The not so curious case of Charlie Brown

How on earth could Charlie Brown miss this one? By failing to check the box that discloses a government official’s relatives in government, the Mayor has, in effect, denied that he has a son working with him at City Hall. Worse, the son, who was assigned to his father’s security unit, had signed an Office Memo transferring certain staff to another office. Certainly the act is a big no-no for the Civil Service which prohibits non – career personnel from supervising permanent employees. The Ombudsman saw all of these as transgressions of the law on nepotism and, henceforth, ordered the Mayor’s dismissal. In a flash, all of his life’s hard work to reach the pinnacle of politics was gone. Was the non-disclosure the inadvertence of the Mayor? Or was it the product of unforgivable sloppy staff work? Whatever, the die is cast and the kingdom was lost, not for want of a nail, but for the obvious lack of thoroughness.

For the uninitiated, Charlie Brown, of course, is Lucilo ” Cecil ” Bayron the man who gets things done with his “Apuradong Administrasyon”, But, all too soon, finds himself now as the heartbreak kid of Puerto Princesa politics.

In the halcyon days of Puerto in the 70’s, it was easy to spot Cecil, he with his 750cc Honda wheezing through Rizal Avenue as he went to work at the then Palawan Economic Development Council ( PEDC ), the multi-sectoral planning body organized by then Governor Socrates. It was here where the future Mayor honed his planning skills, helped in no small measure by the numerous consultants whom the late Governor tapped from the US AID.

Many years later, Charlie Brown would become successively as Mayor Ed Hagedorn’s City Planning Officer, City Administrator and multi- term Vice Mayor. No one during those heady days doubted that the mayorship was his for the asking. But it was not meant to be, the gods decreed otherwise.Then outgoing Mayor Ed Hagedorn decided to field his wife to succeed him in 2010 and poor Charlie Brown had no recourse but to seek the mayoralty against all odds. Beating the formidable Ellen Hagedorn in a bitter electoral fight, Charlie Brown had as yet to survive a bruising recall elections midway into his first term. And he had to finally trounced Ed Hagedorn himself in a grudge fight in 2016 to finally become his own man. It was the hardest way to the top one could ever imagined. But to his numerous supporters, Bayron has long proven his mettle, his organizational savvy and his political acumen. Not until this bizarre event which turned his world upside down, caught City Hall flat-footed as his legal team scrimps for every remedy to save the cornered Charlie Brown.

And while he fights the biggest battle of his life to overturn the Ombudsman’s order, Charlie Brown has also to fight for his political survival . Stripped of power and devoid of economic base to support a credible organization to assure his continuing relevance, the erstwhile Mayor will have to depend on the loyalty of his closest aides to see him through the dark days ahead. Through the years, Charlie Brown has developed a wide constituency, and It is a tribute to his innate goodness that he has some of the most fiercely loyal allies at City Hall, men who were willing to lose their job for ” their Mayor “, men who will remain hopeful no matter how hopeless the situation could turned out to be.

But Charlie Brown himself has a lot of discerning to do: how indeed could an administration fades for the flimsiest of reasons ? The devil is in the detail. and in this case, it’s in that little box which the Mayor failed to tick. And that made a whole life of difference.

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