MAGANES: When ‘friendship’ ends
” There are no permanent friends and enemies in politics,” so the saying goes. And this holds true when political ties of ” friends” are severely damaged because of political aspirations and interests. However, in politics there are hidden principles or values a politician has to follow- ” delicadeza” or sense of propriety and ” utang na loob” or the debt of gratitude. Over and above any reason, these two values must at least be upheld, notwithstanding any political plan a politician has in mind.
Pangasinenses are all aware that Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. has reached his political stature (that of a three-termer elected governor from 2007 to 2013) because of the help of his political allies during the election periods of his three terms. Among his close allies during those times were former 5th District Rep. and provincial chairman of the Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition (NPC) Mark O. Cojuangco, his wife Rep. Kimi S. Cojuangco, Abono Partylist Chair Rosendo O. So, former Urdaneta City Mayor now MECO Chair Amadeo R. Perez Jr., former 6th District Rep. now Abono Partylist Rep. Conrad M. Estrella III with his brother former Abono Partylist Rep. Robert Raymund M. Estrella Jr., 1st District Rep. Jesus “Boying” Celeste and Alaminos City Mayor Art Celeste, 6th District Rep. Marlyn Primicias Agabas and her husband Tayug Mayor Tyrone Agabas, Secretary Antonio “Bebot” Villar Jr. also the chairman emeritus of Biskeg na Pangasinan (Biskeg) and the countless municipal officials under the NPC and Biskeg. These were the figures who catapulted him to the pedestal of political reign in Pangasinan.
But political alliances have to end. When former 5th District Rep. Mark O. Cojuangco announced his gubernatorial aspiration on February 10, 2014, Governor Espino resented his pronouncement, claiming it was too early for politics. Banking on previous agreements with Espino and other elected representatives during their time that one of them will run as governor after Espino’s term, Cojuangco proceeded with his plan. He was not aware that Espino was already cooking up the plan that he will field his namesake and son as a gubernatorial candidate in 2016.
The once united and solid political alliance was put to test. Efforts to consolidate their forces went kaput. Espino sidetracked whatever good dealings he had with his former political allies. The target is to occupy anew the Capitol with his son at the realm and in power. He, being on his last term, decided to challenge the congressional post of the 5th District from Mark’s wife Kimi who fought for him against political harassments in 2013 elections.
Espino might have thought to have the backing of his previous allies as mentioned earlier. But he was wrong. The original political allies consolidated their forces together against Espino, who tried to win the support of the village officials to back him and his son’s gubernatorial candidacy. He could not muster enough political support from municipal officials as majority of them are under NPC or Biskeg. Now, to elicit support, the only thing he could do is to demolish the credibility of Cojuangco through incessant concoctions of lies and deceits as aired over radio stations by his paid broadcasters. Where’s Espino’s delicadeza and “utang na loob”? Can he not at least tame his media wards and tell them not resort to mudslinging? Or better, just talk on what programs he and his son will undertake once they regain the much-coveted power at the Capitol? By the way, what is there at the Capitol that Espino could not leave behind and at least compromise with his former allies and give a chance for Cojuangco to lead Pangasinan?
With the political developments obtaining in Pangasinan, Cojuangco remains steadfast and unfazed. His strong allies are behind him notwithstanding the tirades thrown at him. Cojuangco is very focused on his political plans, thus he is conducting various consultations among Pangasinenses. According to him, he’s inspired by the overwhelming support he’s getting from the people even in areas known as Espino’s bailiwicks.
How about the Espinos? They are moving heaven and earth parrying off issues on graft and corruption associated with illegal black sand mining and quarrying, incessant loaning of the provincial government, disarray in prioritizing budgets, etc. They are busy deodorizing themselves before the Pangasinenses. And to compensate for their lackluster performances, they are now providing patrol cars to League of Barangays, ambulances for hospitals, scholarship funds for students, etc. However, the funds are not theirs- they came from the taxes of the Pangasinenses and the millions of loans to be paid until 2020, again by the Pangasinenses.
Lately, the Office of the Ombudsman denied with finality the “motion for reconsideration” filed by Governor Espino, former Provincial Administrator Rafael Baraan, former Provincial Housing and Urban Development Officer Alvin Bigay and the owners of the mining contractors regarding their participation in the “illegal black sand mining” in Lingayen in 2011. The resolution of the Ombudsman came just after Espino has delivered his “valedictory address” or his last ” State of the Province Address” or SOPA where he reported his accomplishments for more than eight and a half years in power.
Instead of accepting his fate that the case now will be elevated to the Sandiganbayan, Espino is now blaming Abono Partylist Chair Rosendo O. So for the release of the Ombudsman decision. He’s now scouting for scapegoats for his fiascos, to the consternation of his former “friends” and allies. And what is yet to believe? All that the camp of the Espino brags about are his “awards” for the province- awards that could not be measured in terms of economic development that are supposed to trickle down to the poorest of the poor Pangasinenses.
The call for new leadership is at hand. Could we not think before we vote on May 9, 2016? Why don’t we give Mark O. Cojuangco a chance to lead us? He has laid down a development agenda that could soar the progress of Pangasinan from 2016 and beyond.
( For comments, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my blog The Roving Pen at http://www.virgilmaganes.wordpress.com. Listen to my radio programs ” Ang Bagong Bayan Po(e)” aired over DZRD Sonshine Radyo Dagupan City, Mondays to Fridays at 8:00-9:00 AM and ” On Your Marks,2nd Edition” over DWPR Radyo Asenso,- Mondays to Fridays at 10:15-11:15 AM)
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