Same retired generals still in political game
DAGUPAN CITY – The Pangasinan political field looked like it is no longer as appealing to retired police generals, with less of them joining the 2016 race, but there are still the “old guards” going for the positions they have occupied or still are occupying.
There are no new entrants from the general rank who entered the political arena, but there are still at least four of them in the game.
Two are even unopposed for their third term of office –Second district Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil and Laoac Mayor Silverio Alarcio Jr. who were classmates at the Philippine Military Academy.
The other former generals who are still in the game are Mapandan Mayor Maximo Calimlim Jr. who is being challenged by two opponents for his third term, and former Bani Mayor Marcelo Navarro Jr., who lost by a hairline in the 2013 elections.
Then there are the retired colonels (senior superintendent) in the race. Newly retired Sr. Supt. Luis Mariano Versoza is gunning for the capital town Lingayen’s top post.
Another retired colonel wanted to regain his post as mayor of Rosales. Former Rosales Mayor Ricardo Revita was a three-term mayor of the eastern Pangasinan town with his last term ending in 2013. Governor Amado Espi no Jr., also a retired colonel, filed for the fifth district congressional race.
Bataoil said Pangasinan province has the most number of graduates of the PMA. “There was even a time that the PMA was jokingly called the Pangasinan Military Academy because of the number of students from the province,” he said.
And because of the sheer number of generals from Pangasinan, it is but natural that some of them would seek elective positions when they retire, he said.
“But politics is not for all retired generals. Some are not cut for the work that elective positions entails,” he added.
Majority of the generals prefer to retire quietly and spend more time with their family.
“That is the common sentiment becasue, when you are in the police service, your time is not yours. You are on call 24 hours seven days a week, for about 30 years until you retire. That is why they would rather enjoy thefamily after retirement,” he said.
But there are others who seemed to have a calling to continue being in the government through elective positions.
“Its a personal choice. A passion,” he said, explaining that he was “trained” to be a politician through his work in the police community relations when he was still in active service.
“Besides, when you are a general, you provide some kind of public service, such as they approach you when they have problems,” he said.
Like the majority of retired generals, Alarcio was looking forward to a quiet life after retirement.
“But when I went back to my hometown after assignements in different provinces, I saw that my town was mismanaged so I decided to run,” he said.
His family was also against his running as his youngest then was only six years old, “but I talked to them about my plans and they agreed.”
“It was not easy when you enter politics for the first time because people do not know yet what you can do. But when you have shown what you can do, winning becomes easier,” Alarcio, who is running unopposed twice, said.
“Both fields are demanding. But being in public service gives a different satisfaction especially when you are able to directly help improve your town and the life of your people,” he said.
Former Bani Mayor Navarro also thought when he lost in 2013, he was already putting politics behind and concentrating on his resort business.
He said it was a “call to duty” to run again after people came to him asking him to run.
“I told them my family needs me, but they said they are my family, too. I told them I am feeling the signs of aging and they said they would be my medicine,” he said.
“So now, I am back in harness,” Navarro said.
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