Rama: Bugnong Lugaynan

·3 min read

Binisaya for election, says a post on the official Facebook page of radio dyRF, where my life as a journalist began in the mid-90s, is Bugnong Lugaynan (later evolved into Lugaynon).

The “Dean of Cebuano Writers,” Uldarico Alviola (1883-1966), is credited for first use.

Bugno, the root of the first term, exists in daily use. It’s graphic, as far as words go. It denotes a particularly nasty, no-holds-barred, tooth-and-nail, ground-and-pound fight.

Lugaynan, meanwhile, is a conjunction of two Bisaya terms–Inilugay and Katungdanan.

Inilugay, from the root Ilug, is as graphic as Bugno. It’s not just to take [Kuha], or possess [Kupot], or acquire [Hupot]. To Ilug is to forcibly and maybe even violently do all three—take, possess and acquire.

Inilugay conjures an image of two or more persons trying to take, seize, possess, or acquire something from each other, preventing each other from taking, seizing, possessing or acquiring it.

That “something,” in this context, is Katungdanan; which for the lack of a better English equivalent or translation, means a position of power.

Take all three concepts, mash them together, and you get Philippine Elections. And if you monitor news and social media reports that come out during Philippine Elections, the metaphorical Bugno nga Inilugay sa Katungdanan is as accurate as terms get.

Here in Cebu, there was one about a candidate who entered his opponent’s bailiwick and announced that anyone who would support him gets on a list and becomes a beneficiary of a cash-for-work program of a particular government agency. The agency had to come out with an open letter saying it has not authorized anyone to make lists and make payouts.

Then there was that one about agents of a candidate infiltrating an opponent’s stronghold on the eve of the elections and offering large sums to put indelible ink, one similar to what Commission on Elections (Comelec) uses, on the index finger of all registered voters, thereby disqualifying them from voting the next day.

There is also that one about a congressional candidate taking a sample ballot of the opposing party, printing an exact replica, but with one difference—instead of the party’s congressional candidate’s face, name and ballot number, the enterprising politico printed his.

These examples are nowhere close to violent, you might say. And you’d be right. This, after all, is Cebu City. Why be violent when being passive-aggressive is sufficient?

This is probably why Atty. Edgar Canton, erstwhile director of the Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Unit of the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas, does not resonate with the term.

He prefers the more courteous “Piniliay” or selection, which is what having an election actually denotes. Statements coming from two candidates certainly fit.

Atty. Michael Rama, during his proclamation as the newly elected mayor of Cebu City, said his administration will strive to serve everyone, regardless of their politics.

Atty. Raymond Alvin Garcia, in an ambush interview following his proclamation as the new vice mayor of Cebu City, was even more succinct.

He told media he looked forward to Franklyn Ong’s return to the City Council. He also offered Bimbo Fernandez a consultant’s post when the year-long ban Comelec imposes on defeated bets elapses, if he is willing to take it.

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