Barefoot councilor looks like he’s begging for alms, not votes

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ZAMBOANGA CITY—You wouldn’t miss him in a rally of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). In a crowd teeming with colored shirts and thundering with ear-splitting campaign jingles, Rodolfo “Rudy” Bayot stands out in his bare feet, looking like he needs alms.

A former school teacher, Bayot is actually running for reelection as a city councilor.

“It is not a political gimmick. He’s been like that since I’ve known him and he is still my candidate,” said tricycle driver Eugenio Antolin.

“After tending to his (vegetable and herb) garden, he would go to school barefoot, wearing tattered clothes and shorts. Until now, he remains the same and goes to the city council sessions hitch-riding on a motorbike. Most often, he rides a tricycle,” Antolin said.

He said the city council later issued Bayot a pickup vehicle but he preferred to sit at the back.

Six years ago, Bayot—now 73—married a woman in her late 30s.

At an UNA sortie, Bayot just waved and smiled at the crowd while his teammates tried to drown them with campaign promises.

Last week, the Inquirer chanced upon Bayot in an ukay-ukay (used clothing) stall looking for a belt.

“I need something presentable. My colleagues are complaining. And my work at the council is very stressful,” he said. “I am losing more weight and I need a new belt so I can still use my old pants.”

Asked why he did not simply buy a new belt in one of the malls here, Bayot said: “Because the quality is good here and very affordable. I cannot afford to buy a new one.”

Mistaken for beggar

Bayot roamed around the ukay-ukay stalls unmindful of the grime on his feet such that

Mohjeer Jalani, a vendor, mistook him for a beggar.

“He looked dirty and I thought he was begging,” Jalani said. “I didn’t know he was a councilor.”

Bayot became the chairman of Barangay (village) Tumaga from 1998 to 2007. In 2007, he tried his luck running for vice mayor but lost. The following year, he ran for barangay council member and captured the highest number of votes.

In 2010, he ran for city councilor and won. In the city council, he is known as the one who reports for work barefoot, but wearing short pants and a loose shirt.

‘Of the earth’

Some of his council colleagues see him as someone who needs attention. Bayot describes himself as a person who “belongs to the earth.”

“We were raised by our parents like this—to be with the people and make do with what we have for the sake of the most needy,” he said.

The villagers of Tumaga know what kind of a man he is.

“Rudy is from a prominent family here. His brothers and his family live simple lives. Some of his relatives are in the United States but he prefers to stay here with his people,” said Tumaga market vendor Selina Insong.

Insong, 53, said that Bayot has been in politics since the early 1990s.

‘The Undertaker’

 

“He is still poor,” Insong said in Filipino. “He goes to the barangay hall barefooted. If there’s a problem in the barangay, he stays and sleeps on top of a table, alone. He even cleans up the hall and plants whatever he can outside the hall.”

She recalled that during his term as village chairman, Bayot found a body in his barangay, loaded it in a multicab and dropped it in front of city hall. It was not the first cadaver he dropped at city hall and this earned him the monicker “The Undertaker,” said Jimmy Villaflores, a journalist.

At the city council, Villaflores said, Bayot’s attention was always called because he was “not following proper decorum.”

“Sometimes he wears shirts, pants but is barefoot,” Villaflores said. “Sometimes he is in barong Tagalog but in jeans with slippers.”

In his three years as councilor, Bayot has not authored any ordinance. “He is good in giving comments, but most of the time he is quiet,” said the journalist.

“He was an effective barangay official as an implementor, but when it comes to being a legislator, I think he has failed,” Villaflores said.

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  • fil9

    So?

    • Mon Sparks

      Yes!

  • wawa2172

    Ahhh…Ok..whatever, tsaa or kape nga.

    • http://www.alamat.com.ph/ Daniel Andrei R. Garcia

      Kapeng barako latte please.

  • alfred sanchez

    circus

  • Andrew Dela Cruz

    AHHHHH WHATEVERRRRR!!!!!

  • Drillon Recto

    Di dapat iboto ang mga katulad nito. Kahit hampas lupang taong grasa me sapin sa paa. Pakitang tao lang tong taong to. Di ba ang bayot sa bisaya ay…di bale na lang.

    • MAR AT PNOY THE CHUPA BOYS

      igit mo lang!

  • yonoh

    walang asenso ang bayan mo pagganyan………………panahon pa ni mahoma yan ganyan style…………dapat ang isipin nya ay yong pag unlad ng bayan………..di yong nakapaa sya……………….hindi sya simple kundi nagkukunwari para iboto sya ng tao…………

    • fil9

      Tama! I second emotion!!!

  • boybakal

    I hope he steps on broken glass….for sure he will wear a tsinelas courtesy of Korina.

  • SMEjhong

    a good implementor not quite effective as a legislator – well, i would say he is a perfect fit – the rest of the council will do the talking and he’ll do the walking – Kudos to this man, Yan mga kailangan natin, di tulad nung mga buwayang legislators (ngawa ng ngawa wala namang gawa)

  • Pio Pusli

    ok, so may nagawa naman ‘to? or after all this drama phuuuuuttt rin. reminbds me of sir colonel honasan, katakot takot na kudeta at mga tangang namatay, may nagawa ba sa reform the armed forces (daw)?

  • Edzel N. Palacio

    Mas magaling pa pala itong si Bayot kesa kay Abnoy-noy Aquino

  • randyaltarejos

    Masipag talaga kaso lang iba na yung merong alam sa pag gawa ng lokal na mga batas. Perhaps, the city council should have sent the guy to the Local Government Academy like what Manny Pacquiao did. There are crash courses where he can learn the basics of local public administration. While others have to learn through self-studies, he can seek the Pilipino translation of the Local Government Code and other reading materials on public administration.

    • http://luiloves.tumblr.com/ Luisa Elago

      Best comment here. Ikaw lang yung hindi puro reclamo at doubt. I know him personally since I was little kasi close family friend siya. Ganito talaga siya ever since at pag nakita ninyo picture niya at ng bahay niya, marerealize ninyong hindi itong pakitang-tao lamang.

      And just because he hasn’t passed any bills na inauthor niya doesn’t make him useless. He hasn’t authored any kasi kulang siya sa legal know-how, iba ang sumusulat. Hindi niya kailangan ng recognition. Tsaka minority party kasi siya. Dalawa lang sila from the same party and mahirap magpasa ng batas kasi usually against talaga siya sa majority party.

      • Julie

        Thanks Luisa. I know its difficult or unbelievable for others to take Bayot story as it is. I dont know Bayot personally. Just a journalist trying to look for something unique but meaningful. I interviewed him before (floodings in Tumaga). I didnt know he was a barangay chair because I caught him de-clogging the imburnal.

        Just lately I learn to appreciate the old man when I chanced him up at ukay-ukay scouting for cheap belt.

        We were moved with the neighbors’ stories like why he prefers to walk barefoot. He taught for 27 years in remote schools, in the mountains where kids cannot afford to buy pair of shoes or slippers. Bringing the kids to his classroom to attend classes was challenging for him because farming was their priority.

        Bayot according to neighbors decided to report to school “nakapaa” and helped kids in farming. He was young then. After his retirement, he stays that way. He became barangay chair for 9 years, the same thing. His house is still dilapidated until now.

        Impaired in hearing, yet he prioritizes the health of his constituents. Devoted to public service and stayed single until six years ago he decided to marry a woman. The simplicity of the family (including his wife and son) motivated me to write this story.

  • randyaltarejos

    By this time, I’m sure top government officials and wealthy private individuals like DENR Secretary Ramon Paje and DILG Secretary Mar Roxas must have read the sad plight of this barangay official through this article. The public is well aware that the DENR has lots of confiscated timber, where some of them are being donated for the construction of public schools. Mr. Bayot’s house is dilapidated already, according to Ms. Alipala and Ms. Luisa Elago. Perhaps, it only takes a short note from Secretary Paje to spare the old man some of the seized timbers that are lying idle in the premises of the DENR in Zamboanga City. In this way, Mr. Bayot can rebuild his abode, through the bayanihan spirit. I knew there are many Mr. Bayots out there who also need the same assistance from the public. The way I look at it, Mr. Bayot goes out of his way to help others and make his barangay in order, it is now about time that we lend him some help, too

  • http://www.facebook.com/julio.cabacaba Julio Cabacaba

    MAY KAMAG ANAK PA KAYA ITO NA PUEDI MAGING SENADOR, CONGRESMAN, O PRESIDENTE? ETO ANG KAILANGAN NATIN, ANG HINDI MAGNANAKAW AT DI NAGPAPAYAMAN SA SARILI. BAHALA NG NAKAPAA, YUNG MGA NINUNO NATIN, WALA DIN NAMANG SAPATOS. O BAKA GUSTO NYO GUMAYA KAY IMELDA

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