|De Venecia (C) and Espino (R)|
De Venecia shocked barangay and political leaders of the Fourth District of Pangasinan when he called them to an emergency meeting last Wednesday night and asked them to ensure the victory of Braganza in the May 13 elections.
The former Speaker’s wife, Rep. Gina De Venecia, is running for re-election under Espino’s Nationalist People’s Coalition. “I am asking you not only to vote for our next Governor, Hernani Braganza. I am imploring that you campaign and work double-time to ensure his victory in your barangays,” De Venecia said in the meeting that turned into a political rally held at Stadia in Dagupan City.
The event was attended by more than 1,000 incumbent barangay captains, kagawads, barangay secretaries and treasurers, tanods, and health workers who comprise De Venecia’s political machinery in the towns of Manaoag, Mangaldan, San Fabian and San Jacinto.
Only eight of the 99 incumbent barangay captains in said towns did not attend the meeting. On stage with De Venecia were incumbent Mangaldan Mayor Bernard “Berex” Abalos and San Jacinto Mayor Robert De Vera, who are also running under Gov. Espino’s political party.
De Venecia noted that he is actively endorsing Braganza’s gubernatorial bid in recognition of the Alaminos City Mayor’s vast experience in governance, both in the national and local level.
“We have cabaleyans who served as Cabinet Members in Malacanang. But only Nani Braganza has earned the distinction of being the only Pangasinense who held three Cabinet positions at an early age,” the former Speaker said.
Braganza has served as Secretary of Agrarian Reform, Press Secretary and Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs with Cabinet rank. “Let us help Braganza win the governorship and who knows, this young man may be the next President from Pangasinan. Mark may word, Nani Braganza is the man to watch in Philippine politics today,” De Venecia said.
De Venecia also expressed optimism that Braganza’s honesty and integrity as a public servant would help the government’s efforts to secure peace with the communist New People’s Army. “I have talked with CPP Founder Jose Maria Sison in the Netherlands and he told me that Nani Braganza is one of the few government officials who they consider as honest and dedicated in serving the ordinary people,” the former Speaker said. “I am sure that Nani Braganza, with his reputation as an honest and dedicated public servant, can help us end the rebellion of the Marxist insurgents,” he added.
De Venecia explained that although he still consider Gov. Espino a close friend, he has no choice but to support Braganza in the interest of the Pangasinenses. “Gov. Espino is a dear friend. We helped him get elected in 2007 and 2010.
But he has done nothing to bring projects to the barangays and help improve the living condition of our people,” he said.
De Venecia noted that Gov. Espino promised to bring projects to the barangays during his previous campaigns, but these promises were not fulfilled after he was elected into office. “He (Gov. Espino) failed to bring roads, schoolhouses and irrigation projects as he promised. What more can he promise now?,” he added.
De Venecia is the second highly-regarded political figure from Pangasinan who has openly endorsed Braganza’s gubernatorial bid. Last April 21, former President Fidel V. Ramos came out in the open and endorsed his nephew Braganza for governor of Pangasinan. “If Nani Braganza will be elected governor of Pangasinan, I am sure that foreign and domestic investors will take a second look at our province and pour in the much-needed investments to jumpstart the local economy,” Mr. Ramos said.
He noted that Braganza’s vast experience as a public servant would help in pole-vaulting Pangasinan as a premier province not only in Northern Philippines, but in the entire country as well. “Nani Braganza could spell the difference for peace and development in Pangasinan,” he pointed out.
Mr. Ramos noted that Pangasinan has been a considered the most progressive province in the country when he was still the President. This distinction, he said, was wiped out when Amado Espino,Jr. was elected Governor in 2007. “During my term, the investment grade for Pangasinan was BBBB or 4Bs. Today, it is BBB, which means Bagoong, Bangus and Bukayo,” he said. “Ang kailangan natin ngayon ay siguruhin ang 4B: Bagoong, Bangus, Bukayo at Braganza!” he added.