Archive for April 10, 2011


President Aquino speaks during the formal inauguration
of the engineered sanitary landfill in Urdaneta City last April 8. Also in
photo are(from left) former Sen.Mar Roxas, Urdaneta City Mayor Amadeo
Gregorio “Bobom” Perez III, Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino,Jr.; and Alaminos
City Mayor Hernani Braganza.*CESAR RAMIREZ

April 10, 2011 at 5:03 pm 1 comment

Mayor Nani and Gov. Espino: Is the rift not yet over?

The opening of the engineered sanitary landfill in Sitio Calegu, Catablan , Urdaneta City last April 8 was a gallery of known political figures in the province. President Aquino with former Senator Mar Roxas in tow, led the inauguration of the said facility.

Most of the municipal mayors were there but I did not see San Nicolas Mayor Jangget Saldivar, Natividad Mayor Rafael “Cocoy” Rafael, San Quintin Mayor Serafin Antolin,Lingayen Mayor Jonas Castañeda, Bani Mayor Marcelo Navarro Jr.

Of the Congressmen, only 6th District Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas was there. Visibly out of sight were 3rd District Rep. Rachel Arenas, but her mother Rosemarie “Baby” Arenas was present, 1st District Rep. Jesus “Boying” Celeste, 4th District Rep. Gina de Venecia, 2nd District Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil ( although his name was mentioned by PNoy in his acknowledgment of officials present) and 5th District Rep. Kimi S. Cojuangco. I was expecting these officials to be there especially that it was a presidential visit- the second in the province by President P-Noy. Was the presence of His Excellency snubbed by these officials? Or, were they invited? Maybe, there were reasons for their non-appearance in that historic event. But the least I knew, people were expecting them to be rubbing elbows with P-Noy.

Of the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, present in the event were Von Mark Mendoza, Niño Arboleda, Generoso Tulagan, Jr., Mujamito Libunao, Jr. and Jeremy Agerico Rosario. But where were Ranjit Shahani, Alfie Bince, Danny Uy, Boyong Humilde? I was expecting the ever bubbly Ranjit to be there, but he was conspicuously absent. Oh, yes, Dagupan City Mayor Benjie Lim was there, too but his presence was not given much attention. Maybe (again), there were other officials there but were not properly acknowledged by the lady master of ceremonies. Apparently, the emcee was not from the province as she could not pronounce properly the officials’ names.

Alaminos City Mayor Nani Braganza (but of course Toto Mortz) was there not an incognito official in the province, but a visible figure on the stage. I was curious what will be his reactions being seated beside Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. We reporters, were having “careless whispers.” Will Espino ever talk with Nani? Most of us focused on their actions. Oh, never mind the presence of PNoy, but Nani and Espino was being feasted on by us. Lest we forget, these two officials were reported to be at odds lately. The issue might not be clear on what started the “ cold treatment.” But we were eager to see them reconcile on that sunny afternoon, with hundreds of spectators and with the presence of PNoy.

I could not help myself ogling at their actions. Surprise of all surprises Pareng Brando, I did not see Gov. Espines talking with Mayor Nani. It was as if Mayor Nani was not existing. Both of them, being seatmates, seemed not comfortable in their places. Nani most of the time put his hand on his face with eyes on the crowd. Espino, with his serious mien, looked at the audience and once in a while talked with Mayor Bobom Perez, who was seated on his right. Yup, he never looked to his left, or at least smiled at Mayor Nani.

Now, this is even more visibly disgusting.

After Governor Espines delivered his message and as a gesture of courtesy, others on the stage shook hands with him. Mayor Nani stood up too and extended his right hand to Gov. Espines. But have you seen that Pareng Edwin Marzo of DZAI and Manang Evelyn Salgado of Pangasinan Express? It did not escape my prying eyes. Espines ignored such gesture of Mayor Nani and immediately shook hands with Mayor Bobom Perez.

It was an action left unnoticed by some media men. What we could do in that moment was to shake our heads and deep inside ourselves would like to LOL :). Indeed, the “cold war” like the former USSR and USA, is still there.

Oh, when will we see them meet eye to eye? When will we see them reconcile? I hope they will in the near future for the benefit of the Pangasi”Nanis”… errr Pangasinenses.

(for comments email me at

April 10, 2011 at 4:59 pm Leave a comment

Don’t re-elect those SP Members

I could not understand the demeanors of those high officials of the Commission on Audit on the return of a former colleague whistle-blower Heidi Mendoza as their new deputy commissioner.

Assistant Commissioner for Finance Isabel Agito posed that after what Mendoza has said about a corrupt COA she has the temerity to work in the agency.

The head of the fraud audit Leonor Boado was surprised about Heidi’s return after what she said.

I disagree.

The return of Mendoza could stymy, if not eliminate, corruption at COA.

Officials of COA are accomplices of honchos of corrupt government offices like the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Departments of Public Works & Highway and Local Government, Bureau of Custom, Armed Forces, Philippine National Police and their sub-offices in the provinces and cities all over the country.

For example, here in the province, some officials of COA could emulate the excessive lifestyles and ostentatious display of wealth by those “vultures” and “hyenas” of those government offices I mentioned.

It takes two to tango in embezzling the government.


Amid the brouhaha brought by spikes of up to 500% Real Property Tax that scandalized Pangasinenses, my informant told me that members of the Sanggunian Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) want to deflect the public outcry from the law they whimsically created.

They do a ridiculous stunt by re-igniting the intention of the province to host two nuclear power plants despite the present radiation being emitted by those nuclear power reactors in Fukushima, Japan.

They invited even the unwitting nuclear-advocate former Congressman Mark Cojuangco in their session recently as their resource person.

Although everybody wondered but laughed on this audacity, nobody bites it.

The nuclear hosting dies down, the land tax brouhaha continues to haunt the electoral chances of these provincial dads and their vice governor.

The latest bombshell posed by Abono Party-list chairman Rosendo So was if the provincial board gave Governor Amado T. Espino a blanket authority to negotiate a 5% RPT with mammoth power suppliers San Roque Hydro-Power Plant and the Coal Power Plant in the towns of San Manuel and Sual, why did the Board members not give the same option to the governor to give a 5% RPT instead of 500% land tax (and the Special Education Fund)? Their grievances are snowballing. They felt ripped off by these excessive and confiscatory taxes.

Unless the members of the Board amend this onerous (as it lacks an exhaustive public hearing) ordinance, voters should not vote those members who will seek re-election in the 2013 poll.

They are the following: Vice Governor Ferdie Calimlim, Board Members Von Mark Mendoza, Angel Baniqued, Jeremy Agerico Rosario,Napoleon Fontelera Jr., Teofilo Humilde Jr, Raul Sison, Generoso Tulagan Jr., Mojamito Libunao Jr., Clemente Arboleda Jr, and Ranjit Ramos Shahani.


My hands were full last Monday when in the middle of interviewing beauty contestants from different towns and cities in Northern Luzon, I was called by PR guy Gypsy Baldovino to proceed pronto to the bay side palatial home of the de Venecias in Dagupan City. After some niceties with former Speaker Joe de Venecia and his political leaders who were there, I found myself in a tête-à-tête with Rep. Gina de Venecia.

“Your ubiquity in the national scene makes you a senatorial material,” I quipped.

Rep. Gina, who was beautifully clad in his favourite pink colored blouse, asked me why.

“Of all the pictures and press releases your office sent us, we were struck seeing you banging the house gavel in the opening and closing of the session of the 13th Congress as “lady speaker, leading the present 65 lady solons that includes the irrepressible former First Lady Imelda Marcos, and the controversial former president Gloria M. Arroyo at your parental residence, and spending time with your ladies with President Noynoy Aquino lately at the palace. All of these were caught by the cameras and seen all over the country,” I stressed.

I told her those were propaganda coups no previous lady solon was able to exact.

Manay Gina told me that she tries to balance the limited funds she appropriate to the four towns and a city she represent in the August Body.

She said funds were oozing during the time of hubby Joe when he was five – time speaker.

A speaker of the House has an annual budget of P2 to P3 billion.

A congress person like Gina receives presently a measly P70 million (that would become P85 if the Road User Tax is approved anytime from now).

“The situation now is different. Under the Aquino Administration, congressional insertions are things of the past, “she declared.

She said this bodes well for Aquino’s “Matuwid na Daan (Straight road of incorruptibility).”

(You can read my selected intriguing but thought-provoking columns at You can send comments too at

April 10, 2011 at 4:15 pm Leave a comment

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