Erico Boyles Aumentado: Outstanding and Admired Political Leader

A Boholano’s View by Jose “Pepe” Abueva

The Bohol Chronicle

December 30, 2012

Bohol’s pride, and loss. We honor an outstanding Boholano leader as we mourn his passing on Christmas Eve. We also pray for his just reward in God’s love and forgiveness, and for the consolation of his bereaved wife, Mrs. Peregrina Adlaon Cabagnot-Aumentado, and their three sons, five daughters, 19 grandchildren, and four great grandchildren.

 With competence, dedication, and honor, Erico Aumentado served Bohol and the nation for most of his 72 years—as a member of the Provincial Board, as Vice-Governor, as  Governor, as Congressman, and as Vice-Speaker of the House of Representatives.

My valued association with Governor Aumentado on Charter change. It was my good fortune to work closely with Governor Aumentado when he was National President of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), the umbrella organization of the 1.5 million local officials of our country, the first Boholano ever elected to the position.

I was then Chairman of the 2005 Consultative Commission on Charter change that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had created to help her propose to Congress certain amendments to our 1987 Constitution.

We were dedicated to our advocacy of changing our dysfunctional presidential government to an effective parliamentary government and changing our highly centralized unitary system to a system of autonomous regions and local governments in transition to a future federal system.

Unfortunately, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Speaker Jose de Venecia dropped our proposal to set up the autonomous regions and local governments, and supported only the proposed shift to a parliamentary government. The Senate refused to support the proposed amendment because the senators, the people at large, and the media suspected that President Arroyo wanted to prolong her leadership as prime minister after her nine-year stint as president would end in 2010. By then President Arroyo was losing much of her legitimacy and the people’s trust and approval, as indicated in the national surveys.

As a last resort, President Arroyo and Speaker de Venecia resorted to a People’s Initiative, the third mode of proposing amendments to the Constitution. The Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, led by Governor Aumentado, supported the People’s Initiative to propose a constitutional amendment to shift to a parliamentary government, by obtaining a majority of the votes in each of all our congressional districts and at least 10 percent of all the voters in a national plebiscite.

The People’s Initiative succeeded in obtaining the required popular support. Unfortunately, the Commission on Elections refused to validate the signatures gathered by the People’s Initiative. And when the leaders of the People’s Initiative petitioned the Supreme Court to compel the Comelec to perform its duty, the high court voted 8 to 7 against the petition. Associate Justice Antonio Carpio penned the highly partisan decision calling the People’s Inititative “a grand deception” and “a gigantic fraud.” Associate Justice Renato Puno led the seven justices and said that the sovereign people’s decision should be paramount and respected.

Background and Record of Public Service. Born May 18, 1940 in Ubay, Bohol,   Aumentado studied at Ubay Central Elementary School and graduated high school at Holy Child Academy, Ubay, Bohol as valedictorian. He took his Bachelor of Laws at the University of Bohol in 1963.

He became Provincial Board Member in 1967-1980 and 1984-1986, Vice Governor in 1988-1992, and Representative of the 2nd district of Bohol in 1992-2001 and June 30, 2010 – December 25, 2012, when he also served as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. He headed the special panel that  drafted the House rules on the release of its members’ statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

He was governor of Bohol for three consecutive terms (2001-2010), chairman of both the Regional Development Council and the Regional Tourism Council of the Central Visayas Region, and rose to be National President of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP).

Praise from his peers in Congress. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte hailed Aumentado as an “exemplary public servant” and credited him for helping turn Bohol into “one of the most progressive, peaceful and richest provinces today.” Belmonte said Aumentado remained faithful to his oath and always hewed to the highest standards of public office.

“He was truly an outstanding solon—learned, dedicated and principled,” the Speaker said as reported in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (December 27, 2012). “Eric’s integrity and honor have never been in doubt. He died a poor man because he never made politics the source of his livelihood.” Belmonte added: “Public service to him was not only a calling but a passion…almost a religion.” That was why the Speaker made Aumentado chairman of the ethics committee although he belonged to the opposition in the House.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, said Aumentado’s death was a “great loss not only to Bohol but to our country. He was “very passionate about democracy, the rule of law, and the protection of the interests of the less fortunate sector. He was a dedicated and very sincere public servant.”

Ubay town Mayor Eutiquio Bernales said Aumentado was a good leader who had implemented major projects in Bohol and in the second district. Among of the major projects initiated by the lawmaker was the Bohol circumferential road, which boosted tourism in the province. He was also chairman of the influential 52-member bloc of Visayas congressmen.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer news report said: “Aumentado was a coauthor of the Sin Tax bill, which would impose higher taxes on cigarettes and alcohol products. The measure has been signed into law by the President. He was also one of the main authors of the bill to strengthen the National Electrification Administration to help boost its program to bring power to rural areas.

“He also pushed a measure to declare the Chocolate Hills, a famous Bohol tourist spot, as national patrimony, national heritage park and geological monuments, and to penalize their pillage, destruction and defacement. “Another bill he championed was one seeking to strengthen agricultural education and training by institutionalizing the Philippine Manpower Development Plan for Agriculture Entrepreneurship. All in all, he sponsored or authored 96 measures and co-authored another 274.”

My personal appreciation of all our Boholano leaders. In this tribute to Congressman Aumentado, I’d like to add my personal appreciation for the excellent road network around our home province which I have enjoyed in my visits. The smooth and comfortable ride we enjoy is undoubtedly the result of the laudable efforts of our leaders, including Congressman Aumentado, our engineers, and road workers. And their honesty and dedication to their work.

Which reminds me of a favorite story I tell about the excellent infrastructure in Japan where we lived for eight years from 1977 to 1987 when I worked with the United Nations University headquarters in Tokyo (minus two years spent in New York as director of the UN University office there).

I told my Japanese colleague at the U.N. University that I would very occasionally read in the Japan Times that some officials were punished for corruption in infrastructure projects. Then I asked him how this could happen when I observed that the roads and bridges and ports in Japan that I had seen were of excellent quality.

His reply struck me. He said in a few words, as Japanese usually do: “One, our few corrupt officials do not ask much. Two, we love our country. And three, our engineers are professionals.”

Another bill he championed was one seeking to strengthen the agricultural education and training in the Philippines by institutionalizing the Philippine Manpower Development Plan for Agriculture Entrepreneurship. All in all, he sponsored or authored 96 measures and coauthored another 274.

Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Bohol’s 2nd District

In office
June 30, 2010 – December 25, 2012

Preceded by

Roberto Cajes

Governor, Province of Bohol

In office
2001–2010

Preceded by

Rene L. Relampagos

Succeeded by

Edgardo Chatto

Member, Philippine House of Representatives

In office
1992–2001

Preceded by

David B. Tirol

Succeeded by

Roberto Cajes

Vice Governor, Province of Bohol

In office
1988–1992

Board Member, Province of Bohol

In office
1967–1986

Personal details

Born

May 18, 1940
Ubay, BoholPhilippines

Died

December 25, 2012 (aged 72)
St. Luke’s Medical Center,Taguig, Philippines

Political party

Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats

Spouse(s)

Peregrina Adlaon Cabagnot – Aumentado

Religion

Roman Catholic

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1 Comment

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One response to “Erico Boyles Aumentado: Outstanding and Admired Political Leader

  1. JUN

    OUR VERY OWN GOVERNOR/CONGRESSMAN ERICO AUMENTADO IS AMONG THE BEST OF THE THREE (3) BEST POLITICIAN IN CENTRAL VISAYAS TOGETHER WITH CEBU GOVERNOR LITO OSMENA AND CEBU CITY MAYOR TOMAS OSMENA. THAT’S TRUE HE TURNED BOHOL AS ONE OF BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AND RICH PROVINCE IN THE COUNTRY TODAY..

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