Governor’s strength of character

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

HAVE you noticed that the widening of M. Velez St. in the Capitol area has ground to a halt? It has been more than two years since the project started but the portion right after the bridge remains as narrow as ever.

It’s a classic example of government inefficiency, said former University of San Carlos law dean Alex Monteclar. No, it is more than just inefficiency. It is criminal negligence.



The Philippine National Police (PNP) plans to build a modern anti-crime laboratory in Cebu and has asked the Province to provide the site. Gov. Junjun Davide said that while he personally favors the request, he will have to await (“mag-agad”) the decision of the Provincial Board.

Some observers took this as a sign of indecisiveness on the part of the governor. He
cannot seem to decide on his own; he leaves it to others, they claim. There are also those who say that he is guilty of double-talk; that he does not really want to grant the PNP’s request but is unable to say so.

These people do not know Davide. He lacks guile and he talks straight. Perhaps his choice of words was inappropriate; he could have simply said that he is inclined to grant the request but he has to secure the consent of the Board because that is what the law says.

Obviously, Davide is acutely aware of the co-equal relationship between the executive and the legislative branches of government even in the provincial level and is committed to respect it. That is why he has consciously avoided creating a situation where the Provincial Board appears to have been reduced to a rubber stamp of the governor.

Indeed, he could have immediately told the PNP that its wish was granted and instructed the Board, majority of whom are his party-mates in the Liberal Party, to pass the resolution authorizing him to donate a site for the police laboratory. That would have made him look good and decisive.

Other governors have been known to do that; in fact, some of them simply bypassed the Board, secure in the thought that they can have the legislature ratify their acts, if ratification was needed, anytime.

But that is not how this governor is wired. Davide is too humble to presume that he will always get what he wants anytime by reason of his being the governor.

We have seen this in his first week in office when he wanted to have coffee with a judge at the latter’s office but was denied entry to the Palace of Justice by the security guard. He could have pulled rank. The guard obviously did not recognize him.

If Davide had introduced himself, the guard would have fallen over himself to open the door for the governor.

But his character and breeding did not permit Davide to do that. Instead, he quietly left for the Capitol cafeteria for his coffee.

This strength of character manifested itself again recently when boxer Manny Pacquiao made it known that he was going to visit the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center but did not show up at the appointed time. Davide cooled his heels for more than two hours before leaving for another appointment.

If the same thing had happened to another governor, he would have balled Pacquiao out, and rightly so, if I may add, for the discourtesy. But not only did Davide not grumble, he still thanked Pacquiao for honoring the provincial jail inmates with his presence. Of course, we all know, who looked good and who looked bad in that episode.

It is this humble and non-confrontational nature of the governor that makes me think that the Provincial Board will support the governor and approve the PNP’s request. He did not want to make them look bad. They will have to return the favor.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 30, 2014.


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