LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Has the season of electoral intramural started this early in this gargantuan province? Former Congressman Mark Cojuangco lamented the remarks of former ally Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. when he and kin submitted their resignation as party members of the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
|SOLIDIFICATION: Mark Cojuangco (2nd from Right) with mayors of the |
1st Congressional District of Pangasinan when they met recently at the
party's headquarters in Manila to buttress their alliance.
Cojuangco Answers Espino Charges“Is it "partisan activity" to inform the people that I am running for governor in 2016? Is it "grossly improper" to introduce myself to our province mates? From what I know, this is called "freedom of speech" and "freedom of expression",” Cojuangco in a statement recently sent to media men.
Last July 31, Espino, his brother Bautista Mayor Amadeo T. Espino, and son Bugallon Mayor Jumel submitted their resignation to NPC President Georgidi B. Aggabao who acknowledged receipt of the letter in August 4.
While son and namesake, Provincial Federation of Liga ng mga Barangay President, Ex-Oficio member of the Provincial Board Amado III sent his resignation last August 5 through electronic mail at the NPC’s headquarter in Metro Manila.
Last July 29 Espino, a last term governor, has finally come out from months long of deafening silence by declaring to media men that he endorsed Amado Jr., as a gubernatorial bet for the 2016 polls.
|MOIST EYE, TOO - Former 3 Terms Bautista Mayor and|
Ex-Oficio Board Member Amado Espino III, Outgoing
Governor father Amado, Jr. announced recently son and
namesake will run for the gubernatorial post in 2016
Espino Assailed the NPC for PartisanshipOne of the excerpts of the governor’s resignation letter:” As elected leader of the entire province of Pangasinan, the undersigned Governor finds it grossly improper (for Cojuangco and the NPC), and totally out of place, to announce political preferences, or to actively take part in any partisan activity, at this point in time when the next elections, in May 2016, are still a long way to go”.
Espino added that the NPC have espoused a different view, and in fact, have actively engaged in purely partisan activities."
He said that their resignation would allow his former NPC party leaders and party mates to have a free hand in pursuing their respective political agenda in the province.
NPC was Shelter for Espino When He Needs OneCojuangco immediately reacted that “the good Governor should not criticize the party because the NPC was shelter for him when he needed shelter; it welcomed and was kind to him”.
“It seems that the good Governor now has other needs. The least he should say is "Thank you," he deplored.
The former solon’s spokesman Rosendo So, in a phone patched last August 6, said at Aksyon Radyo that the endorsement of the governor for his son’s gubernatorial bid and their resignation bode well for the Pangasinenses who now knows the aggrupation of the personalities and direction of politics in the province.
He said his friendship with Espino, who was his ally in the first and second gubernatorial outings, remains despite his being a steadfast loyalist of Cojuangco.
Espino and Allies to Join Other PartyBoard Member Alfonso Bince, a staunch supporter of the governor, told Bombo Radyo last August 7 that after he and four members of the provincial board and the governor and kin resigned from NPC they would remain with their local party Biskeg and probably join the Nationalista, United Nationalist Alliance or Liberal Party.
Feathers Had Been Ruffled after Cojuangco Declared his BidFeathers had been ruffled at the Capitol here after Cojuangco declared in February 10, 2014 to Northern Watch that he intended to run for the top provincial post in 2016 polls.
One of his statements that alarmed the occupants of the Capitol was when he said that there should be a final end in the flooding in city and towns in Pangasinan.
“Itong mga low laying areas may baha dito, wala na ang dahilan para magkaroon ng baha if we can do it right. Just do the engineering right”.
He posed also to media men what took too long for the governor to finish the expansion of the airport in Lingayen.
Provincial Administrator Rafael Baraan, in a letter sent to Northern Watch, wrote that it seems Cojuangco has criticized the governor.
“In regard to the Lingayen airport, we have been clamoring for its expansion and upgrading, even before the end of term of former President GMA, and we have continuously communicated with the DOTC and the Civil Aeronautics Authority, about the same concern”
As for flood control efforts, the province bought two dredging equipment, as early as 2008, purposely to undertake its own river dredging and clearing efforts, without need of depending on the national government.
Cojuangco, Espino Fought Together the Two Agbayanis and BraganzaEspino and Cojuangco were closed allies at the NPC. They fought together a hard won fight against Jamie Agbayani in 2007, the wife of then outgoing Pangasinan Governor Victor Agbayani, where Espino won by more than 33,087 votes out of the more than a million registered voters then and without the support of the vaunted partisan sect Iglesia ni Cristo.
In 2010 and 2013 gubernatorial derbies, the NPC and Cojuangco supported Espino in dusting off with a lead of more than half a million votes each rivals Victor Agbayani and former Alaminos City Hernani Braganza.
The province has a mammoth registered voters of 1,558,947 based on the 2010 census.
Cojuangco, who is the provincial chairman of the NPC, is known for his and his father business magnate and founder and leader of NPC Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco, deep financial chest.
“This would be the most exciting election in the entire political history of the province. It would be a battle royale in Pangasinan for 2016 as Pogi Espino rides too in the political crest of his father,” a political kibitzer opined as the political tea pot brews for the Cojuangco-Espino incoming tiff.