By Mortz C. Ortigoza
MANGALDAN – A senior board member in Pangasinan said a former high official wondered why the mayors of the fourth district were conspicuously absent during the internment of this town former Mayor Herminio Romero in January 3.
Provincial Board Member Jeremy Agerico Rosario said former five-time Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. asked him at the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church the whereabouts of the other mayors.
De Venecia used to represent the district which includes Mangaldan.
The “missing mayors” were Napoleon Sales of Manaoag, Irene Libunao of San Fabian, Robert de Vera of San Jacinto, and Benjamin S. Lim of Dagupan City.
Except for Lim, the mayors of the four towns are rabid allies of de Venecia and his wife Gina, now the representative of the fourth district.
Burial in the Philippine is traditionally is given more credence by Filipinos than attendance in a wake.
Among the 46 municipal mayors and four city mayors in Pangasinan, it was only Dasol Mayor Noel Nacar, the president of the League of Mayors of Philippines – Pangasinan Chapter, Aguilar Mayor Eduardo Ballesteros, this town Mayor Berex Abalos, and Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza who were sighted during the burial.
The other political figures who were seen here were the couple de Venecia, former head of the Land Transportation Office Arturo Lomibao, and Rosario.
A source who asked anonymity lauded Rosario: “ Even he is not from here he religiously attend the wakes, necrological services, and interment of our dear mayor.”Rosario, who got the highest votes among board members in Pangasinan in the 2010 poll, was a close friend of the late mayor especially when he came to the succor of Romero when he got the ire two years ago of a Governor Amado T. Espino on the issues on the increase of the Real Property Tax.
In the necrological service and public viewing held at the municipal hall here a night before the burial, elective officials who attended the event were Pangasinan Vice Governor Ferdinand Calimlim, Board Members Ranjit R. Shahani, Von Mark Mendoza, and Rosario.
They gave the resolution passed by the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to the bereaved family of the former mayor expressing their sentiments to his demise.
The soft-spoken Romero, 72, died of a cardiac arrest in Barangay Lipit Tomeeng San Fabian after he gave a speech in a fiesta.A source who asked anonymity said Romero, a candidate for the provincial board, felt bad when a rival for the same office “gate crashed”, shook hands with the spectators there, and “banged” with his hand the table when Romero has been delivering his piece.