ANOTHER OG (old guard) of Cebu politics has passed away. I didn’t personally know Adelino Sitoy but I watched him from afar like a fan would. Sitoy was mayor of Cordova town in the island of Mactan before he accepted the job at the Presidential Legal Liaison Office of President Rodrigo Duterte. A Cebuano in Malacañang, that’s a distinction we can be proud of.
Sitoy’s death follows those of big names in Cebu politics like John “Sonny” Osmeña, Raul del Mar and Antonio Cuenco. They represented a generation in Cebu politics whose shoes the following generation found too big to fill. The last big Cebu project with Sitoy’s imprint in it is the third Mactan-Cebu bridge, called the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway or CCLEX.
Before this, the design for a bridge linking the Cebu mainland to Mactan Island always always had Lapu-Lapu City as site for the bridge’s other foot. By proposing that Cordova be that site, Sitoy opened new possibilities for Cordova town and Mactan Island. For years, development has focused on Lapu-Lapu City, leaving the crumbs for Cordova.
I used to listen to radio commentaries when I was younger and there was one time when Sitoy was the subject of the commentaries of the late Migs Enriquez. I used to laugh every time Migs mentioned Sitoy, pronouncing the name with a small voice. Those were the “Golden Years” of Cebu politics and still have to find anything like it again.
Sitoy was, I should say, pro-establishment, so he wasn’t involved in the wave that had Cebu politicians making it big in national politics after the ouster of the Marcos dictatorship. But it forced him to focus on local politics and on the town he loved most. The Sitoys have remained big names in Cordova politics.
Next to his love for his town was his love for his language. Sitoy was among those who defended and advanced the language wherever he was. He was a “Bisayista” and was one of its prominent advocates.
I finally got to personally meet Sitoy when he joined a group of writers commissioned to write a history book for each town of the province, a project of the Province of Cebu under Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia. He was in a cluster headed by Erlinda Alburo, who was then with the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos, which managed the writing aspect of the project.
I was with that cluster, writing on the history of Tudela town in the Camotes group of islands.
I had wondered how a busy man like him would be able to write a book that needed a good amount of research. I found the answer during the cluster meeting. He had with him his secretary, who also took note of the things that needed further research. The rest of the information was provided by Sitoy himself from first-hand experience as an old “Codovahanon.”
Sitoy had weaknesses, one of which I found out when I was news editor of The Freeman. But those weaknesses did not diminish my admiration for the man. When you pass by Cordova using the CCLEX, remember Atty. Addy. That bridge can even be named after him.