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If Pampanga has a Fr. Panlilio, Bukidnon has a Fr. Tabios

It seems there’s no stopping priests from joining politics these days.

If Pampanga has a Fr. Eddie Panlilio, Bukidnon Mindanao has a Fr. Diosdado Tabios. Tabios, the former parish priest of Valencia City, Bukidnon, is set to run for governor in Bukidnon come May 2010. He’s set to face incumbent Bukidnon Vice Governor Alex Calingasan (LAKAS CMD KAMPI), who will run for the gubernatorial position, his relative Ernesto Tabios (Liberal Party) and Delfina Bicatulo (Alpha Omega 9K Party).

While re-electionist Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio has reportedly filed a petition asking that he leave his priestly duties as he pursue his political plans, Tabios has yet to formally file a written petition. He has, however, spoken to Bishop Honesto Pacana of Malaybalay City, Bukidnon and the latter said that Tabios will be suspended from performing priestly duties.

In 2007, Tabios left for the Netherlands to pursue further studies. He was reportedly a scholar under the Ford Foundation. Upon his return to Bukidnon this year, he became an assistant to the administrator of the San Isidro Cathedral in Malaybalay City.

Nacionalista Party, through their spokesperson Gilbert Remulla, issued this statement about Tabios’ candidacy.

This matter is actually very, very interesting.

For one, Tabios is the first priest in the Diocese of Malaybalay to ever run for public office.

Secondly, he will be up against Calingasan, who’s heavily favored to win. Calingasan, who’s now on his third term as Bukidnon Vice Governor, enjoys incumbent Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri’s support and the political backing of LAKAS CMD KAMPI. In other words, whoever Zubiri “anoints” is highly considered the “shoo in.” With Tabios’ entry, however, does this mean that Bukidnon voters will finally say, “tama na, iba naman” through their votes?

Thirdly, (and I reckon the most controversial reason as to why Mindanaoans should find this whole Bukidnon thing interesting) Tabios also has “skeletons in the closet” to deal with, so to speak. Considered a controversial priest who garnered the ire of so many people during his term as Valencia parish priest (his name was involved in several money-related problems), Tabios also allegedly has several children.

YEP, YOU READ THAT RIGHT.

Children.

Although I have yet to get solid proof to this claim, it is basically “an open secret” in Valencia that this priest has fathered several children. In fact, a local elected official sent me a message the very day Fr. Tabios filed his certificate of candidacy wherein he claimed that indeed, Fr. Tabios has “daghang anak” (many children). Uh oh.

My guess is that some, if not all, of the women whom he has had “affairs” with will come out during the campaign season. Of course, we can only deduce that that would be the makings of the “kabilang kampo.”

Well, for now, let’s all wait and see. As a friend put it, the basketball game has just begun.

As for Fr. Tabios, I just hope that he has discerned very well. I have a feeling he will face a very bumpy road ahead.

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