Why the Church backed Hagedorn
Bishop Francisco San Diego claims credit for having convinced then gambling lord Edward S. Hagedorn to run for mayor of Puerto Princesa in 1992. In exchange for his support, the good prelate demanded only one condition – that Hagedorn enter into a covenant with him that win or lose, he would stop jueteng totally in the
Hagedorn agreed to stop jueteng, but only if he won. Otherwise, he mused, I wouldn’t have any other business if I lost the election.
Why did the good bishop want Hagedorn to be Puerto Princesa’s mayor? “I wanted change,” he recalls now. “The city was moving at a snail’s pace. Nothing was happening for 27 years. I thought Hagedorn could bring about change, quickly.”
“Hagedorn is a dynamic leader,” says the current Puerto Princesa bishop, Pedro Arigo, “he gets things done.” “He is a man of his word. He doesn’t make a promise he doenst fulfill.”
Licking jueteng meant the displacement of up to 5,00 workers, the cubradores engaged in the illegal numbers game in 1992. Feeling responsible for the layoffs, Hagedorn recruited the jueteng workers to do something else – watch the sea for illegal fishers and poachers, and the forests for the illegal loggers and kaingeros. Thus was born hagedron’s ‘Bantay Dagat’ and ‘Bantay Gubat’. The dislocated kaingeros, actually small farmers, along with the former jueteng workers, were commissioned by the mayor for his cleanliness drive.
The results have been dramatic. And the Catholic Church of Puerto Princesa is happy.