Archive for June 15, 2011


Gov. Amado Espino,Jr.(5th from right) poses with the top ten Provincial Scholarship Fund Board (PSFB) examinees during the awarding of financial assistance for academic scholars last June 9 at the Sison Auditorium in Lingayen. Fern Adriel Velasco(center) from Lingayen ranked first among the 100 new PSFB scholars. Each poor but deserving student will receive P7,000 every semester.CESAR RAMIREZ

June 15, 2011 at 9:05 am Leave a comment

Merrera pleads ‘not guilty’ on attempted murder case

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

DAGUPAN CITY- “Not guilty”.

This was the plea entered by Binmaley Vice Mayor Pete Merrera and his brother Butch Merrera during the arraignment on their attempted murder case at the sala of Judge A. Florentino R. Dumlao Jr. of the Regional Trial Court Branch 42 here last June 7.

The case docketed as Criminal Case No. 2010-0640-D was finally under the Court’s jurisdiction after it has been dragged for almost 10 months.

The accused filed a petition for review of the case to the Department of Justice (DOJ) which was resolved last May 13, sustaining the findings of the Provincial Prosecutors office for a “full blown trial” due to the presence of a probable cause under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.

Second, the arraignment was postponed by the legal counsel of the accused due to other cases he has to attend to. Third, during the scheduled arraignment last June 1, the accused failed to appear and the counsel has to ask the Court for another postponement.

Last June 7, there was again a deliberate attempt of the accused to defer the arraignment because their legal counsel Arsenio Merrera filed a “motion to inhibit” to the Supreme Court of the presiding judge due to alleged “ ignorance of law” on a case decided by Judge Dumlao last April 8.

Lawyer Merrera said without the decision of the Supreme Court on the motion for inhibition, his clients will not get justice and that the Court will be biased and impartial.

The copy of the “motion for inhibition” was received by the Court on June 6, a day before the scheduled arraignment.

“The ‘motion for inhibition’ has nothing to do with this case. It will not prevent this Court to go on with the arraignment,” Judge Dumlao ruled.

Judge Dumlao further said that the arraignment of the case could not be delayed anymore as it was already postponed three times.

Despite legal maneuverings of the Merreras, Judge Dumlao sustained his ruling for immediate arraignment.

The case stemmed from the alleged non-payment of entrance fees during a cockfight at the Abalos Cockpit Area in Mangaldan last July 31. The complainant, Armand Valenzuela, who was also the sponsor of the cockfight, was hit by the butt of the gun of Butch Merrera.

Merrera allegedly later fired the gun on Valenzuela’s face after he came to the rescue of gatekeeper Thelma Lasat.

The Provincial Prosecutor and the DOJ opined that the action of Butch Merrera was upon the order of his brother Vice Mayor Pete Merrera.

Lawyer Nelson Palaris, private prosecutor of the case said that with the arraignment of the accused the wheels of justice will now start to turn.

June 15, 2011 at 8:49 am Leave a comment

Abono bats for ‘Loterya ng Bayan’

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

ROSALES- No to the illegal jai alai, yes to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s (PCSO) “Loterya ng Bayan.”

This was bared by Abono Partylist Chair Rosendo O. So when interviewed on the jai alai operations in Pangasinan and the impending PCSO’s “Loterya ng Bayan”.

So said that the jai alai in Pangasinan is illegally operated by the Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation owned by Atong Ang. Meridien’s franchise is only in Cagayan Valley but is operating in Pangasinan and in Regions III, IV and V.

“I have talked with DILG Undersecretary (Rico) Puno about it and he said that the temporary restraining order (TRO) of Meridien already lapsed. Puno said that the police authorities in Regions III, IV and V are already going after the operators of the jai alai, “ So said.

So further said that concerned citizens in Pangasinan have already called the attention of the House of Representatives to conduct investigation why almost all the towns and cities of Pangasinan have issued business permits to Meridein Vista Gaming Corp. to operate jai alai betting stations.

He said that because of these calls, Abono Partylist will issue a resolution to the House of Representatives to probe the jai alai operations in Pangasinan and other areas in aid of legislation.

“Since the Congress is now on recess, the investigation will likely start after the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Aquino in the last week of July,” So said.

With regards to the “Loterya ng Bayan,” So said that it is legal because PCSO will be supervising it. The PCSO will also stop all other forms of illegal gambling like jai alai and jueteng in the country.

“There will be a process to be undertaken for the Loterya ng Bayan. There will be guidelines to be issued such as how much will go to the local government units (LGUs) and other entities,” So said to dispel rumors that loterya will just be a front for “jueteng” by its operators.

He said Pangasinan will be the pilot area with Money Bee Corporation as the franchise holder of the “Loterya ng Bayan”.

“The collectors will be known as sales representatives with identification cards and uniforms. They will be paid by the franchise holders, So further said.

The four lady solons of Pangasinan- 3rd District Rep. Rachel “Baby” Arenas, 4h District Rep. Gina De Venecia, 5th District Rep. Kimi S. Cojuangco and 6th District Marlyn Primicias-Agabas are also backing the “Loterya ng Bayan” and spearheading the stoppage of jai alai operations in Pangasinan.

June 15, 2011 at 8:49 am Leave a comment

Silent conspiracy

When the infamous Pangasinan’s Provincial Ordinance 146-2010 or the new Provincial Real Property Tax (RPT) was passed on December 10, 2010, it was apparent that the passage was intentionally concealed from the Pangasinenses. It was passed hastily by the honorable members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan with the imprimatur of Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. who has been defending it sans the support of the majority of the Board Members except 2nd District Board Member Von Mark Mendoza. It was an Ordinance that caught the consternation of the various sectors in Pangasinan, farmer leaders at the forefront with Abono Partylist Rosendo O. So.

After the exchanges of unsavory words and statements over the media, Governor Espino made a turn around on the issue. The Provincial Liga ng mga Barangay headed by Amado T. Espino issued a resolution requesting the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to defer the full implementation of the said Ordinance and recommended a staggered scheme. Alas, Mr. RPT Von Mark Mendoza, without batting an eyelash drafted the amendments, again without prior consultation with the municipal mayors and other sectors. The Board passed the amendments.

Silently it was passed. And silently the affected sectors came mumbling and rumbling that the staggered imposition of the RPT did not change the questioned high increases of 300% for agricultural lands and 500% for commercial lands. Municipal mayors are also questioning the provision on the condonation of interests and penalties from last years’ payments, saying local revenues have been greatly affected. Yes, silently they are questioning the amended version of the new RPT and they could not voice it out openly. They are keeping to themselves the “bitterness” of not being consulted and the forced imposition by the powers that be in the provincial Capitol.

Be that as it may, some members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan are now in the open saying that they were not present when the ordinance was passed and have not dipped their fingers to its passage. Hey! The Sangguniang Panlalawigan is a collegial body. Whether you were absent or not, the action of the body is the action of the whole members of the Sanggunian. The fact hat it was passed with the majority members of the Sanggunian proved that all the members were aware of its passage. Who among you has then the temerity to come out in the open and question the passage of PO No. 146-2010 and its amendments? No one. Those opposing it (kuno?) were part of the “silent conspirators” just like when they were given the luxurious Ford Everest.

All right. The Ordinance is there already. We have to live with it and be in silence. It has to be shelved for a time and be contented to the “bitter pill” that has been forcibly ingested by us taxpayers.

But hey, Toto Mortz and Pareng Brando. That silent conspiracy does not involve only the RPT. It is also manifested in the jai alai operations in the 34 municipalities in the province. Why is it so? Except for 6th District Board Member Alfie Bince, who among the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan came out in the open and castigated the proliferation of the jai alai in the province? No one. They are in silence, including presiding officer Vice Governor Ferdie Calimlim. And why is it that its investigation will reach the House of Representatives when it should have been initiated by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in aid of legislation?

The “jai alai operations” in the province is illegal. The permit of Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation owned by Atong Ang is only confined in the Cagayan Valley which has been the subject of the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Court of Appeals. Why is it that its operations reached Pangasinan and even Regions III, IV and V? In defense of its stay in the province, Governor Espino has been issuing statements that the municipal mayors were he ones who issued the business permits and that the provincial government has no hand on its operations.

Baloney! Whether we like it or not, the provincial government through Governor Espino has direct supervision over the municipal mayors. If it could impose the RPT, then the revocation of all business permits could also be imposed by Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. That’s how simple it is. A mere directive from the province could stop the operations of the jai alai and not through a legislative inquiry of the House of Representatives.

Are we not a laughing stock in the Congress once this illegal jai alai will be probed “in aid of legislation”? Wake up Vice Governor Ferdie Calimlim and the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. It’s not yet late. Do your part in probing this “jai alai” which is a front of “jueteng” in the province. Don’t be silent conspirators, otherwise I tend to believe that there’s money in that jai alai operations.

Is this the reason why Bugallon Mayor Ric Orduña resigned as President of the province’s League of Municipal Mayors of the Philippines ? Does Mayor Orduña not able to convey to his colleagues in the League that jai alai is operating illegally in the province? Or, why is it that the Governor was the one defending its operations and not the municipal mayors? I am just asking. Lately, I heard that the ever loyal sergeant of the Governor Pat Orduña (brother of Mayor Ric Orduña) has also filed his indefinite leave. Has this something to do with his brother’s resignation from the League?

I don’t want to speculate. The issue has made me think deeply. The Orduñas are close allies of Governor Espino as they are town mates. It could not be denied that Espino’s victories in the polls were due to the Orduña brothers’ help and assistance. Are they severing ties with the Governor already? Knowing Governor Espino, he could easily patch up this messy “tampuhan” among his friends. He should do it in the near future because there are speculations that even the BSL boys and girls under his ward are also planning to do a”Hyatt 10”.

Well, well, well. I will keep you abreast on the “silent conspiracies” not only on RPT and jai alai in my next column. Just hang on!

(for comments email me at

June 15, 2011 at 8:47 am Leave a comment

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