Lauds his No -Take Stance on Jueteng and Projects' Cut
By MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA
SISON, Pangasinan – Have you heard about Members of Congress soiling their hands with cuts from illegal number game’s jueteng and funds for government projects implemented by private contractors?
De facto Philippines' Ambassador to Taiwan Amadito Perez, Jr. said that when Mark Cojuangco was still a three-term congressman, he did not taint his office with proceeds from jueteng and S.O.P (euphemism for cut) by conspiring with private contractors who implement government projects in the eight towns and one city’s 5th Congressional District of Pangasinan.
Speaking last October 6 at the birthday bash of Cojuangco, an aspirant for the governorship of the humongous province Pangasinan, held in his cloud-kissed residence here, Perez has all praises for the former solon.
“Noong panahon ng teng-jue (jueteng) hindi tumatangap si Mark iyong para sa mga congressmen binibigay sa kanya, hindi ko na sasabihin kung sino ang nagbibigay tinatangihan niya. Magbigay ng kontrata sa mga contractors bibigyan siya pero “huwag na, huwag na! Hindi ko na kailangan iyan idagdag ninyo na lang doon sa project” (he said).Ganyan siya”.
A source who asked anonymity said that the hands off stance to shenanigans like these by Cojuangco has been continued without fan fare by his wife Kimi - the incumbent congresswoman of the district.
(When Kimi was the mayor of this town, many police officials shunned to be assigned here because a chief of police was not a weekly recipient of proceeds from jueteng - thanks to the mayor's illegal gambling -free policy. – AUTHOR)
“The Cojuangcos are very strict about the implementation of government projects. They do not like that contractors and the officials of the Department of Public Works & Highway allow roots of trees to remain underneath the pavements before they started cementing the highway. These roots would become ampaw (hollow) and would destroy the cement in the near future”.
Known for his knack on quality and details, he has been oft repeatedly heard with his favorite expression “Hindi na puwede ang puwede na”.
National Irrigation Administration Region-1 Manager John Celeste attested years ago to the incorruptibility of the Cojuangcos when he told this paper that they did not ask for an “S.O.P”.
When asked for her comment on Celeste’s declaration, a Pangasinan congresswoman quipped: “ E alam mo naman na mayaman na sila Kimi and Mark”.
His father Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco is not only the founder and chairman emeritus of the monolith Nationalist People’s Coalition but one of the wealthiest men in the Philippines and the former chairman of San Miguel Corporation, the largest food and beverage corporation in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, and the top honcho and founder of Northern Cement Corporation here.
Many congressmen particularly have been known to pocket cuts from private contractors, who consequently constructed sloppy works because of their reduced earning, and regular recipients of jueteng.
“When we were in Congress a colleague (congressman) would follow us at the toilet and insert a folded envelop with oodles of money inside that came from Jueteng Lords in our back pocket and warned us incase we refused it he would bet all the sums to the casinos,” a former congressman, who asked anonymity, told Northern Watch.
Perez said that Cojuangco will be an exceptional governor of Pangasinan.
“At sino pa ang makakapag sabi sa inyo na he will not make a good official for an honest to goodness public servant na may bahid ng corruption ang kanyang pag-upo manilbihan bilang gobernador ng Pangasinan?, the former congressman and Mayor of Urdaneta City, posed”.
He said he was responsible for persuading Cojuangco to announce to the media last February his intention for the top elective post in the province.
“Last year about November, nag-usap kami ni Kimi sabi niya tito kausapin mo nga si Mark dahil ayaw kumandidatong gobernador. I was insisting to the family that he runs for governor”.
He cajoled the three term solon by reminding him that he made a significant face lift of the 1/6th part of Pangasinan when he brought and interceded with the powers- that- be in Imperial Manila huge amount of government projects there.
|Rep. Kimi Cojuangco in an animated conversation with the members|
of the press.
“E minahal mo na rin ang Pangasinan pagsilbihan mo na ang lahat ng mga taga-Pangasinan,” he concluded his narration how he persuaded Cojuangco to throw his hat on the gubernatorial derby of Pangasinan for the 2016 election.