By Mortz C. Ortigoza
URDANETA CITY – The mayor of this burgeoning city crowed that he was the only local chief executive in Luzon who attended the victory party of President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte.
“I, some department heads, and members of the Sangguniang (Panlungsod) went to Davao City last June 4,” stressed by Mayor Amadeo "Bobom" G.E. Perez IV.
He said he became a guest through the intercession of the native of this city former police General Isidro Lapena who is Duterte’s incoming Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief.
“We came from the same village sa Barangay San Vicente,” Perez quipped.
He said Urdanetans should be proud for the appointment of Lapena because PDEA will be in the forefront of Duterte’s war on the growing menace of drug peddlers.
Lapena had been assigned as a police officer for long years in Mindanao and Davao City, married a native there, and resided for good in the southern city.
Perez said he did not meet the feisty president elect at the Crocodile Park, the venue of the Party, but Lapena brought him to a bar, a nocturnal watering hole of Duterte, at one o’clock in the morning of June 5 to meet the mayor there.
“It was a bar where Japanese tourists and businessmen frequent,” he said.
He cited that he met two Pangasinenses in that club incoming National Security Adviser’s chief Hermogenes Esperon and former President Gloria Arroyo’s lawyer Raul Lambino.
He said Duterte knew him before because this city and Davao City inked a sisterhood agreement in one of the presidential sorties of the president - elect here early this year.
Perez, a friend of outgoing president Benigno Aquino III, had been reported to motor several times to Baguio City from here to visit the president at the government vacation Mansion House.
When then Urbiztondo Mayor Ernesto Balolong, an employee of Aquino in the middle of 1980s, was assassinated in June 8, 2014. Perez and the president were seen smoking cigarettes at a sari-sari store before the latter depart in his convoy of choppers to Manila.
Perez is the son of Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) chairman Amadeo R. Perez, Jr. and brother-in-law of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Chairman and CEO Cristino L. Naguiat, Jr.