This paper's publisher Rommel Ynion assured columnist Larry Locara and yours truly we were free to write on any thing so long as we were factual and the issues involved public interest.
"You can even criticize me," he said. That was last year. Larry and I hadn't dared to do so. In the first place, there's nothing to hit him on issues of public interest. There is only his personal life including his antics which only showbiz scribes love to discuss.
When Ynion declared that his group consisting of former justice secretary Raul Gonzalez and businessman Larry Jamora were rallying around Rep. Ferj Biron (NP, 4th district) as standard bearer in Iloilo City, yours truly doubted his announcement, and rightly.
Biron promptly denied any political ambition in Iloilo City. His eyes were still fixed on the seat currently occupied by Gov. Arthur Defensor and vied for by former Gov. Niel Tupas.
April 1, a local daily bannered a story that Ynion was gunning for city mayor in 2013. I was right in disbelieving it. In the first place, why did he let another paper run such major story? Why did he keep that matter from this paper's reporters and opinion writers, after all, he was its publisher?
When columnist Manuel "Boy" Mejorada called the story the next day "April Fools'" joke, we mused: there goes Rommel Ynion again for his knack of keeping us guessing.
With Biron having excluded himself from Iloilo City's political landscape, Ynion announced he had no option but run for mayor come 2013.
I still hold that recent news, pardon this clichÃ©, with a grain of salt. Will Ynion run or not? We query several people perceived to belong to his inner circle. Their answers are tentative.
Columnists Limuel Celebria, Nelson Robles and Boy Mejorada say he will "likely run" because "nobody else is taking the challenge of ridding Iloilo City of gangsters and thieves at city hall".
"Daw madalagan gid, p're (He will likely run)," chorused broadcaster Art Calsas and fotog Ricky "Boyet" Octavio. The duo together with Punong Barangay Rene Ong had been trailblazing the barangays to distribute bread and rice from Ynion. The food giving stopped but they said it would resume "once the contract with the flour supplier is renewed".
The grapevine says that everybody else has chickened out because they perceive the mayor as formidable; his blood and political ties with Sen. Franklin Drilon, a political heavyweight in the country, renders him impregnable.
That political muscle though appears nothing for Ynion whose entries in a social network indicate he has everything except nice words for Mabilog.
Ynion has a flair for street lingo and his notes on Mabilog's personality tickle our bones, of course, with apologies to the mayor's apologists a.k.a. "Adobo Ilonggo", "Adobo Ilonggo Guapo", "Ilonggo Law-ay", and "Michael Ot Young", among others.
Mabilog's barkers elicit three writing styles or literal fingerprints, indicating at least three scribes. One has the savvy of a literary writer gifted with rich vocabulary; two of them rattle off slogans and call names the way activists of the Left do to rally the crowd and confront enemies, namely: Ynion, Mejorada, another publisher, and two broadcasters.
Ilonggo Law-ay betrays his hypertension and emotional imbalance by writing in all caps replete with "jijimon" spelling, a genre of writing through text messaging on mobile phones; for example, "kayo" (you) is "kau", "maayo" (good) is "mau". (This space can't accommodate all the creative misspelling engendered by cellphone which Ilonggo Law-ay readily learned).
I had brushes with Ilonggo Law-ay on the thread of Peter Jimenea who denounced in his column city hall thieves who overpriced the purchase of a relocation lot at San Isidro, Jaro district. The property valued at P6 million ballooned to P67 million in a week, "enough to send honest taxpayers to run amuck," wrote Jimenea.
Ilonggo Law-ay ran berserk when I rebuffed him. He fired back with flurries of expletives and unprintables, all in capital letters and jijimon style at that.
I was amused and retorted: "Gapamikon na ang iban" ("Somebody's feathers have been ruffled").
They would bark louder after Ynion filed his COC, if ever.*
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