Winning loyalty



    So we wrote in October 2006 of then-already ex-BM Dinan Labung launching a salvo of Scud missiles on then-BM Dong Gonzales, the perceived frontrunner in the 3rd district congressional race for 2007.  

    Dinan was on a comeback of sorts, from his defeat to three-term City of San Fernando Mayor Rey Aquino in the 2004 House race.

    Off hand, Dinan minced no words in demeaning Dong’s multifarious infra projects as nothing short of frying the people in their own lard with the board member skimming off the fat.

    His bombing run then went thus:

    In so many words, Dinan disabused the mindset on Dong’s outstanding performance thus: The funds for the projects are the people’s, coursed through the pork barrel of some senators past and present – Loren Legarda, Robert Jaworski and Juan Flavier notably – who favored Dong to facilitate their implementation.

    Dong, as contractor, profits in millions; Dong, as politician, gains in popularity mileage. What with his name displayed on all those billboards, even more prominently than the project sponsors.

    “Menakitan ne, sinikat ya pa,” Dinan deigned. No need stressing here that Dinan is also a big-time contractor.

    So he knows whereof he speaks?

    Dinan damns Dong as disloyal, if not a virtual traitor, to the Kapampangan with the latter’s steadfast position on the provincial board resolution adopting his patron, Loren the Protestant, as daughter of the province.

    In fairness though, there are a number who deemed Dong’s was the principled stand to the obsequiousness of an utterly spineless Sangguniang Panlalawigan that, as we all know, withdrew the resolution pronto when the Little One raised a penciled eyebrow.

    Total, unconditional support to the President in Congress makes Dinan’s casus belli in his run against Dong. Dinan makes you think that is the sole reason for his running.

    “We cannot afford to have one congressman from Pampanga joining the impeachment move against the President,” declared Dinan already prejudging Dong as an oppositionist. And himself as the champion of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

    “It was Malacañang that asked me to make myself available for this task after the incumbent Rey Aquino decided to run for mayor of San Fernando,” Dinan disclosed.

    He did not need to overemphasize his closeness with the First Family to further convince his Sunday night audience of mediamen and supporters long convinced of his epoxied bonds with Mikey Macapagal Arroyo.

    Didn’t he – Dinan – fellow Board Member Cris Garbo and then Vice Governor Mikey form the Sanggunian’s once most colorful, if not formidable troika that was the Tatlong Itlog? Didn’t he – Dinan – star alongside Mikey in a number of his clueless action movies?

    There’s a message there. And Dinan pounced on it: “I shall be the administration candidate and the presidency is not at stake in the 2007 elections.” Read: Malacañang, with all the resources of government at its disposal, will be at full throttle to make its candidates win; the President’s party at maximum drive to steamroll the Opposition to submission.

    Already – Dinan claims – Didi Domingo, a Lakas stalwart, has committed her local machinery to him. And to the Lapids, the President’s wish is their command.

    Dinan Labung ing Tersera Distritu. Literally, let the third district bloom.

    Be afraid Dong. Be very afraid.

    Of course, with an unafraid Dong, Dinan was reduced to a patsy in the polls. 

    And with GMA herself swearing Dong into office as 3rd district congressman with no one else but brothers Mikey and Dato in attendance, making it like a close family affair, we all saw where the pieces, Dinan’s shattered ego included, fell.

    Dong went on to be a privileged travelling companion of GMA and brought home to his district not just the proverbial bacon but the whole kitchen with millions of funds for infrastructure, scholarships, agriculture development and health care. This ensuring his easy re-election in 2010. This projecting a formidable stand in the coming one.

    From what we’ve been hearing, Dinan is at it again – dissing Dong even more. As much to avenge his 2004 loss as to advance the cause of his ninong, Mayor Oca Rodriguez, fighting an uphill battle against Dong.

    Thereby – IF Dong loses – Dinan exacting more than his proverbial pound of flesh.

    Of the old issues against Dong, none has assumed more resonance than that of loyalty. Which – to the (dis)credit of Oca’s propagandists – has barely been tapped to his full benefit.

    Dong – so it has long been bannered and bandied about – abandoned his patron of many years, GMA as she was being wheeled to the hospital in the very first instance of her life-threatening afflictions. Dong cutting the ties via a text message at that!  

    A fair-weather friend so damned the Lakas-Kampi loyalists of Dong then.

    In the starkest of contrasts, Oca on the other hand has had his runs of political misfortune rising out of his loyalty to party and patron.

    Sticking out with Ramon Mitra’s LDP in 1992 cost Oca his congressional seat – losing to the then-veritably unknown Didi Domingo of Lakas-NUCD.

    Acquiescing to the wishes of GMA in 2004, Oca forever forfeited his long-held dream of the Pampanga governorship. He settled for the San Fernando mayoralty, ceding the governorship to Mark Lapid.

    The Capitol serving as the ransom GMA paid to then-Senate-running Lito Lapid. GMA needed all the votes she could muster in the upper chamber to pursue her agenda, not the least of which was forestalling any move to impeach her. And the bida fitted the role of unquestioning, if not unthinking, ayer to GMA there. 

    And what did Oca get for this? Practically driven out of Lakas-CMD which opted for the ailing Tiger Lagman in the mayoral contest of 2010.

    So therefore, it is concluded: As utmost loyalty is Oca,  sheer disloyalty defines Dong. Aye, there are reasons that reason itself cannot reason out. So the kanto philosopher is wont to say when he runs out of logical arguments in any cause he propounds.

    So it was not that Dong loved GMA less but that he loved his tens of thousands of scholars more.

    Threatened as he was of losing his PDAF if he remained with the former President and thereby endangering the education of his constituents.

    So what do we make of Dong there? More than the end justifying the means, it is the Buddhist thought that the rightness of an act is determined by its intent, rather than by its consequence. 

    On another level, as the word maven William Safire put it: “Shakespeare buttressed the need for central, rather than higher, loyalty in Hamlet, with Polonius advising his son: ‘To thine own self be true, / And it must follow, as the night the day, / Thou canst not then be false to any man.’

    The first loyalty – ahead of God, country, family – is to your integrity, to your sense of what you fiercely believe is right. Pledge your allegiance to that and all the subsidiary pulls of loyalty sort themselves out.”

    Still and all, it’s winning loyalty that counts in elections most.

    And Dong has mastered this. Dinan’s dissing of him devolving to nothing more than pestering but totally harmless hissing.            


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