MAGANES: Mark Cojuangco is a true blooded Pangasinense
I am constantly amused when the “mouthpieces” of outgoing Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. harp over their paid radio programs and even on weekly newspapers, that gubernatorial candidate Mark O. Cojuangco is not a “true blooded” Pangasinense. They refer to Cojuangco as “Tarlakenyo “, a stranger in Pangasinan and has no right to be elected as Governor or lead the province.
Their try to discredit Cojuangco and make it appear that the “anointed son” of the sitting governor is more qualified to run the province. Their argument is that only a Pangasinense has the right to be governor and a person who resided here claiming to be a Pangasinense has no right at all to be a provincial leader.
Those arguments are misleading or just products of their being bigots.
Is Cojuangco a stranger or alien in Pangasinan? Does he have a Pangasinense blood?
Last April 5, the provincial government celebrated the “Pangasinan Day” to commemorate its founding as a province. The Pangasinan Historical Commission (PHC) that conducted research as to the exact date Pangasinan was declared as a province, found out that the Spanish government declared it as a province on April 5, 1580, making the Pangasinan Day celebration as its 436th Foundation Day.
This means that Pangasinan was declared as a province 59 years after Ferdinand Magellan rediscovered the Philippines.
But what were the municipalities under Pangasinan during those years? The “mouthpieces” of Espino are utterly ignorant of history. Paniqui, Sta. Ignacia, Camiling, San Clemente, Moncada and San Manuel were part of the “old Pangasinan province” but are now part of Tarlac.
In those years, Caba, Aringay, Agoo and Rosario were also part of Pangasinan, now part of La Union province. The western towns of the province – Bolinao , Alaminos (now City), Mabini, Agno, Burgos, Dasol and Infanta were parts of Zambales province and Umingan in eastern Pangasinan, was a part of Nueva Ecija.
The modern day Pangasinan could not hide these facts, otherwise the founding date should be altered when these aforementioned municipalities have already been ceded to the provinces where they now belong.
Professor Rosario Cortes of the University of the Philippines wrote extensively on the history of Pangasinan. A part of her historical research was included in the History of Tarlac which showed that the village of Malunguey would be forming a part of the eventual Tarlac. The ancient village of Malunguey was in the territory of the present town of Bayambang in Pangasinan.
Paniqui has prodigious beginnings. Although mentioned only in the 1686 Actas Capitulares of the Dominicans, it is allegedly the oldest town founded in the whole of Pangasinan. Located in the southernmost part of the latter, the area nearest to Pampanga, “it was probably part of the Pangasinan territory reportedly conquered by Martin de Goiti in 1571, the first part of Pangasinan to be placed under Spanish sovereignty,” as assessed by Rosario Cortes.
This proves that Cojuangco, who was born in Paniqui (Tarlac) is a Pangasinense, as Paniqui in those years was a part of Pangasinan. So, the ancestors of Mark Cojuangco are Pangasinenses and being such, he is a Pangasinense.
Mark was married to Kimi, a scion of the Gonzaleses, the former owners of Pangasinan Transportation Company (Pantranco) based in Dagupan City.
Mark became more Pangasinense by affinity.
Besides, its not Espino who determines if one is a true blooded Pangasinense or not. He has no authority to tell who are Pangasineses and who are not.
As to the requirements for persons to run for local positions, what are the basic qualifications of local candidates?
Let us have a closer look at the provision of the Local Government Code of 1991 or Republic Act No. 7160, as amended. It says the qualifications of a local candidate are:
TITLE II, ELECTIVE OFFICIALS, CHAPTER I – Qualifications and Election, Section 39. Qualifications. – (a) An elective local official must be a citizen of the Philippines; a registered voter in the barangay, municipality, city, or province or, in the case of a member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, or sangguniang bayan, the district where he intends to be elected; a resident therein for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election; and able to read and write Filipino or any other local language or dialect.
(b) Candidates for the position of governor, vice-governor, or member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, or mayor, vice-mayor or member of the sangguniang panlungsod of highly urbanized cities must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age on election day.
It is very clear on that provision of law that candidates need not to be born in a certain place just to run for a local position and be qualified to be a candidate. Cojuangco met the minimum requirements to be a resident of Pangasinan. Besides, he was already residing in Sison since 1966.
Those saying that Cojuangco is not a true-blooded Pangasinense are apparently frustrated and desperate. This is because his political rival nemesis for the gubernatorial post could not advance his candidacy. As the Election Day draws near, Espino’s camp is doing everything to woo the support of Pangasinenses, but their ploys are teeming with lies and deceits, black propagandas and mudslinging to smear Cojuangco’s name.
However, instead of pulling down Cojuangco, the dirty tactics being used by the Espinos help escalate Cojuangco’s popularity. The sitting governor is beset with cases at the Sandiganbayan on illegal black sand mining. He also faces plunder due to “jueteng payolas” at the Office of the Ombudsman and other issues on illegal quarrying in Bugallon and corruption.
His son who is running for governor could not even present a platform of governance and his only qualification is he is a son of an outgoing governor.
Pangasinenses are slowly being awakened from deep slumber.
The issues against the Espinos are bringing into their senses. They are now indignant and they clamor for a change of leadership. Cojuangco has proven to himself that he is the best alternative Governor comes Election Day.
We will soon be witnessing the dawn of a new Pangasinan. Cojuangco’s victory at the polls will undoubtedly spur the glory of the once premier province, as he will make true his promise of working for a “Mas Maunlad na Pangasinan.”
(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 Radio, 981 KHZ, 8:00-9:00 AM, Mondays to Fridays and “On Your Marks, 2nd Edition” aired over DWPR Radio Asenso, 1296 KHZ,10:15-12:00 noon on Mondays to Saturdays)
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