MAGANES: Arth Bryan Celeste, the new provincial Liga president

August 6, 2018 at 6:05 pm Leave a comment


If the measurement of who has the political power in Pangasinan was the recent result of the election of the Provincial Federation ng Liga ng mga Barangay, it can be said that those who helped the Celestes to win the Liga Presidency are in power.

vir maganes

Last July 30, 47 elected municipal and city Liga ng Barangay Presidents (except Dagupan City which is an independent city) convened at a hotel in Dagupan City to elect from among themselves the officers of the Federation of Liga ng mga Barangay of Pangasinan. The elected officers will represent the more or less 1,350 barangays in the province. The elected president will sit as the Ex-Officio member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan having the same rights and privileges as that of the elected regular members in the districts.

 The leadership of the Liga was a toss between Jinky Zaplan, wife of Mayor Carlito Zaplan of Sta. Barbara and Arthur Bryan Celeste of Alamins City, the son of Mayor Art Celeste. The lady Zaplan is the incumbent provincial federation of Liga President while the young Celeste is a newbie in the political scene in Pangasinan.After the election, the young Celeste won the presidency with 25 votes against the 21 votes of Zaplan with an apparent one vote who abstained in the election. Whoever that village official who abstained in the voting was still a mystery as of now?

Here’s the catch.

In Pangasinan politics, people are aware that the Zaplans are close to the Espinos- Governor Amado “Pogi” Espino III and 5th District Representative Amado T. Espino Jr., having been allies for many years. With the said election, the Zaplans and the Espinos had undoubtedly done their efforts to work for the victory of Zaplan particularly in coordinating with municipal mayors allied to them. The Celestes, although lately have joined and sworn in as the new members of PDP-Laban Party, a party led by the old Espino in Pangasinan, have also went out to get the leadership of the Liga in the province.

It was then a tug-of-war of leadership. It was said that Abono Partylist under the leadership of Engr. Rosendo O. So and Conrad M. Estrella III tried to ensure the victory of Celeste. The said political maneuver left speculations in the mind of political pundits in Pangasinan.

Questions are now being asked. Will the Celestes still stick with the PDP-Laban Party of the Espinos? Or, will they go back to their original party, which is the Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition NPC?

So and Estrella are supportive to the NPC as what had been witnessed in 2016 elections where they supported the gubernatorial bid of Mark Cojuangco.

 While there were four municipal Liga presidents who made the victory of Celeste, one village head who was believed to have supported Celeste was Romulo Magliba of San Fabian. San Fabian Mayor Danilo “Gil” Agbayani worked to make Magliba unopposed in his town for the municipal Liga presidency. Agbayani is close to the Espinos, but he did not see that that Magliba is closer to the Estrellas. They were political allies for a long time.

 There was also speculations, but have to be validated, that the lone village official who abstained from voting was the city Liga president of Urdaneta City Michael Brian Perez, the son of Urdaneta City Mayor Amadeo Gregorio “Bobom” Perez IV and the grandson of political stalwart former 5th District Representative and Urdaneta City Mayor Amadeo R. Perez Jr.

 Money flowed during the campaign, I was told. But I will not dwell on that. That was part of political strategies to hold on to power. Who offered the highest bid between the two contending parties was not even an issue. The issue here is, does the result of the election of the Federation of Liga ng Mga Barangay in Pangasinan will dramatically change the political landscape in Pangasinan?

Two months from now, local candidates for the May 21 elections will already be filing their certificates of candidacy. Will the Celestes severe their ties to their new allies, the Espinos? Will they be supporting candidates who are supported by Abono Partylist- Rosendo So and Conrad Estrella?

 That will be a political spectacle to behold in the first week of October this year.

(For comments and suggestions, email me at emperorvirgil@yahoo.com or at virgilmaganes42@gmail.com. Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at http://www.virgilmaganes.wordpress.com. Read the online edition of Northern Watch at http://www.northwatch.wordpress.com)

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