benjamin Canen, who was sitting right beside Lusing when it happened. All of them were also brought to the house of Titong Cabatingan but Ireneo Durano and Marcelo Paradiang managed to escape on their way to Titong’s house.  They ran through the darkness of the forest while their captors were firing at them. Luckily, they survive.  According to Benjamin Canen (Tiyo Ben), Margarito Pepito and Teofilo Ponce were tied up and hang to the ceiling of Titong’s house.  Mr. Ponce’s sex organ was scorched by the flames of the torch by a certain TSURUYAMA, a Japanese soldier.  Both of them were tortured and struck with a garrote in their body.  Tiyo Ben's hands were also tied up and beaten together with the other captives but was later released for he was too young at that time.

The two groups of the Japanese soldiers rejoined again at the house of Titong Cabatingan with their captives.  From there, they proceeded to Lolo Basio’s house in Sitio Libo to arrest Governor Abellana.  Titong Cabatingan, Aning Rumanillos, Lola Nitay and Lolo Tayong served as hostage guide on their way to Lolo Basio’s house and the rest of the captives remained including Frank Vidal, the said spy.  Then and there at Lolo Basio’s house, Governor Dodong Abellana and his family were arrested.  Vicente Abellana, a governor’s son and a certain Candelario Sanchez, a body guard of the Governor, managed to escape.  

Manong Elias Canen was on the other side of the mountain while watching the incident. Inside the house were Lola Olding (wife of Lolo Basio) and the children namely; Ranulfo, Estrella, Virginia, my father (Gervasio Jr.), and Angelina.  Lolo Basio was about to be included in the arrest but my father (Gervasio Jr.) climbed to Lolo Basio’s neck while crying that changed the mind of the leader of the arresting officer.  Aside from that situation, the arresting officers were not able to identify Lolo Basio as the mayor.  Arturo “Riking” Abellana, also a son of Governor Abellana, arrived late at the time of the arrest for he was in Barangay Tabunan.  According to Manong Elias, it was the last time they saw Governor Abellana.

After the arrest, the Japanese soldiers went back to Titong Cabatingan’s house and then proceeded to Lilo-an town where the Japanese forces stationed.  On their way to the town proper, Teofilo Ponce was shot in Barangay Tamiao and was released wounded with a gun shot. Fortunately, Mr. Ponce survived the incident and was elected as mayor of Lilo-an town years after the war.  All of the captives were brought to Cebu City except for Lola Nitay and Lolo Tayong who were released in Liloan town hall and survived the incident.  Anita, the wife of Governor Abellana and her children were also released in the city.  

After that incident, Frank Vidal was arrested and executed through a firing squad by the guerilla forces at the headquarters in Brgy. Tabunan, Cebu City.  He was sentenced to death for guilty of treason.

The Liberation Period

When the American forces arrived in Cebu in 1944, the situation was very chaotic until the late part of 1945. It was already in 1946 that the newly established government appointed a certain Francisco “Tiking” Cabatingan as the new OIC Mayor until the elections of 1947.   It was during this time that the Americans granted independence to the Philippines. It happened on July 04, 1946 .

Mano Tiking was the son of former Mayor Pablo Cabatingan Sr. and Ms. Trinidad Sanchez.  He then married to Ms. Paciencia Calva and blessed with 8 children and they were; Peddy, Trinidad, Eugenio, Rustachil, James, Christoper, Felix Francisco Jr. and Rosemarie Paz.

During that time, Compostela became the host of the 77th division of the American Liberation Forces that forcibly drove out the Japanese forces to the northern part of Cebu.  According to some survivors, most of the people in Compostela evacuated to Barangay Sabang in Danao City while others proceeded to the mountain barangays during the air attack of the American forces.  As the Japanese forces retreated, big houses and establishments in the Poblacion area were intentionally burned down out of retaliation. Rogelio Abelo Sr. told me that he was an eyewitness on that event while they ran to mountains.  

One source who refused to be named told me, that during the Japanese occupation and liberation time, some women in our town served as prostitutes to survive hunger.  He even mentioned some of the names which I chose not to reveal for it is a sensitive subject matter. Some of them got married to American soldiers after the war.

Prior to the proclamation of independence in 1946, Manuel Roxas defeated Sergio Osmena Sr. in the presidential race but later died on April 15, 1948 due to a heart attack in Clark, Pampanga that brought Vice-President Elpidio Quirino to the presidency.  That year (1946) was the start of the two-party system in the country.  The Liberals and the Nacionalistas.

The 1947 Elections

On November 11, 1947, Lolo Basio ran again for another term with Pedro Tagalog as his running mate and was challenged by his own relative, in the person of Mr. Pedro V. Canen together with Mr. Pedro Parawan as Canen’s running mate.  To my personal knowledge, Lolo Basio had a personal grudge against Pedro Canen. A family secret that I choose not to reveal for it's too sensitive. In addition to that, Lolo Basio and Pedro Canen were members of the protestant church.  After the election, Lolo Basio became an inactive member of the church. 

Unfortunately, Lolo Basio was defeated by Pedro Canen in a matter of five votes only. When Lolo Basio was still alive, he allegedly said that he was betrayed by his own secretary in the person of Mr. Agustin Bacon, a native of Brgy. Tag-ubi.  After that incident, Mr. Bacon moved out to Cebu City and never came back maybe out of shame or fear for his deeds. That year was the start of the clash of the Wagas-Canen clan.

Pedro Canen was a native of Brgy. Cabadiangan and was a close relative of Mano Ayong Kanen. He then married to Ms. Felipa Durano and blessed with two children namely; Christopher and Lolita.  Based on my interviews with elder people, Kanen or Canen are just one.  The reason for the split was religion. Kanen's were mostly catholics while Canen's were mostly protestants.  When I asked them which one came first, no one can answer.  But in my own opinion, I believed Kanen was the first because the Spaniards came first and they brought catholic religion in the country ahead of the Americans.

Both Pedro Canen and Pedro Parawan served their term respectively until December 1951 together with Felisima Bacalla, Ruben Alerta, Leoncio Bocaboca, Timoteo Dalaguit, Amado Velasco and Tomas Arias as councilors.  A certain Policarpo Ampoon was the secretary with Dominador Enriquez as the treasurer. A certain Castor Laurel was still the Chief of Police.  

In 1949, Elpidio Quirino and Fernando Lopez defeated Jose P. Laurel and Manuel Briones in the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections. It was marred as the dirtiest election in Philippine history with allegations of massive vote buying and terrorism.

In abroad, President Harry Truman of the Democratic Party defeated Republican Presidential candidate Thomas Dewey in the 1948 U.S. Presidential elections with Alvin Barkley as Vice-President.

The 1951 and the 1955 Elections

Bearing the agony of defeat in the 1947 elections, Lolo Basio decided to put up a formidable mayoralty candidate in the person of Antonio “Noning” K. Alfonso.  Lolo Basio found it hard in convincing his leaders about the plan for some of them were hesitant about the personality of Mr. Alfonso due to his Spanish look and character.  As a sort of compromise, Lolo Basio decided to run as Vice-Mayor just to convince his leaders about the sincerity of his intention. While the Alfonso-Wagas tandem was ready for the 1951 contest, the incumbent Pedro Canen refused to run for reelection and instead supported another candidate in the person of Mr. Imoy Canete with Rufino Acaso as the running mate.  According to some sources, Mr. Pedro Canen went to Mindanao after serving his term to look for greener pastures.  Some observers said that Mr. Canen regretted entering politics. Election day was held on November 1, 1951.

The year 1951 was a good year for Lolo Basio because both of them won the contest that brought his political career in a different rule.  At that time, Lolo Basio was no longer in the front line of public service for he settled down as a Vice-Mayor.  They served the town until December 1955.

Antonio K. Alfonso was the eldest son of Jose Alfonso and Filomena Kanen, who was the elder sister of Hilario Kanen.  He then married to a certain Solidad Kiamco and blessed with six children and they were; Luz, Jose, Amparo, Celsa, Antonio Jr. and Solidad.

It was only a short happy moment for the two friends, when Lolo Basio and Noning Alfonso where at odds due to their differences in policies and styles in politics.  In the 1955 elections, Lolo Basio decided to run for mayor against his one time ally Noning Alfonso.  Amado “Amar” Velasco became Lolo Basio’s running mate against Francisco Cabatingan as Noning’s running mate.  The issue of religion was raised against Lolo Basio for being a hardline protestant while Noning Alfonso was a devoted catholic.  It was the first time in local politics that religion became a major issue.  To add colors to the fight, the wife of Amado Velasco, Piling Calva, was the sister of the wife of Francisco Cabatingan, Pasing Calva.  Unfortunately, Lolo Basio for the second time was defeated together with his running mate.  Both Alfonso and Cabatingan served their term until December 1959.  Election day was held on November 8, 1955.

According to Lolo Basio, there were two reasons why he ran against Noning Alfonso.  One of them was the issue on the distribution of NFA rice and the other was alledgedly the acquisition of Mano Noning of estate properties situated in Sitio Magay that belongs to the Philippine National Railway.  Lolo Basio wanted the land to be subdivided and be distributed to local residents for housing purposes in an installment basis but Mano Noning had a different idea and instead he (Mano Noning) transferred the ownership into his name.  Until now, the PNR properties along the beach in Barangay Magay remained under the name of Mano Noning.

At that time, Cebu was under the leadership of Governor Sergio Osmena Jr. in 1952 while the country was under President Ramon Magsaysay and Vice-President Carlos P. Garcia who won in the 1953 presidential elections under the banner of Nacionalista Party against the incumbent Elpidio Quirino of the Liberal Party.   Magsaysay was once a liberal and shifted allegiance to the Nacionalistas in November 1952 but unfortunately died in a plane crash in Mt. Manunggal of Cebu on March 17, 1957.

Meanwhile in the U.S., Republican President Dweight Eissenhower defeated Democratic Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson in the 1952 U. S. Presidential elections with Richard Nixon as Vice-President and was reelected in 1956 of the same opponent and running mate.

The 1959 Elections

For the second time around, bearing the agony of defeat in the 1955 elections, Lolo Basio fielded another formidable candidate in the person of Mr. Democrito Reynes against the incumbent Antonio Alfonso.  The late Mano Demok pleaded that he is willing to run as long as the full force of the Wagas Clan will support his candidacy.  That request was granted and as a sign of Lolo Basio’s commitment, Ranulfo Wagas (the eldest son of Lolo Basio) was fielded as Mano Demok’s running mate against a certain Sotero Librero as Noning’s runningmate. Titi Rany was only 27 yrs. old at that time.  It was an exciting year for the two mayoralty contenders, which was branded as the fight between the Spanish mestizo that the represents the aristocrats and the man of the masses as Mano Demok portrayed himself. The year 1959 was again a good year for Lolo Basio because both Mano Demok and his son (Titi Rany) won the contest.  Election day was held on November 10, 1959.

Democrito Reynes was the son of Mr. Alejandro Reynes and Ms. Vicenta Morre.  He then married to Ms. Gordiana Valencia and blessed with 10 children and they were; Concepcion, Bernardita, Joselito, Elpidio, Raul, Marian, Florence, Ada, Honoria, and Renita.

The 1959 contest was marred with election related violence as shooting incident happened at the height of the campaign involving Mr. Peddy Cabatingan (son of Francisco Cabatingan) and a certain Francisco Melendres.  According to a very reliable source, Mr. Melendres was wounded and was brought to the hospital but managed to survive the incident and the case was settled before it reached the court.

During that time, the province of Cebu was under the leadership of Governor Jose Briones in 1956-1960 while the country was under President Carlos P. Garcia of the Nacionalista Party who defeated Jose Yulo of the Liberal Party in the 1957 elections.  My favorite man in Philippine politics, Claro M. Recto also ran as president but landed in the fourth place.  Jose P. Laurel also ran as Garcia’s running mate but lost to Diosdado Macapagal of the Liberal Party in the Vice-Presidential race.

The 1963, 1967 and the 1971 Elections

In the 1963 elections, Antonio Alfonso made a rematch with Pedro Gesulga as his running mate.  The Reynes-Wagas tandem was really a force to reckon with and for the second time, Democrito Reynes and Ranulfo Wagas won another term with an increasing margin compared to the previous election. Election day was held on November 12, 1963.

During that time, Cebu was under the leadership of Governor Francisco Remotigue in 1960 and then followed by Governor Rene Espina in 1963-1969 while the country was under leadership of President Diosdado Macapagal of the Liberal Party who won over the incumbent President Carlos P. Garcia in the 1961 Presidential elections.  Emmanuel Pelaez also won as Vice-President.

In abroad, President John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, won over Republican presidential candidate and former Vice-President Richard Nixon in the 1960 U. S. presidential elections. Lyndon Johnson was JFK’s running mate and later became the President after JFK was assassinated in 1963. A year later, President Johnson was elected into office against Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in the 1964 U. S. presidential elections with Hubert Humprey as Johnson’s running mate.  After his reelection, President Johnson resigned from office due to the Water Gate scandal and Vice-President Hubert Humprey ascended to the presidency.

In 1967, Antonio Alfonso made another political comeback and for the third time challenged the Reynes-Wagas tandem and a cetain Wilfredo Dayon became Noning’s running mate.  Again for the third time, Mano Demok and Titi Rany won another landslide victory. Election day was held on November 14, 1967.

In the national scene, the country was under President Ferdinand Marcos and Vice-President Fernando Lopez whose tandem defeated the incumbent Diosdado Macapagal of the Liberal Party.  Marcos was once a liberal and shifted allegiance to the Nacionalista Party in 1964 and became the party’s official standard bearer and won the presidency a year after.  Lolo Basio together with Mano Demok was a delegate during the 1964 convention that was contested by Ferdinand Marcos, Emmanuel Pelaez and Arturo Tolentino.  Lolo Basio said, he voted for Tolentino and Mano Demok was unable to participate due to a headache and was left in the hotel.

According to Lolo Basio, the night before the convention, a party at the hotel was offered by Imelda Marcos for all delegates as a way of soliciting votes.  Money and women were also offered at that night in exchange for votes.  Marcos won the convention and garnered a total of 777 votes and it became as his favorite number.  

In 1971, as Alfonso lost hope in the political derby, a certain Erning Canete together with Teofilo Cabatingan challenged the Reynes-Wagas tandem.  Again for the fourth time, Mano Demok and Titi Rany won the contest for another big margin.  That contest was highlighted with an election-related violence in Brgy. Cabadiangan between the Durano forces and the ALU forces of the Mendoza family.  A shoot out almost took place between the two warring forces.  As far as my memory is concern, Lolo Basio was a political ally of Ramon Durano Sr. of Danao City who happened to be his schoolmate in high school and parted ways in the 1980 elections.  Election day was held on November 8, 1971.

A reported slapping incident also happened between Mr. Peddy Cabatingan and Teofilo “Boy” Cabatingan at the height of the election campaign.  Teofilo Cabatingan was the running mate of Erning Canete and the son of former mayor Pablo "Mano Amboy" Cabatingan Sr. in his second wife while Peddy Cabatingan was the son of former mayor Francisco "Tiking" Cabatingan, also a son of Mano Amboy in his first wife.  According to a very reliable source, their conflict was not only political but more on personal due to land disputes of the Cabatingan family.  Peddy Cabatingan married to my auntie, Virginia Wagas, the elder sister of my father (Gervasio Jr.).

In the provincial set up, Governor Osmundo Rama managed to win a controversial fight against Beatriz Durano of Danao City in the 1968 governatorial race but he was replaced by Governor Eduardo Gullas in 1976 together with Ramonito Durano III as Vice-governor courtesy of the late Dictator Marcos.

At that time, America was under the leadership of President Richard M.Nixon, a Republican, with Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew.  President Nixon defeated Democrat President Hubert Humprey in the 1968 U. S. Presidential elections and was reelected in 1972 against Democratic challenger George Mcgovern with Gerald Ford as the new running mate.

The Martial Law Years and the 1980 Elections

On September 21, 1972, Martial Law was declared by President Ferdinand E. Marcos that extended the term of office on all local officials in the country.  There were some areas in the country that local official were replaced illegally from office.  Compostela was not affected with the reshuffling of officials in the local level for both Mayor Democrito Reynes and Vice-Mayor Ranulfo Wagas were allies of Ramon Durano Sr., a political kingpin of Danao city and a crony of President Marcos during that time.

In 1978, Democrito Reynes died due to illness and Ranulfo Wagas, the legal successor, officially became the town mayor.  This time the Wagas family is back in the limelight of a political adventure under a much complicated and disturbing national political scene under President Marcos.

Ranulfo Wagas was the eldest son of former mayor Gervasio Wagas Sr. and Ms. Lourdes Gala.  He married to Ms. Serena Villaceran and blessed with 7 children and they were; Wilfredo, Randolf, Ferdinand, Renan, Manolito, Rico and Phoebe Ann.  Serena Villaceran was the granddaughter of the late Mano Amboy Cabatingan.  Her parents were Mr. Teofisto Villaceran Sr. and Ms. Porferia Cabatingan.

During that era, the provincial leadership of Cebu was divided between the Durano and the Gullas faction. Both of them were allies of President Marcos under the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.  Ramon Durano Sr. was believed to be the favorite of President Marcos while Gov. Eduardo Gullas was believed to be the favorite of First Lady Imelda Marcos.  At that time, local political leaders in the province of Cebu had only two choices, the Durano or the Gullas faction.

The 1980 contest was the most crucial year in the history of Compostela politics as the local elections resume when martial law was lifted.  My uncle, Ranulfo Wagas, the setting mayor, was challenged by Joselito “Kokoy” V. Reynes, the son of the late Democrito Reynes, a long time ally of the Wagas family.  I could still remember that event for I was atready 10 years old at that time and a fourth grader at the Compostela Central School.  Bernabe Castro became a common Vice-Mayoralty candidate of the two contenders.  Mr. Castro said that he ran under the KBL banner.  Titi Rany’s councilors were; Luis Reyes Jr., Al Mendoza, Rolando Quino, James Cabatingan, Meo Bocaboca, Venancio Gatdula Sr., Frisco Saso and Elias Canen, while Kokoy Reynes councilors were; Alpin Aparicio, Oscar Capul, Silverio Perales, Teodorico Cagang Sr., John Gestopa, Melchor Noval and Manuel Gervise.

Felix Valencia also ran for mayor under the banner of the National Union for Liberation (NUL) while Reynes was recognized as the official candidate of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, the ruling party of President Marcos, courtesy of Ramon Durano Sr.  Titi Rany ran as independent but was supported by Governor Eduardo Gullas.  Interestingly, 17 Barangay Captains of Compostela were behind him.  Atty. Sigrfedo Gesulga also ran for mayor during that time under Pusyon Bisaya party with Nicolas Librero as his running mate.

As far as my memory is concern, the local elections were held on January 30, 1980.  Ramon Durano Sr., a long time ally of the Wagas family was already at odds with Lolo Basio for he respected his son’s (Titi Rany) decision to take side with the Gullas faction.  As a young boy during that time, I was so curious listening to the conversations of people gathered near our house that Titi Rany won the contest for more than 300 votes for it was a close fight. I can still remember the names of barangays were Titi Rany got a tremendous margin over Kokoy Reynes such as the Barangays of Basak, Cabadiangan, Canamucan, Estaca and Buluang.

At around 11:00 in the evening of that day, about 30 to 40 private armies from Danao City (mostly members of the defunct Philippine Constabulary) arrived at the vicinity of the municipal hall led by Tadeo Durano (son of Amon Durano Sr.).  I saw it personally how the private armies disarmed the police officers assigned on duty and were padlocked inside the prison cell while my father was standing at the COMELEC office watching the event.  People were shocked to the incident while others were running out of fear.  Our family was caught in surprise as tension in the area arose.  Some of the private armies were pointing their guns against us looked like ready to fire or maybe just to scare us.  As it happened, I ran to our house and told my mother about the incident.  Mama Ninfa immediately told us to transfer to the other house of our grandfather (Luis Reyes) which is adjacent to our house together with my brothers and sister (Rachel) who was only 6 years old at that time.

As the incident happened, some supporters of Titi Rany were willing to fight the private armies armed with bolos, stones and some with guns.  It took Titi Rany himself to pacify his supporters just to avoid bloodshed and prevented a possible bloody confrontation against the private armies from Danao City.

The day after that incident, news broke out that Joselito V. Reynes was proclaimed by the COMELEC as the winner together with Vice-Mayor Bernabe Castro and the rest of his councilors.  As far as my memory is concern, the proclamation took place at around 6:00 in the evening the day after January 30, 1980.  The election registrar in the person of Atty. Salvacion “Salud” Canete-Aliganga was nowhere to be found and was believed to be kidnapped by unknown persons.  Until now, that incident of kidnapping remains a mystery that only Atty. Aliganga herself can tell the real story.  She was replaced by a certain Virgilio Sanchez from Mandaue City in the proclamation process.  At first, Mr. Sanchez refused to cooperate in manipulating the results but was overpowered by the private armies. In short, the proclamation process was done against the will of Mr. Sanchez.  As I was writing this book, Atty. Aliganga was already the COMELEC Regional-7 Chairperson.  She got her promotion maybe a prize for her silence.  To flashback history, Mr. Virgilio Sanchez was allegedly the brother of Major Fabian Sanchez, the man who led the ambush in Sitio Guila-guila during the Second World War.

As a sign of protest, Titi Rany’s supporters vandalized the walls of the public market and threw stones at the roof.  The COMELEC office was also blasted with dynamites and a waiting shade located in the public market was burned down.  Months later, Titi Rany and his brother Elmer, were arrested without an arrest warrant by the members of the Philippine Constabulary led by a certain Lt. Cabido who was a native of La Union Province and a fresh graduate from the Philippine Military Academy.  The said arrest was presumably under the order of now Sogod Mayor Tadeo Durano.  Both Titi Rany and Uncle Elmer were brought to Camp Sotero Cabahug for interrogation.  The following day, they were presented to Vice Governor Ramonito Durano III and Atty. Adelino Sitoy in a restaurant located at Jones Avenue near Fuente Osmena.  Later in the afternoon, they were brought to the Provincial Fiscal’s office and a case of illegal gambling was filed against them.

During that time, the Provincial Fiscal was Atty. Floreto Durano while the Provincial Judge was Atty. Delfin Quijano.  The case was dismissed for lack of interest on the part of the prosecutors for Lt. Cabido, the arresting officer, was already transferred to another area of assignment.  Maybe the real purpose of the said arrest was only to harass our family courtesy of the Durano family in Danao City.

For some political observers, the year 1980, was remembered as the worst part of history in the local politics of Compostela and that was the time when the country was under the rule of Dictator Marcos.  It happened under the promulgation of the 1972 constitution that was ratified on March 31, 1973 in a plebiscite.  Series of referendums were also held on July 27, 1974 and in February 1975. Another significant event was the bombing of Plaza Miranda during the rally of the Liberal Party’s senatorial candidates. The country was also surprised with the reported escape of Serge Osmena III and Geny Lopez on September 30, 1977. The elections of the Interim National Assembly were also held on April 7, 1978 and Pusyon Bisaya, the opposition’s political party in Region 7, was very popular at that time with the candidacy of Anatalio Bacalso that emerged as the frontrunner during that contest defeating the Gullas, Cuenco, Durano and Osmena coalition of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.

Another significant event was the capture Jose Maria Sison and other top leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines on November 8, 1977.  A plebiscite was also held on April 7, 1981 and followed by a presidential election on June 16, 1981.  Alejo Santos ran for president against Marcos but it was boycotted by major political leaders in the opposition. The most shocking event in the national scene was the assassination of Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. on August 21, 1983 at the Manila International Airport.  Batasan Pambansa elections were also held on May 4, 1984 and Inday Nita Cortes Daluz was the lone survivor in the opposition’s slate under Partido Panaghiusa in the province of Cebu.  Raul Pintoy was also killed during a protest rally at the Cebu Provincial Capitol in Cebu City days after that election.  

During that time, America was under the leadership of Democratic President Jimmy Carter and Vice-President Walter F. Mondale.  President Carter defeated Republican Presidential contender Gerald Ford in the 1976 U. S. Presidential elections.  Four years later, Carter was defeated to Republican President Ronald Reagan in the 1980 U.S. Presidential elections with George Bush as Vice-President.  Both Reagan and Bush were reelected in 1984.

The People Power Revolution

In the year 1986, President Marcos called an unprecedented presidential snap election hoping to regain respect in the international community. Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, the widow of the slain Senator Ninoy Aquino Jr., became the standard bearer of the united opposition with Salvador “Doy” Laurel as her running mate.  At that time, I was already 16 years old and I kept on monitoring the news from the national scene together with my brothers especially Gilbert who was much involved in the student activism as he was already in college. Turn of events happened when people power broke out on February 22-25 in 1986 that ousted Dictator Marcos.  Cory Aquino swore in as the new President under a revolutionary government.  To add history, Titi Rany openly supported President Marcos in the snap election as he was already working with Cebu Governor Eduardo Gullas, an active ally of President Marcos.  It was and incident that was really hard to accept for our family as victims of injustice by Dictator Marcos in the 1980 elections.

Under a revolutionary government, officials in the local level were replaced with Officers in Charge including Compostela.  My brother Gilbert, who was very active in the Anti-Marcos movement, was appointed as OIC Mayor together with Felix Valencia as Vice-Mayor.  The OIC councilors were: Rolando Quino of Brgy. Basak, Berto Villamor of Brgy. Cabadiangan, Antolin Castro of Brgy. Panangban, Elias Canen of Poblacion, Felix Velasco of Sitio Guiwanon, Pablo Baco of Brgy. Cambayog, Venancio Gatdula Jr. of Poblacion and James Cabatingan of Brgy. Estaca.  Several political personalities in Compostela were against the appointment of my brother especially he was only 21 years old during that time.  Some of them who were very vocal in opposing the appointment of Gilbert were Mr. Teofilo Cabatingan and Mr. Marcos Castro.  During that time, Gilbert set a record as the youngest mayor in the country.

The 1988 Elections

As mandated by the 1987 Constitution of the Aquino administration, the first local elections were held on January 30, 1988. My brother Gilbert, being the incumbent, ran for mayor under the National Union of Christian Democrats (NUCD) and the LP-PDP LABAN banner against Bernabe Castro as the strong contender of the opposition. Mr. Castro was a councilor since 1972 and a Vice-mayor in 1980. Other mayoralty contenders were Pablo Cabatingan Jr. and Atty. Sigfredo Gesulga. Felix Valencia, the OIC Vice-Mayor of Gilbert, also ran for mayor after having misunderstandings with Gilbert.  The expulsion of Felix Valencia from the group provided James Cabatingan a new door to accelerate from being a councilor and to become the Vice-Mayoralty candidate of the ruling party.  Sotero Librero also ran as Vice-Mayor for Bernabe Castro.

It was a close fight between my brother Gilbert and Mr. Castro who was a veteran politician and beside he enjoyed the support of Congressman Ramonito Durano III of Danao City who got a fresh mandate in the 1987 congressional elections defeating Inday Nita Cortes Daluz of Partido Panaghiusa who happened to be our candidate.

Gilbert won the contest with a margin of more than 200 votes together with his running mate James Cabatingan.  Only six out of eight of Gilbert’s councilors made it to the magic eight for the two candidates were dislodge and they were Alex Paradiang and Berto Villamor.  The two opposition councilors who made it to slate were Teodorico Cagang Sr. and Robert Perales.  The six councilors who survived were: Rolando Quino, Venancio Gatdula Jr., Pablo Baco, Felix Velasco, Antolin Castro and Elias Canen.  They served their term until June 30, 1992.

Meanwhile, in the provincial contest, Emilio “Lito” Osmena won as governor with Enrique Rama as Vice-Governor of Partido Panaghiusa breakaway group.  Nenita Cortes-Daluz also ran for governor with Atty. Democrito Barcenas as her running mate also under Partido Panahiusa.  The other contender was Felimon Fernandez with Gloria Sevilla as the running mate.  

Across the nation, President George Bush, a Republican, won over Democratic challenger Michael Dukakis in the 1988 U.S. Presidential elections with Danforth Quayle as Vice-President.

The 1992 Elections

Under the 1987 constitution, the 1992 elections would be the first synchronized election in the country, from the President down to the local level.  In the presidential derby, the ruling party, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) convention was hotly contested between Ramon Mitra, the current speaker of the House of Representatives and Fidel V. Ramos, the current Defense Secretary of then President Cory Aquino.  Ramos lost in the convention and later formed his own party Lakas-Tao and fortunately won the presidency. The other losing candidates were former Senate President Jovito Salonga of the Liberal Party, Miriam Defensor-Santiago of the People’s Reform Party, Eduardo Cojuangco of the Nationalist People’s Coalition or NPC, former Vice-President Salvador Laurel of the Nacionalista Party and Imelda Marcos of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.

During that time, Gilbert was very much involved in the provincial politics of Cebu and decided to run as Congressman in the 5th district of Cebu against the incumbent Ramonito Durano III. As the election was approaching, the name of Dr. Antonio Dangoy was already floated as the official mayoralty candidate of the opposition which was supported by the Durano Dynasty of Danao City.  At that time, Dr. Dangoy was a very popular candidate.  Aside from practicing his profession as a Doctor of Medicine he was also an active lay man of the Catholic Church. His network in the Parish Council proved to be a plus factor in his bid to become a mayor. Aside from having a well organized network, he also enjoyed the support of Father Rogelio Montebon.  Because of that development, nobody from the group of Gilbert wanted to run against Dr. Dangoy for they will be a sure loser.  As a result, my uncle (Elmer Wagas) who was already residing in Iligan City was sacrificed to run in behalf of the group, for Gilbert was already sure in running for Congress.  Esteban “Nene” Valencia became the running mate of Uncle Elmer and the candidates for councilors were; Venancio Gatdula Jr., Rolando Quino, Antolin Castro, Robert Perales, Pablo Baco, Elias Canen, Felix Velasco and Duque Arceo.

Unfortunately, Titi Rany who was already residing in Cebu City since 1980 went home and filed his own certificate of candidacy for mayor that gave Uncle Elmer’s candidacy a big problem.  Aside from facing a strong candidate (Dr. Dangoy), he was also disturbed by his own elder brother. Another blow to the group of Gilbert was the defection of Vice-Mayor James Cabatingan to the group of Dr. Dangoy and eventually Cabatingan became Dangoy’s running mate as a reward for his defection.  The candidates for councilors were; Edgar Paradiang, Felimon, Parcon, Teodorico Cagang Sr., Alexter Arias, Gemma Cruz, Genoviva Castro, Edilberto Luna, and Victoriano Acero.  Gomercinda Longakit of Sitio Aggies allegedly lost to Mr. Acero a matter of one vote only during the party’s convention that was held at the Magay Cockpit Arena owned by Mrs. Solidad A. Gabutan.  Prior to the 1992 elections, James Cabatingan was already groomed by the group as the next mayor for being the next in line to Gilbert but maybe for his own reason of political survival, Cabatingan decided to transfer to Dangoy’s side and leaving his group with a big disappointment.

On the second Monday of May 1992, early returns of election results showed that Antonio Dangoy and his group were on the lead as expected.  Uncle Elmer ranked second while Titi Rany was a poor third. It was a landslide victory of Dr. Antonio Dangoy and his group and particularly it was a sweet victory for the Durano’s of Danao City who were never punished by their deeds in the 1980 election.  Of the eight councilors of Dangoy’s line-up, only one was not able to survive and it was Mr. Victoriano Acero who happened to be my Math teacher in high school.  Mr. Acero was deliberately replaced by Ms. Josephine Abing in Dangoy’s line-up during the election.  Years later, Mr. Acero died with great sadness.

Dr. Antonio Dangoy was the son of Mr. Vicente Dangoy and Ms. Felicitas Morre. He then married to Ms. Agrifina Cataquiz and blessed with two daughters namely; Mary Antoinette and Mary Ann.

The 1992 election was considered as the most colorful event of the year. Aside from the clash of the Wagas family, the mayoralty post was hotly contested by so many aspirants. One of them was Mr. Celestino Abella of the People’s Reform Party with Silverio Calva as his running mate. Mr. Arthur Limbaga also ran as mayor under the KBL banner with George Toledo as the running mate.  Nicolas Librero also ran for mayor under the Lakas Party with Mrs. Miguelita Caesar as Vice-Mayor. Florencio Arias Jr. also ran under the KBL together with Edgar Ygot as his running mate.  The seats of councilors were also contested by more than 60 aspirants.

It was also proven during this period that the church is a potent factor in winning an election. After that election, people who were aspiring for public office in our town pretended to be religious and got involved in church activities just to attract votes from the parishioners.  In 1997, I was also a victim of church discrimination when I got married.  The parish priest in the person of Fr. Rogelio Montebon refused to officiate the wedding mass for he was a staunch supporter of Dr. Dangoy.  Because of that incident, I asked the services of another priest from Maslog, Danao City in the person of Fr. Butch Senoron.  To add injury to the incident, the church demanded from me the amount of P500.00 payment for the priest who refused to officiate.  It was an incident that until now I cannot forget. Another incident happened when my mother was not allowed by church officials to sponsor a wedding of a close relative again because of politics.  They said that my mother was prohibited to sponsor a wedding for being unwed with my father.  But I noticed that other personalities who have the same status with my mother were allowed to do so that they even allow an adulterous person to enjoy such privilege.  My brother Gilbert and Uncle Elmer also suffered the same fate as my mother had and it happened many times during the period of Fr. Montebon.

In the provincial level, Vicente dela Cerna won as governor against Anet Osmena, the wife of Lito Osmena who ran for Vice-President but lost to Joseph Estrada. Apolinio Abines also won as Vice-governor against Greg Sanchez of PROMDI.  Tingting dela Cerna and Apolonio Abines both ran under the LDP banner of Ramon Mitra.  During that time the big four (Durano, Abines, Gullas and Martinez) of Cebu supported Dela Cerna’s bid.  My brother Gilbert also lost to Ramonito Durano III in that congressional contest with other candidates such as Philip Tionko of PROMDI.

Meanwhile in the presidential contest, Fidel Ramos manage to win over his closest rival Miriam Defensor-Santiago while Joseph Estrada won the Vice-presidency with a comfortable margin against other contenders including Marcelo Fernan and Lito Osmena of Cebu.

In America, Bill Clinton, defeated incumbent President George H.W. bush in the 1992 U. S. Presidential elections with Al Gore as Vice-President.  Both Clinton and Gore were reelected in 1996.

The 1995 Elections

After a devastating experience in 1992, my brother (Gilbert) decided to launch a possible political comeback and challenged the leadership of Dr. Dangoy in the 1995 elections. Gilbert for the second time ran again for mayor together with Nicolas Librero as his running mate. During that time, Gilbert was able to form a formidable line up in the councilor’s slate and they were; Duque Arceo, Alfredo Cabatingan, Armand Benabaye, Jason Velasco, Elias Canen, Eleizer Pepito, Angelo Gonzalez and Antonio Ochea.

During the campaign, the main political issue was the increase of local taxes and business licenses.  The construction of Daewo Cars in Brgy. Canamucan was also a political issue due to agrarian problems and land classification for it was located in a rich and fertile area for agriculture.  At the start of the campaign, it was seen as a good fight between the two parties.  Suddenly, political circumstances during that time did not favor Gilbert’s group for all of them lost in the contest and Dr. Dangoy and his group manage to survive the challenge. After that contest, Dr. Dangoy was perceived to be a force in local politics.  Despite a lopsided election result, some political observers considered the fight as one of the best in history of our town for it was a one on one fight.

At that time, I was already much involve in the campaign and I had experience encountering irregularities in the electoral system.  Aside from massive vote buying which was already a common practice during election, I was able to discover new methods of election cheatings. Some of them were; disenfranchisement of voters, lansadera, vote padding and ballot switching.  All of these techniques were already notice in the 1992 elections but I was able to master it in 1995 for I was already in charge of poll watching.

By that time, I was convinced that these irregularities were implemented with the connivance of some COMELEC officials.  In the provincial contest, Pablo Garcia managed to win as governor against the incumbent Tingting dela Cerna while Vice-governor Apolonio Abines was reelected against Bebs Pepito.   Both Garcia and Abines ran under the LAKAS Party while Dela Cerna and Pepito ran under LDP.  At that time in the national level, LAKAS and LDP were having a coalition in the senatorial line-up and adapted a policy of the equity of the incumbent in the local level while Congressman Ramonito Durano III ran unopposed in that election.

The 1998 Elections

After a frustrating experience in the 1992 and 1995 elections, the opposition was in a lousy mode in challenging the incumbents for it was a hopeless fight against a well established opponent.  While enjoying the privilege of being the incumbent, they also enjoy the support of Congressman Ramonito Durano III of Danao City.

After series of consultations, my brother Rolly was convinced to run for mayor against Dr. Dangoy with Fermin Parcon as his running mate and the candidates for councilors were; Jose Gallur, Arnel Garcia, Mercy Minoza, Silverio Calva, Elias Canen, Nicolas Librero, George Cinco and Angel Pumar.  A certain Samuel Panares also ran for mayor under the banner of the Laban ng Masang Pilipino of Presidential candidate Joseph Estrada.  Under the law, Vice-mayor James Cabatingan was no longer allowed to run for another term and as a result, Councilor Josephine Abing became the replacement while Mr. Cabatingan slid down to the councilor.  Titi Rany, Duque Arceo and Pablo “Loi” Cabatingan Jr. took the opportunity in running for Vice-mayor as independents thinking that Ms. Abing was a weak candidate for she was not a native of Compostela.  The results proved them wrong and Josephine Abing prevailed in the contest and as expected by many, Dr. Dangoy and his group swept the contest with a comfortable margin.

In the province, Governor Pablo Garcia was reelected against the challenger Regalado Maambong but his running mate (Apolonio Abines) lost to Nanding Celeste of Alayon Party. Ramonito Durano III who was already in his third term, was replaced by his own son Joseph Ace Durano in the Congressional post and ran unopposed.

In the presidential derby, Joseph Estrada won a landslide victory over Joe de Venecia of Lakas party but Edgardo Angara (Estrada’s running mate) lost to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of KAMPI.  Lito Osmena of PROMDI also ran for President but lost.  Other contenders for the presidency were Raul Roco of Aksyon Demokratiko and Alfredo Lim of Liberal Party.

The 2001 Elections

After series of defeats in the last three elections, the leadership of my brother (Gilbert) was already in low spirit.  As a result, Duque Arceo, a one time ally of the family and was perceived to be a rich man, formed his own slate and emerged as the new challenger against the group of Dr. Dangoy.  He even managed to convince some of Gilbert’s trusted leaders in joining his group.  Duque Arceo became the official mayoralty candidate of the opposition minus the Wagas factor.  Despite the political setbacks that our family suffered, my brother Ritchie was forced to run under the Liberal Party.  Series of suggestions were made by concerned supporters for a unification of the Wagas and Arceo faction but failed because Mr. Arceo wanted to run without the support of the Wagas family.  In my own analysis, Duque Arceo wanted to prove something that he is capable of becoming a mayor all by himself or maybe it was the pride of a rich man.  Both Ritchie and Duque were good friends a long time ago and I was a witness of that relationship but they became alien to each other due to some business conflicts.

Mr. Arceo was able to form a good slate with Pablo “Loi” Cabatingan as his running mate together with his councilors and they were; Rene Oliva, Isidro Bitoon, Antolin Castro, Mario Paradiang, Armand Benabaye, Wilfredo Parawan, Efren Cayamanda and Sotero Librero Jr.. Even during the height of the campaign, I can already sense that it was going to be a close fight between Dr. Dangoy and Duque Arceo.

During that time, the group of Dr. Dangoy still enjoyed the support of Ramonito Durano III while Mr. Arceo enjoyed the support of Governor Pablo Garcia.  Aside from the provincial factor, Mr. Arceo was perceived to be capable of waging a campaign with his vast resources and even of buying votes which was already a common practice in our town since 1992.  This practice was even mastered by church people in our town to the extent of becoming the paymasters during election time.  Despite the unfavorable political developments during that time, my brother Ritchie, managed to complete his own slate and Ms. Concepcion "Ciony" Reynes became his running mate.  The councilors were; Eduardo Esguerra, Miriam Calva, Malequias Ceballo, Stephen Reyes, Joe Gallur, Andronico Perales, Leonardo Pandeling and Sulpicio Marago Jr..

On the administration side, Dr. Dangoy was no longer allowed to run under the law for he was already in his third term.  His vice-mayor, James Cabatingan became his substitute while he went down to become the vice-mayoralty candidate.  Some incumbent councilors, who were already on their third term, were replaced by their own relatives. Edgar Paradiang was replaced by his own brother, Pepe Paradiang and Edilberto Luna was replaced by his own son Dodong Luna.  Josephine Abing also went down from vice-mayor to a councilor.

In the ideal world, political developments in our town during that time became unpleasant.  I myself cannot believe for it was much opposite for what I had learned from school what really politics was all about.  Running the affairs in our town now becomes a family affair and besides public service becomes a business or a way of earning money.  Another thing that really puzzled me was the apathetic reaction of the so-called intellectual sector in our town and even church people who are supposed to be the role models of our society.

On the second Monday of the month of May in 2001, election results were a little bit tense because Duque Arceo and his group won in some areas especially in the mountain barangays.  But in the following day, news broke out that James Cabatingan and Dr. Dangoy’s group managed to survive without any casualty.

James Cabatingan was the son of Mr. Francisco Cabatingan and Ms. Paciencia Calva.  He then married to Ms. Erlinda Pepito and blessed with 6 children and they were; Ninfa, Emely Jane, Lorraine, Joy Ann, Christian James Earner and Everhard.

After that event, public opinion prevailed that money alone cannot win an election against a well established opponent.  Aside from a defective electoral system, political issues and flat forms of government shall always be the center of a political struggle.  In my own analysis, the biggest factor in Dr. Dangoy’s victory was the divided opposition and the lack of a political cause on the part of Duque Arceo and his group.  Mr. Arceo was being guided by his own pride and personal ambitions instead of public interest.

In the provincial set up, Governor Pablo Garcia managed to survive a reelection campaign for the second time against his challenger and incumbent Vice-governor Nanding Celeste.  Cong. Junie Martinez (Garcia’s running mate) lost to Johnjohn Osmena in the Vice-Governatorial race while Cong. Joseph Ace Durano extended his term in congress without an opponent. Prior to election time in 2001, President Joseph Estrada was ousted in office through a people power in EDSA that brought Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the presidency.  As a consequence, Sen. Tito Guingona was appointed Vice President as mandated in the 1987 constitution.

In abroad, George Bush of the Republican Party won over Vice-President Al Gore of the Democratic Party in a controversial 2000 U.S. presidential derby and was reelected in 2004 against Democratic challenger John Kerry.

The 2004 Elections

As a result of the previous experience in 2001, public opinion was getting stronger that a united opposition can really beat the administration forces.  Series of negotiations were made between the factions of Duque Arceo and our family.  Hoping against hope just to put up a united opposition in the coming election, my brother Ritchie was even willing to slide down and to become Arceo’s running mate.  Unluckily, that negotiation landed a dead end for Mr. Arceo wanted to pursue his ambition without the Wagas family.

Because of that development, Ritchie decided to put up a complete slate and prepared for a serious battle.  During that time, Ritchie was already economically stable with his fortunes in his export business, the Wagas Crafts.  Luis Reyes Jr., my uncle on my mother's side and a one time Brgy. Captain of Poblacion became Ritchie’s running mate.  The candidates for councilors were; Miriam Calva, Lando Melendres, Roy Lucero, Job Juntilla, Marvin Morales, Nardo Pandeling, Fidel Calo and Rene Bugtai.  Despite setbacks in 2001 elections, Duque Arceo managed to form his own slate with Canamucan Brgy. Captain Ano Lawas as his running mate.  His councilors were; Leizel Cabido, Roel Perales, Isidro Bitoon, Rene Oliva, Emerlinda Canen, Sotero Librero Jr., Elmer Mecaros and Glen Villaceran.

On the part of the administration, Mayor James Cabatingan was replaced by Dr. Dangoy after serving one term.  As a result, Cabatingan retired in politics maybe out of shame and insult.  As a way of consolation to the Cabatingan family and maybe because of income loss, Beboy’s daughter was included in the councilor’s slate.  In my own analysis, that was his prize for being a political butterfly.   In the end, his (James Cabatingan) transferring from one party to another made him a laughing stock in local politics.  People in Compostela observed him as a puppet mayor for it was Dr. Dangoy who was running the show during his term.  For the second time around, Josephine Abing became Dangoy’ running mate and the councilors were; Jose Cagang, Pepe Paradiang, Artemio Luna, Leo Sanchez, Joy Ann Cabatingan, Robert Perales, Joselito Reynes and Joel Quino.

During the early quarter of the campaign, Ritchie was not considered as a serious candidate for it was still Duque Arceo that was perceived to be the strong challenger.  But as days gone by at the height of the campaign period, surveys showed that Ritchie’s candidacy was already in the front line. Unexpected by some political observers, the event turn out to be a close fight between Ritchie and Dr. Dangoy while Mr. Arceo’s candidacy became irrelevant in that contest.

In the early evening of the second Monday of the month of May in 2004, election results in the Poblacion area were in tense moment because Ritchie was leading in the race.  Another unexpected performance was in Barangay Canamucan were Ritchie got a tremendous lead over Dr. Dangoy.  At 7:00 o clock in the evening, I personally went to Brgy. Estaca to monitor the results but surprisingly, Ritchie was still on the lead with a small margin and almost a tie with Dr. Dangoy.  Hours later at around 9:00 o clock in the evening, Tiya Binya (Virginia Wagas-Velasco) arrived from Brgy. Cabadiangan and was not in a victorious mode. She reported to us that we lost in Cabadiangan but only with a small margin and it would not be more than a hundred votes.  Dangoy got a majority of 77 votes in the final tally of the said Barangay.  With that report, the festive mode in our house turned to be sour as election results from the mountain barangays kept on coming.  At early dawn of the day (May 12, 2004), results were already clear that Dr. Dangoy and his group again won the contest while Duque Arceo landed at poor third.  The most devastating result was in Brgy. Basak were Dr. Dangoy won a big margin for almost 300 votes over my brother Ritchie.
After that event, public opinion prevailed that the possibility of winning against Dangoy’s group could be possible.  Dr. Antonio Dangoy only mastered 1,585 votes to win over Ritchie in the final tally.  A big difference compared to previous elections since 1992 that change the minds of the Compostelanhons.


In the provincial set up, it was a three corner fight among Celestino "Junie" Martinez Jr., Gwendolyn "Gwen" Garcia and Johnjohn Osmena. Junie Martinez was the mayor of Bogo City and a former Congressman, while Gwen Garcia was the daughter of  Governor Pablo Garcia and Johnjohn Osmena was the current Vice-governor and he is the son of former Senator John Henry "Sonny" Osmena.

At that time, I was working  with the group of Junie Martinez Jr. as a political officer in the 5th district of Cebu and at the same time as a radio commentator at Bantay Radio which was owned by Engr. Gregorio Sanchez who happened to be our candidate for vice governor.

It was a close fight among the three candidates but Gwen Garcia managed to win over Junie Martinez Jr. for less than 8,000 votes only. Luckily, Engr. Gregorio Sanchez survived with a comfortable margin over Julian Daan known as Esteban Escudero for the vice governor.  Mr. Daan was the running mate of Gwendolyn Garcia.

After that election, I was hired by Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez as his Political Consultant. Unfortunately, that appointment was blocked by Governor Gwen Garcia. I was a victim of political persecution because of my role during and after the election. For 6 months working, I never received any compensation from the Capitol because the Governor refused to recognized my appointment. Until now, I maintained that the act was illegal based on the principle on the separation of power. But unfortunately, Vice Governor Sanchez refused to pursue a case against Governor Garcia. To my disappointment, I resigned. That was both a good and a bad experience for a neophyte like me.

Meanwhile in the national scene, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo won over her closest rival Fernando Poe Jr.. The latter lost badly in Cebu for over a million votes. The 3 gubernatorial candidates of Cebu supported Gloria Arroyo.

The 2007 Elections

Year 2007 was already a different era.  While voters are getting younger, social media was already popular.  Youtube, Friendster, Twitter and Facebook or shall we call it the internet became the medium of information no matter where your location is.  I was already in the U.S. during that time but amazingly, I am still updated with developments in my hometown with the help of advance technology. From celebrations, fiestas, deaths, economic development and particularly politics. Everything is right there in your computer.

With Ritchie's experience in the last elections, his confidence level is stepping up.  Political landscape in Compostela is also changing so fast.  Mayor Dangoy's administration is getting vulnerable and in disarray.  My brother Ritchie is getting the momentum while Mayor Dangoy is now on the defensive mode.  The issue of immorality is becoming the center of discussion while the election is fast approaching.

Feeling the wind of change in 2007, Mayor Antonio Dangoy and Duque Arceo forced to join forces just to stop Ritchie's momentum. Both of them believed in the calculation, that if they join together, they have enough numbers to block Ritchie's rising popularity. Duque Arceo ran as councilor while Joel Quino ran as Dangoy's Vice Mayor. The other candidates for councilors were; Joy Ann Cabatingan, Josephine Abing, Wilfredo Calo, Tessa Paradiang, Joselito Reynes, Pepe Paradiang, and Leo Sanchez.

On the other hand, Ritchie's group was enjoying the momentum and is ready for a rematch. The other positive development is that, some of Arceo's leaders were disappointed with the latter's decision to join Dr. Dangoy's party. Leaders like Glen Villaceran and Bernabe Castro were now supporting Ritchie. Eventually, Glen Villaceran became Ritchie's running mate and the councilors were; Venancio Gatdula Jr., Fe Castro-Yuson, Carlos Paradiang, Alfredo Cabatingan, Rene Bugtai, Serapio Tejero Jr., Joey Pumar and Willy Saso.


On the evening of May 14, 2007, my brother Ritchie won the election but his running mate (Glen Villaceran) lost to Joel Quino. In addition to that, only Venancio Gatdula Jr. made it to the final list of the councilors. Despite Dr. Dangoy's aging and health issues, my brother (Ritchie) was only able to master less than a thousand votes over the incumbent. For me, it was a clear proof that Dr. Dangoy was a force to reckon with. That early morning after the election day, our family was celebrating. That was the first time Dr. Antonio Dangoy suffered defeat after 15 years in power.
My brother, Ritchie was next to Gilbert who was our eldest. He was followed by Rolly and I was the fourth. Michael was the 5th and Rachel was the youngest. Our parents were Gervasio Gala Wagas Jr. and Ninfa Tuyco Reyes. Our father was a police officer while our mother was a plain housewife and a dressmaker.  We all lived in Barangay Poblacion particulary near the public market area. Our father has a bloodline of politicians. Our grandfather (Gervasio Wagas Sr.) was a former mayor and our uncle (Ranulfo Wagas) was also a former mayor. Gilbert, our eldest was also a former mayor. Our mother was the daughter of Luis A. Reyes Sr. and Cresencia Toledo Tuyco. Ritchie married to Debbie Ursula Ramon and blessed with a daughter named Ulrika.

In the province, Governor Gwen Garcia was reelected against Dr. Antonio Yapha while Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez also won for another term. Garcia was with LAKAS-KAMPI of the ruling administration while Dr. Yapha was with the opposition. Dr. Yapha was a Congressman of the third district of Cebu before he ran for governor.

While in abroad, I was busy monitoring the election fever in America. For the first in my life that I witnessed how Americans conduct presidential elections . In November 2008, Barrack Obama of the Democrats won the presidency over Arizona Senator John McCain of the Republican party. President Obama became the first African-American president in U.S. history. I was not a voter at that time because of my immigration status but I really enjoy watching the news particularly the presidential debates. One thing I learned from that experience is that Americans are issue oriented while Filipinos are personality oriented.

To be continued

Reader's View

"History of Compostela (Cebu, Philippines) authored by Neil Edwin Wagas is not only a political perspective but also authoritative in nature.  The important events and personalities it contains will serve as best reference for the people of Compostela, especially future generations.  Every family in our town (Compostela) is encouraged to keep one copy of said book."

                                                                               - Bernabe Castro Sr.
                                                                                 Vice-Mayor   (1980-1986)
                                                                                 Compostela, Cebu, Philippines

"A very good source of information for every concerned Compostelanhon."

                                                                               - Sergio Villasica
                                                                                 Telecom, Compostela, Cebu

"Very interesting!  Highly recommended for today's youth and give them a chance to know the people behind how Compostela became to be both historically and politically relevant with a sense of culture and pride.  Though varied reactions are unavoidable, least, it's chronology of events as presented, gives us full view of our dear part the whose and who in Philippines as well as American politics which has influenced as much.  To the author, congratulations for an effort well done.  As a planner, this would be and important tool for planning purposes."

                                                                                - Carmelo L. Tejero
                                                                                  Mun. Planning and Devt. Coordinator
                                                                                  Compostela, Cebu, Philippines