Sorsogueños Revitalize Crusade for Good Governance

By Luisito Panelo

      SORSOGON CITY, PHILIPPINES – A group of Sorsogon residents today re-strengthen an “anti-graft and corrupt practices” advocacy movement they formed in 2004, the Sorsogon Crusade for Good Government or “Cruzada” for brevity. The group aims to eradicate graft and corruption in the bureaucracy by providing the people an effective means of exposing and investigating graft and corrupt practices in the province and prosecuting its offenders.

      Cruzada hopes to “restore dignity in public service” by encouraging people to actively participate in ridding government of all forms of corruption beginning with the education of the people themselves on “what constitute corruption”.

      “After having been exposed to corruption from the Spanish Era to the Martial Law years, Filipinos seemed to have embraced it as a way of life. Most of them commit the crime without even knowing that what they are doing is a corrupt act”, says Carlos Reyes, one of Cruzada‘s trustees and concurrent vice chairman.

      “To most government employees, appropriating for themselves few sheets of bond paper or other office supplies is not unlawful. Being government employees, they think they are entitled to use them for their own private needs”, said another Cruzada trustee, “unwittingly hosting a ‘spawning’ of corruption inside them”, he added.

      Organized in 2004 shortly after the Presidential Elections, Cruzada embarked on a mission to “ensure an honest and efficient public service, free from discrimination”, by upholding the highest degree of accountability among public officers and employees.

      To rid itself of political opportunists, Cruzada has confined its membership to persons who are not holding any elective position or persons not related, either by consanguinity or affinity, in the 4th civil degree to any elected public official. In addition to these requirements, Cruzada automatically disqualifies any member who has filed a certificate of candidacy to any local or national elections, and that said member is deemed automatically resigned upon filing his certificate of candidacy.

      Cruzada’s officers are, Joesan Gabarda, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Carlos Reyes, Vice-Chairman, Atty. Joven Laura, President, Atty. Oscar Deri Executive Vice President, with Atty. Isagani Ocampo, Atty. Augusto “Tootsie” Cubias, Jr., Judge Antonio Estuye, Judge Gernacio and Judge Haile Frivaldo as Trustees.

     Atty. Cubias and former RTC Judge Gernacio of Barcelona were concurrently elected Vice Presidents for the 1st and 2nd Districts, respectively. The Executive Committee for Legal Affairs is chaired by former Judge Haile Frivado and co- chaired by Isagani Ocampo while the Committee on Media Affairs is headed by broadcaster Joey Gois. Municipal Chapters were likewise created and are headed by chapter presidents, former Vice Mayor Nonong Guyala was elected Chapter President of Bulan, former RTC Judge Frivaldo for Irosin, former RTC Judge Gernacio for Barcelona, former RTC Judge Edmundo Estuye for Gubat and Mr. Jesus Frayna for Sta. Magdalena.

      For his part former vice mayor Guyala promised to replicate Cruzada’s organizational structure in Bulan and named Sorsogon Newsweek senior writer Roy Gersalia as interim chapter secretary and Ruding Gogolin as his vice president until a regular set of officers are elected.

          Also elected during the reorganization were Mr. Aristeo Lastica, treasurer and Ms. Sevilla Tayam, secretary.