Latest Stories

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


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.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: councilor , Lifestyle , People , Philippines - Regions , Politics , Rodolfo “Rudy” Bayot

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  4. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  5. Senator Pimentel backs German think tank’s stand vs dynasties
  6. Bar proctor suspended for photographing test papers
  7. Collector Danny Garcia says Inquirer worth more than news
  8. Meteor shower to light up PH skies
  9. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • $57-B mega plan to solve Metro’s mega woes
  • Aquino vows to step up fight against corruption
  • Santiago scoffs at rushing defense pact for Obama visit
  • Former solon, 2 others sanctioned for unfair labor practice
  • Let us pray for the nation, healing priest asks leaders
  • Sports

  • PH pug Hipolito Banal decisions Colombian in Aiba
  • Former Pacquiao sparmate Porter keeps IBF title
  • Grueling 2014 Le Tour de Filipinas hits road
  • ICTSI Tour big hitters have edge at Sherwood
  • What Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather could do
  • Lifestyle

  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Korean animation comes of age
  • Entertainment

  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Persistence pays off for The 1975
  • Special section in LA fest for Filipino films
  • Business

  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Bourse to woo Cebu stock mart investors
  • Supper power
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Marketplace