Who will be the next mayor of Bontoc?

By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas

“Will it be worth the sacrifice? For the sake of the people of Bontoc, I guess, it will be.”

Even if you just have a flimsy argument for your case, then pound on that argument. If you don’t have any argument at all, then pound on the table.
That is the guiding principle of lawyers. That is why there is a lot of slots reserved for them in hell. No early reservation required.
This generation of Cordillerans have perhaps the most educated members. We are talking of formal education. Unlike 50 years ago when most of the highly educated Cordillerans were from my home town, Besao, Mtn. Province. Now, you talk about doctors and lawyers or those who have post graduate degrees and there is a lot of them from everywhere in our mountainous region.
If a bullet is fired and goes stray in any capital town of the Cordillera, chances are, it will hit a lawyer. As I told Atty. Willibroth “Willy” Managtag of Bontoc, Mtn. Prov., when I chanced upon him in a restaurant here in Baguio, with all the Cordilleran lawyers around, it is high time they occupied the higher elective political positions. It will be good for the people. For instance, an educated member of a sanggunian (provincial or municipal) was usually overworked editing the ordinances they passed because he was often the only one who could edit.
So my final statement to Atty. Managtag before we parted was, “you should run in Bontoc this coming election.”
Talking about lawyers in Bontoc, there is another lawyer who will have a good chance of winning should he decide to throw his hat into the political ring. He is already old enough and has enough experience in private practice and in government offices. So he knows how to navigate the government bureaucracy to get the best for his constituents.
Not only would he be competent on the job. The good thing about him is, he had maintained his humility. And coming from a political family, I am very sure he would be very approachable by all sorts of constituents from all walks of life if he decides to run for mayor of Bontoc. He would have no trouble putting his arm around the shoulders of anybody, even a member of the great unwashed.
But most of all, he is not a boring company, and he is not “pikon.” Those who are “pikon” are always not worth voting for.
I am talking of Atty. Philip Randolph Kiat-ong.
Going back to his not being “pikon”, we once faced each other in a court case and even in the most serious parts of the case, we would find chances to throw humorous jabs at each other. At times, even the judge would be trying not to let go a smile. That was fun, Philip.
The most serious question though is “winnability.” A political career is not built overnight. Lucky for Atty. Philip, his father has already built the political goodwill of the Kiat-ong name for many decades already. So Philip would have a very good lead over his political opponents, if ever.
Finally, will he sacrifice all that he has now for politics? He is presently a public prosecutor of Baguio City. While he is always busy with work, he still has the time be with the kids and his wife. Such times are priceless. No amount of political power or money can pay for such.
Will it be worth the sacrifice? For the sake of the people of Bontoc, I guess, it will be.**

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