During the campaign period of the 2010 elections, a forum for mayoralty candidates was held. All candidates were invited and given the chance to speak about their platforms, except for one Peter Puzon. He filed a complaint before the Commission on Elections, citing the “equal access” provision and the spirit of the Fair Elections Act. His complaint was dismissed for according to the city election officer, the organizers led by the Hotels and Restaurants Association of Baguio did not commit any violation when it excluded him and that their act of omission did not mean that they favored “any group or political party.”
It goes without saying that the powers-that-be in the city dismissed Puzon’s candidacy as a joke. In their eyes, he was a nuisance candidate not worthy of an equal opportunity to present his vision for Baguio.
When the dust settled, Puzon received a measly 66 votes, placing 9th in a field of ten candidates and 47, 308 votes behind frontrunner and eventual winner, Mauricio G. Domogan who may just be remembered for saying he “cannot do anything” to save the trees on Luneta Hill from corporate greed.
After the elections, the candidates submitted their respective election expenses reports which had the top two winners, Mayor Domogan and Congressman Bernardo M. Vergara declaring that they spent less than half a million each, while Puzon pegged his expenses at P200.00. I believe Puzon’s statement, which translated into an average of P3.00 for each vote he received. If we are to believe in the mathematics of politics, had he spent the same amount as our sitting Mayor, and assuming that the close to half a million-peso expense report is true, he would have gotten at least 160,000 votes – more than three times what Mayor Domogan got.
We hardly hear from the eight other candidates these days, as if they can only care about Baguio if they’re in power.
But Peter Puzon, the “nuisance candidate?” You may catch him at the City Council sessions, intently listening to deliberations on important issues that affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of Baguio residents, other times he’s seen handing out photocopies of his very own newsletter containing his stand on various community concerns. I still have his statement on the utterly anti-poor policy of limiting the pedestrian crossings on Session Road to ensure that those who own cars can cruise along the historic road with ease, while those on foot will have to walk the extra hundred meters or so to cross.
In the coming weeks, we will start to hear again from the “genuine” candidates for various positions in the city – it’s election time, time to “care” for the city once again. I don’t know if Peter Puzon, the one whom most pundits dismissed as crazy for running for Mayor, will file his certificate of candidacy this time around, it doesn’t matter for in my eyes, he is the only one from among all the candidates in the 2010 elections who never stopped caring for his city and continued to champion causes he believed in.
Who’s crazy now? Peter Puzon or the ones gave us the Irisan garbage slide that claimed lives and property? Peter Puzon or the ones who wasted millions on inefficient Environmental Recycling System machines? Peter Puzon or the ones who are proposing to turnover the Baguio Athletic Bowl and the Baguo General Hospital to private interests? Peter Puzon or the ones who let corporations lord it over the city these days, raping the environment and wantonly violating the laws of the land and getting away with it?
Peter Puzon never stopped doing something for a better Baguio, as opposed to the ones who have admitted that they “cannot do anything,” and the ones who just stopped caring after losing the election. If they say his kind is crazy, then the crazies will have my vote next year.