“You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.” –Eric Hoffer
Many thieves served in Iloilo City Hall when I covered the beat between from the late 1980s into the 1990s. These dishonest public servants made a pile either by directly stealing taxpayer money or using their power and influence to gain favor from private contractors and business establishments. However, there were public officials who served wholeheartedly; those who were content with their salary and never dipped their fingers in the cookie jar.
Romeo Caesar ‘Juncae’ Manikan, Jr., who represented the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation on the Iloilo Sangguniang Panlungsod in the early 90’s, was one of them. Coy and always smiling, Manikan would rather engage in sports activities with friends than taking advantage of his position as a city councilor—I can’t remember writing a controversial story or exposé where Manikan’s name was included. Although, I have written critical stories that angered some of Manikan’s senior colleagues, especially the corrupt ones and the egomaniacs.
Manikan, who currently heads the Office of the Local Civil Registrar, wanted to preserve the legacy of his late father, the Romeo ‘Roming’ Manikan, Sr.
He and his older sister, Ma. Concordia ‘Diday’ Manikan, also a former city councilor and barangay captain, never abused their privileges. They both remained humble even in power.
Today, a ridiculous fake marriage scandal, which is a sham, is probably being used by Manikan’s critics as a political vendetta. It’s inconceivable that he, who holds a permanent position as a department head, would risk his good track record to commit a very cheap malfeasance that can’t be kept under wraps.
If Manikan is a bad guy (or someone who throws his weight around), he could have made a lot of money through nefarious means while on the city council and when his father was at the helm.
City Hall will only make Manikan and his wife, Tourism assistant department chief Eireen Rita, martyrs if it won’t stop persecuting them.
The couple and other rank-and-file employees now at the center of storm from City Hall’s wrath. If politics is addition, then, what is going on, is not only subtraction but self-destruction.
A family can’t devour its only children./WDJ
Alex P. Vidal, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo./WDJ