MAGANES: My top news stories in Pangasinan for 2018

December 25, 2018 at 10:03 am Leave a comment

In 2018, certain news stories made us laugh, cry and cheers. It’s a feeling many can relate to depending on how these stories affected our senses and lives.

I will start my top news stories in Pangasinan politics.

Unlike in previous election period where political hopefuls  started early voicing out their desire to run for a certain position, this year it was observed that political positioning came in late.


For the position of the top posts in the province, there were many political speculations on who would likely run as governor and vice governor against the sitting power in the Capitol. The guessing game started in the second quarter of the year. At first, it was speculated that Mark Cojuangco will come back with either Abono Partylist Rep. Conrad Estrella III or 6th District Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas as the running mate.

But political pundits were surprised when all of a sudden the name of Alaminos City Mayor Arthur Celeste was floated as the gubernatorial hopeful. His entry to the gubernatorial race was revealed later on as a product of massive consultations among the Pangasinan big names in politics to include Secretary Raul Lambino- a Presidential Political Adviser for Northern Luzon, former Governor Victor Agbayani, Abono Partylist Rep. Conrad Estrella, Abono Partylist Chair Rosendo So, former 5th District Rep. Mark Cojuangco, and many more. It was a big move to challenge the Espinos who are lording over Pangasinan for almost 12 years.

The biggest surprise was the declaration of 2nd District Board Member Raul P. Sison to join the camp of Celeste to run for the congressional seat in the District. Sison was a long time ally of the Espinos but the turn of the events made their relationship sour.

When the filing of candidacies started in the second week of October, new revelations surfaced like the entry of Paterno Orduña for the vice gubernatorial post, Binalonan Mayor Ramon “Mon-mon” Guico III for the congressional post in the 5th District against incumbent Rep. Amado T. Espino Jr. Orduña later on withdrew his candidacy and was substituted by Mark Ronald DG. Lambino, the son of Secretary Lambino, and as Celeste’s running mate.

The last quarter of 2018 saw the killings of two candidates in Pangasinan.

In Bayambang, former Councilor Levin Uy, who is running for the same position, was gunned down early morning of November 16 by an unidentified gunman while having a walk at the dike in said town. The killing is still being investigated by the police officers of the Pangasinan Provincial Police Office (PPPO). Bayambang Mayor Cesar T. Quiambao offered a reward of P2 million and another P300 thousand from Abono Partylist Chair Rosendo So.

Sto. Tomas Councilor Benjamin Oculto Jr., who is running as vice mayor, suffered the same fate as that of Uy. On December 17, he was gunned down after attending a church service by a certain Nestor “Junjun” Vidal of Barangay Hermosa, Tepo, Bataan together with three others unidentified cohorts who were able to escape using a Toyota Altis car.

Vidal was nabbed by police officers of Sto. Tomas Police Station after a pursuit operations. He and his group exchanged gun fires with the policemen. The get away car was later on retrieved in San Manuel, Tarlac. Police officers were able to identify a certain Hizon of Carmen East village as the one who rented the car in Ambonao, Calasiao.

Under intense investigation by policemen, Vidal identified the person who hired him of the killing. It was reported lately that a certain Lito had been arrested by the police officers.

Inquest proceedings have been conducted by the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Villasis town. Police officers are still looking at for possible accomplices of the killing including the mastermind.

On October 5, Sto. Tomas Councilor Ely Ramos, who is running for the mayoral position and as running mate of Oculto, was also fired at by motorcycle riding criminals (MRCs), but was not fatally wounded.

My topmost news story is the discovery of a factory of fake cigarettes in Portic, Bugallon.

On November 28, a team of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) went to the said barangay (village) armed with three mission orders against a certain Dong Calugay and John Does/Joan Does of CF Factory “to apprehend, arrest and make seizure for violation of any penal laws, laws and regulations administered by BIR”.

The barangay officials headed by Edilberto Orduña were surprised that behind a piggery was the factory of fake cigarettes. The structure is far from the residential houses but constructed in a hilly property, fenced by barbed wires and around it are mango trees. It could only be accessible through the entrance of a piggery owned by a certain Danilo Calugay.

According to Orduña, the Council had only endorsed for the grant of permit through a resolution for the piggery in August 2016. The factory where fake cigarettes are manufactured have no clearance from them.

After the raid, the team found out unregistered tax stamps, cigarette products with fake stamps and unregistered equipment in the manufacture of tobacco products with brand names as  “More”, “Camel”, “Marvels”, “Winston”, ”Mighty” and “Marlboro”.

Workers were also discovered as five Chinese nationals with tourist visas and 23 others who were from Mindanao.

The estimated loss of the government’s revenue was P2.5 billion.

It is obvious that the factory of fake cigarettes is a milking cow of unscrupulous persons. When will the government identify the persons behind this factory? It is something to look forward to.

(For comments and suggestions, email me at or at Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at Read the online edition of Northern Watch at


Entry filed under: News.

EDITORIAL: Iwas paputok sa pagsapit ng Bagon Taon DPWH opens P3.5M building 

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