Roger Santos delivers invocation at Pulongbayan.

IT was a lively, noisy and supportive political evening on Oct. 24 at the Golden Door Charter School auditorium in Jersey City.

Filipino residents of the city braved the heavy rains that evening and gathered in response to an earlier call by Councilman-at-Large and City Council President Rolando Lavarro, Jr., a true-blooded Filipino-American, who is seeking re-election with the Team Steven Fulop.

It’s local election time again in Jersey City on Nov. 7.

There are only two candidates for mayor.

Steven Fulop, my candidate, and another one whose name I can’t remember nor recall.

Sounds Greek to me.

Anyway, why only two mayoral candidates?

Since 1973, it was reported in that this is the first time in the local election history of the city that there are only two candidates for mayor.

To Jersey City folks, the reason is happily obvious.

Because it’s Steven Fulop who is the opponent.

His performance as mayor is sterling!

Potential opponents know it is impossible to take down a good public servant.


Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop (right) with the author Manny Caballero.

We believe, as many likewise do, Jersey City is better off today than four years ago.

That’s the reason why I think the voters of Jersey City, including the Filipino voters, will overwhelmingly re-elect Fulop.

They will go for Lavarro and Team Fulop.

I think there are three Pinoys who won’t, two boys and a girl.


Everyone who uses Facebook knows who those three “loving souls” are.


(There are 15,000-20,000 Filipinos in Jersey City. Not all, of course, could vote. But if united behind a candidate like in the last and this time, political observers like us, say Filipinos could influence the outcome of an election.)

In fact, in his speech last Tuesday night, Mayor Fulop emphasized the strength and clout of the large number of Filipinos in Jersey City.

That they should go out and vote on Nov. 7.

That Filipinos should use that clout.

On the part of Councilman Rolando Lavarro, Jr., he asked the voters to vote straight Team Fulop because it was important to have the vote in the City Council in order to pass measures or ordinances of the Mayor with ease.

As master of ceremonies during what Councilman Lavarro branded as “Pulongbayan” (Tagalog for Town Meeting), I told the crowd I did not have second thought when I was asked to emcee the program and introduce both Mayor Fulop and Councilman Rolando.


Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro, Jr. Lavarro (right) with the author Manny Caballero.

It is easy to introduce good public servants like Fulop and Lavarro.

Unlike bad ones, I did not have to invent words to make them appear good.

I did not need to bring “hollow blocks” with me that evening.

If you are following Manila politics, you will know why I mentioned hollow blocks.


In fact, I simply told the audience my introduction of Council President Lavarro was his four-year record of transparent, effective, honest and selfless leadership in the Jersey City Council.

Simply, I described the Fil-Am Councilman as a good servant of God, good servant of the public and good servant of his family (wife Veronica and daughter Gabbie).

Actually, I jokingly said, “good servant of Veronica.”

(Laughter...but I immediately interpreted what I meant.)



Mayor Fulop with some Pulongbayan attendees.

In introducing the good Mayor Fulop, I told the crowd of mostly Filipinos that since I came to know the Mayor four years ago, I liked everything he did and what he was doing for Jersey City, but one thing.

I saw the Mayor with a controlled smile waiting to hear what was it I did not like in him.

I said, his mustache.



We praise the Filipino community in Jersey City for braving the heavy rains last Tuesday and attending the Pulongbayan to demonstrate their support for re-electionists Rolando Lavarro, Jr. and Steven Fulop and the rest of the Team Fulop.


Councilman Lavarro with Pulongbayan attendees.

Election is very important civic duty.

It is a rare exercise of direct participatory democracy on the part of citizens in our society.

Use it on Nov. 7!

Don’t waste it!


Terror in New York City

We condemn in strongest terms the reported act of terrorism in New York City on Tuesday afternoon.

We sympathize with the families and loved ones of all the victims.

All the more that the people must be vigilant.

Report to the authorities any suspicious and out of usual happenings around you.


Three forthcoming community events:

Nov. 3 — Anniversary of Filipino-American Press Club of New York at the Philippine Consulate in New York at 6 p.m. ($55/person donation);

Nov. 5 — Kirby Asunto concert at NJCU in Jersey City, 4 p.m.-7 p.m. (not free); and

Nov. 10 — “Falling In Love,” written and directed by Tino Aquino Capili. Venue is at the Philippine Consulate at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 10. Suggested donation: $20 - Adults; $15 - Seniors/Kids.

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