August 4, 1923
Manila’s New Mayor
Some sidelights on his career and personality—reasons for his stand in accepting mayoralty—“not here to listen to barkings of political dogs”
Much discussion has arisen regarding the acceptance by Governor Eulogio Rodriguez, of Rizal province, of the mayorship of the city of Manila. While some say that Governor Rodriguez should not have accepted the position left vacant by the resignation of Mayor Fernandez, in view of the present “alleged crisis” in the government; yet many others contend that a man of the calibre of Mr. Rodriguez is urgently needed to guide the course of Manila’s government.
As the Free Press is always anxious to learn of a good man in public life and present him to its readers for edification and emulation, it takes pride in reproducing an excerpt from the life sketch of Mayor Rodriguez published in this paper seven years ago, when he was first elected provincial governor of Rizal:
“Cochero” and “Zacatero”
“One of the first questions fired at him was whether it was true he had been a ‘cochero’ and ‘zacatero’ as was a matter of common report and as one of his political rivals had contemptuously intimated in the recent election campaign. Mr. Rodriguez said he had never been exactly a ‘zacatero’ though he wouldn’t be ashamed of it if he had; nor was it exactly true that he had been a cochero, at least not as had been implied. These insinuations were based, he said, on his having acted as contractor for the army in a small way, and having supplied it with, among other things, grass as fodder for the horses; and further, on his having been carried on the army payroll as a teamster although actually he served as an interpreter. It appears that under army regulations in the early days no provision had been made for interpreters and so, to be enabled to employ him, it had been necessary to list him as a teamster; and he drew pay and rations as such. He added however, that as a boy he had many a time driven one of his father’s rigs for public hire, and so, if his political rivals any time wanted to, they might call him a cochero, and it wouldn’t hurt him; for it was an honest occupation.
“As to his helping the poor and giving them a lift in his automobile when he met them on the road, Mr. Rodriguez admitted that occasionally he was guilty of such things, and never felt any worse for it. And as to his not talking bad of anyone he stated that during the recent political campaign he had got such a name, as he didn’t believe in mudslinging and saying all the mean and nasty things possible about your opponent.”
Had People’s Consent
To illustrate further how Mayor Rodriguez regards the responsibility vested in him by the people of Rizal province, he told the Free Press reporter who interviewed him this week that before his acceptance of the mayorship of Manila he visited the towns of Malabon, Navotas, and Caloocan, where he obtained a majority of about 1,500 in the last elections for governor; and also the municipalities of San Juan del Monte, Taguig, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Montalban, Cainta, Taytay, Antipolo, Binangonan, Cardona, Morong, Baras, Tanay, and Pililla and consulted the people of those towns, through their municipal officials, as to whether or not he should accept the position of mayor of the city of Manila. In all those 17 towns he obtained the almost unanimous consent of the people.
A Firm Stand
When questioned by the Free Press reporter what he thought about the opposition to his acceptance of the mayor’s office, Mayor Rodriguez replied:
“I know that on my humble personality is being riveted the gaze of our political enemies at present. I know that there is a lot of talk against my acceptance of the mayor’s job. But, I also know that I am not here to listen to the barkings of political dogs. I have been placed here to be responsible to the people, to the citizens of Manila, especially.
“Let me tell you this much. My political enemies can not accuse me of being financially interested in this job. I have been engaged in politics since 1909 and I have a very clean slate. I have never done as intentional wrong to anyone. I have never given a tainted centavo to my family. My conscience is clear. I am here to serve the best interests of the people. At the moment I become convinced that I can not protect the people’s rights and can not serve them longer, I will not in the least hesitate to leave or resign this position and return to my farm.”