|House Speaker Sonny Belmonte|
|Former Pres. Fidel V. Ramos|
By MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA Welcome to Region -1my “kasimanwa” Roybel M. Sanchez.
Sanchez is the newly assigned regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency that is based in San Fernando, La Union. Thanks that my former colleague in the academe, the ageless Mina Francisco of the Capitol, called my attention when she was talking with Director Sanchez.
“ Mortz, the new PDEA director is from Bacolod”.
“Lininti-an,” I told myself.
Director Sanchez, who replaced Region-1 Regional Director Edgar Apalla, had a good time exchanging pleasantries with some mayors, an Ilonggo speaking Pangasinan board member (guess sino siya?), and media men that I brought to him.
“Why are you so accommodating to the new PDEA chief?” asked by Atong Remogat, my classmate at the Mababang Paaralan ng San Andres Bukid (“Low School of Saint Andrew Mountain”) – according to media man of the Liber-liber fame Harold Barcelona)
“I am doing this not because I want to intercede in case some members of the media are apprehended in a drug buy bust, but I am doing this as what an Ilonggo should be doing to a fellow Ilonggo whenever he comes in a strange land,” I told him in jest.
PDEA Director Sanchez told us (mayors, board members, mayoralty wannabes, and media men) that his wife is an Ilocana from Ilocos Norte.
When I asked him if he can speak the Marcosian vernacular, he told us: “Para daw matuto mag salita ang isang Ilonggo ng Ilocano, kailangan daw malawayan siya ng Ilocana”.
This quipped from the amiable director endeared him to everybody there who had a guffaw.
“O.K pala itong si director, mapag biro!”a famous broadcaster quipped.
“Ikaw na ang bahala diyan kay Roy, Mortz,” Cagayan de Oro PDEA Regional Director Bob Opena, my neighbor at PMA, Baguio City texted me after I called his attention of the presence of Director Sanchez.
I heard that some mayoralty wannabes have already completed their slates. I heard that in Mangaldan town, Berex Abalos handpicked Councilor Joseph Cera, a lawyer, as his vice mayoralty bet, while come backing mayoralty bet Bona de Vera has chosen former vice mayor Pedro Surdilla as her vice mayor.
In Manaoag town, Board Member Ming Rosario has chosen Poblacion Barangay Captain Domy Chen as his vice mayoralty bet and has been strategizing diligently with his complete slate of candidates for the councillorship, on how to beat mayoralty wannabes Angie Sales (wife of exiting mayor Nap Sales) and Vice Mayor Kim Amador.
In San Fabian, former man Friday of the Libunaos (re-electionist Mayor Irene and Board Member Jamming) Constante Agbayani, the incumbent president of the Association of Barangay Captains, told me that he is hell-bent to end the reign of the Libunaos by beating Irene. He said nobody could stop him in his mayoralty candidacy.
Media man Ronel de Vera asked me last night to confirm the veracity of the reports that Vice Mayor Rodolfo Columbres wants to reclaim his former mayoralty post from incumbent Mayor Bert de Vera.
"I couldn't confirm it. But what I know was when former Speaker Joe de Venecia asked Bert recently in the office of Rep. Manay Gina de Venecia at the House of Representatives if Columbres will run, Bert told him that the former mayor preferred to run in his present post," I told Ronel.
I was all glued recently at the local cable TV watching the scintillating but tension- filled debates between Binmaley Vice Mayor Pete Merrera and the members of the majority of the Sangguniang Bayan (town council).
Susmariosep, it was breathless and heart stopping that I thought Merrera and Councilors Franco Franciso and Jose Carrera, Jr., who are with the majority, would come into blow.
According to Vice Mayor Merrera when I bumped into him, the special session last August 18 was called by Binmaley Mayor Enzo Cerezo who feared that the voting for the resolution certifying the submission of the requirements of Ordinance No. 2, Series of 2012 for a P55 million loan- application of the town at the Land Bank of the Philippines as required by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas would go kaput on August 22.
Merrera clashed heatedly with the majority members of the Sangguniang Bayan by reasoning out that the requirements like survey, site investigation, soils and foundation investigation, construction materials investigation, preparation of design plans and design analysis, preparation of technical specifications, preparation of quantity and cost estimates, preparation of program of work, general condition of contracts, general condition of contracts, special condition of contracts, completion schedule and scope of work will be submitted as agreed in the past by the august body .
The majority aldermen who are allied with Mayor Cerezo submitted only a mere detailed estimate and the blueprint.
Since there were inadequacies for the requirements to be met as agreed in the past among the vice mayor and the members of the august chamber, Merrera banged the gavel for adjournment after Councilors Jovito and Edgar Maminta, both allies of come backing mayoralty bet and death threat scandalized Sam Rosario, moved and seconded a call for adjournment
Councilor Francisco, a worked horse of the majority, vehemently objected to the motion to adjourn.
On TV, I gawked to see Francisco lectured the vice mayor that he was a presiding officer whose duty was to preside and not to debate the members of the august body.
“Deja Vu SP –Dagupan City during the hey days of Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez ,” I told myself drooling as if I was watching my favorite flick ConAir or The Rock for the first time that were cast by my favorite actors John Malkovich and Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery, respectively.
But a recalcitrant Merrera, and the exasperated Castro and Maminta left the chamber.
However. the immovable members of the majority remained on their seats by electing a demure Councilor Ellen Alipio, wife of bangus czar Anong Alipio, as a temporary presiding officer and rammed their intention to vote for the certificate required by the BSP.
Geez, what got the goat of the vice mayor when he showed to me the minute-certificate, signed by his secretary, of the “de facto” session led by the majority was when the majority justified the continuation of the deliberation after Merrera “walked out”.
“I did not walk out. Video records would show that there was a motion called by Councilor Castro and seconded by Councilor Maminta,” he emphatically explained.
Now here is my five cents worth of suggestions to Vice Mayor Merrera:
He can throw a legal monkey wrench through a petition of certiorari with injunction or prohibition with temporary restraining order at the Regional Trial Court to stop Cerezo in contracting the "onerous" loan. He could argue there, through his petition, that the proceeding was patently illegal and damaging to the people of Binmaley.
He could argue there too that what the mayor and his allies have done was to crucify the taxpayers of Binmaley by paying for decades a burdensome grossly disadvantageous overpriced loan that was not thoroughly debated because it was not substantially complied.
He could even criminally sue Councilor Alipio and the conspiring members of the majority of Usurpation of Official functions as provided in Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code and the Anti-Graft & Corrupt Practices for pulling the town to the morass in a grossly disadvantageous position.
Now here is my five cents worth of suggestions to Mayor Cerezo:
Since a legal action of Merrera could spoil the vaunted P55 million loan, he should set pronto a one-on-one meeting with the smarting vice mayor. A veteran politician, who contracted a loan much bigger than the loan Binmaley is applying for, told me he has been successful in “silencing” the majority members of the dads and the vice mayor with a “Solomonic Formula”.
Since both of the mayor and the vice mayor need millions of pesos of funds for election campaign maneuvering after the filling of candidacy on October 1 to 5, 2012, dialogue between the duos is indispensable.
And geez man, I was not talking here about “indispensable but at the expense of their sorry constituents”.
Whether Merrera capitulate with my naughty “idiotic” suggestions, he, Mayor Cerezo, and the councilors should bear in their mind that what ensued in that acrimonious intriguing session in August 18 could make or unmake them before the eyes of the voters.
“Has Nani (Braganza, mayor of Alaminos City) declared as rumored during his recent birthday bash that he is running for the governorship?” I posed this to Ivan the Terrible - my beer swigging mole in Alaminos.
Instead of answering my question, he showed me video clips of political titans in Imperial Manila who greeted and directly and indirectly endorsed Braganza for the gubernatorial seat.
The following were excerpts of the greeting of House of Representatives’ Speaker Sonny Belmonte and former President Fidel V. Ramos (Nani’s uncle):
Speaker Belmonte: “Isang malaking pagbati sa aking matalik na kaibigan, kasamahan sa maraming pinagdaanan na si Governor Nani Braganza!”
Fidel V. Ramos: “Mabuhay, Nani Agsalud Braganza, mayor of Alaminos city which is now 48 years old. Happy birthday Alaminos, happy birthday Nani, Happy birthday Pangasinan.
‘Sikatoy mayor tayo pero walay unla-an toy iba kono (he is our mayor but he has other plan). Haah, mabuhay ka Nani kami kasama mo madami kang fans dito. O, Ano kayo (referring to the TV crew) flying voters ba kayo o taga Pangasinan? All legitimate Alaminos voters including Pangasinan voters, hahh, mabuhay ka Nani mabuhay!
“Has Nani acquiesced to their endorsement?” I posed again to Ivan the beer drinker.
Instead of answering me directly, one of his factotums showed me a video clip where Nani acknowledged the greetings through video of Belmonte, FVR, Dep Ed Secretary Armin Luistro, Congressman Nonoy Andaya, former congressmen Ace Barbers and Mike Defensor, and countless political high roller friends in- and- out of the Philippines of the mayor in island Tropic Hotel & Restaurant in Lucap, Alaminos City where he celebrated his natal day.
“Whether you liked it or not, I accept the challenged,” he emphatically told the crowd in his typically rabble-rousing spiel through a microphone.
Former Tapuac, Dagupan City barangay captain Pete Coquia corroborated what I saw because, as a brod in a fraternity of Nani he was invited to the party there with with former Poblacion, Dagupan City Brgy. Captain Kap Doc "Woodstock concerts' lover" Rosal who is their brod, too.
My spy in Western Pangasinan told me that Nani would not accept the vice governorship in case the Liberal Party’s hierarchy nominate him for it.
“He rather run for congress in the First District (of Pangasinan) instead than running for the vice governorship,” he told me.
Geez, I agreed with Ivan, my beer guzzling mole. Nani’s been a cabinet secretary of the press and agrarian reform, and a two-term congressman of the “Spice Boys famed”, and the post of the vice governorship is an insult and virtual demotion of his ability.
“Son of a gun, let Ranjit (Shahani, the present "Mr. Congeniality of the Provincial Board (?)" and Nani’s “lived wired” cousin who is also the nephew of former president Ramos) run for the vice governorship, and leave Nani to run elsewhere,” I interjected in my inebriated state at the food court over kinilaw na bangus and San Miguel Lights .
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).