BY MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA
Is it true that the rift between Governor Amado T. Espino and BM Ranjit Shahani is worsening? A top official at the Capitol told me that Ranjit waved a CD at him that he said contains libelous statements uttered by the governor when he spoke recently to the crowd in San Nicholas, Pangasinan. He said somebody has recorded in a video the governor’s scathing remarks against Ranjit and passed it to him. Jesus, Maria, Hosep! What is that Ranjit man? ***
I got information from a very high official at the Provincial Capitol that whether we like it or not the Liberal Party will launch a provincial ticket in Pangasinan. He said the party, after re-mapping again, has eyed lately Alaminos City Nani Braganza and Jamie Agbayani for the gubernatorial and the vice gubernatorial posts, respectively.
“I thought it would be Victor (Agbayani for governor)?” I posed. He said Victor will reclaim his old congressional seat in the 2nd district. “Geez man, this would be a good fight. With Victor slugging-it-out with incumbent workaholic Congressman Leopoldo L. Bataoil, who needs a Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Manny Pacquiao tiff?” I posed to my host over hot coffee and hot pandecoco bread he gladly offered to me. So what then awaits the political career of BM Shahani who was groomed to run for the vice gubernatorial post? He said Ranjit is the “aw-aw-aw lapdog” of the LP so the party can cast aspersion to the dominant party in the province. Jesus Christ, is this true Ranjit man? *** With old rehashed issues that dated decades ago resurrected in Dagupan City and filed against Mayor Benjie S. Lim at the Ombudsman, I’ll not be surprised if his enemies file charges too at the government officials’ prosecution body for the incessant knee deep floods in the down town areas, heavy rains, you name it, that pester Dagupenos lately. “Baka pati pag patay kay Jose Rizal and Emilio Aguinaldo would be blamed on you,” A pro-Lim supporter quipped to him in his office.
The mayor told me that negotiation between SM Prime Holdings, Inc. and the owner of the contentious lot at Brgy. Tambac is in progress that could pave the way for the mammoth retail store in the city. He said in general SMPH Inc. has already bought the bigger land previously owned by Gotesco in the village. Aside from the owners of a smaller lot there, the only obstacle SM, he told me, is it has to hurdle the city’s zoning ordinance where the City Council has to convert the SMPH Inc. property from agricultural (i.e: fishpond) to commercial. But with the new set of pro-Lim councilors, who were the product of the latest coup d’tat at the City Council, the entry of Henry Sy’s mammoth mall through a new zoning ordinance could be a breeze with the aldermen. *** Geez, as if it was only yesterday that everybody thought SM has no China man’s chance at the august chamber runs like a “fiefdom” by a “Filipino-Chinese” woman in Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez who owns a chain of malls CSI in the city. But with six of her allies deserting and politically emaciating her, the dreams of Dagupenos to see an imposing SM Mall could end their wrenching suspense.
Mayor Lim, in a conversation in his office, did not buy the observation of an unnamed high official in Calasiao who told me earlier that SM would no longer build its mall in the city because the market is already congested because of the presence of giant mall Robinson in nearby Calasiao. “Records would show that SM does not care about the presence of Robinson as long as it competes with it in attracting customers,” he stressed. He said that construction of SM would probably happen next year.
“I don’t know,” the mayor retorted when I asked him about the statement to me by a mayor in Eastern Pangasinan that his son Brian is being groomed for the congressional seat of the 4th District of Pangasinan. Last Friday, veteran newsman Ruel Camba, due to the “vexing” rumors in the grapevine, asked the same question to him about Brian’s alleged solon’s shot at the Pangasinan Press Radio Club, Inc hosted by its de facto president Ashok Vassandi (whose dangled India’s herbal medicinal leaves made countless media men arrive in drove to avail for a cure at the Pedrito’s Restaurant). Benjie said that it was still too early to make conjectures on it. “You wait in the middle of September (almost a month before the filling of all candidates of their candidacy for the May 2013 polls) and we will make an announcement.” He said he himself only decided to run for the mayoralty two days before the deadline in 2010. Was this body language of Lim blew his intention for a Brian Lim versus Joe de Venecia’s in the district?
In the same forum, Lim explained his grand plan for the “merging” Dagupan and San Fabian town as Metro-Dagupan City. He said with this merger the two local government units (LGU) can exploit their strategic coastal locations by drawing investors, tourists, and consumers at the new areas facing the Lingayen Gulf. Lim explained his plan is to intercede for an export processing zone from the national government to use the rich manpower of the two LGUs. He answered me too that San Jacinto mayor Bert de Vera did not understand what engineered sanitary landfill in Awai village is, after I asked him on his solution for the gnawing problem of garbage. He said his plans for the merger of Dagupan and San Fabian, and the engineered sanitary landfill in San Jacinto has faced political obstacles. “It’s a political problem that needs a political solution,” he said. “Was he insinuating to us that the hindrance of his plans was the de Venecias and the only solution is to challenge them politically through Brian?” a scribe whispered to me. (You can read my selected intriguing but thought-provoking columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com. You can send comments too at firstname.lastname@example.org).