Thursday, February 28, 2013

Son tags Miano as behind Mayor Pa's murder

Martinez son  Marvin (Extreme Left) fingered
 Pa's political rival for murder. Marvin and Miano run for
the vice mayoralty race of Infanta town.
Mayor Martinez: Dead

Marvin Martinez, son of slain Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez, firmly declared during a presscon with local media held February 28 at Consuelo Hotel in Lingayen that “Atty. Florante A. Miano, a political rival of his father, has the motive in his father’s killing.” “Ang mga ebidensya namin against Atty. Miano ay ang mga sinasabi nya nuon, mga bilin ni ama nuong buhay pa siya at merong pa kaming mga matibay na ebidenysa na hawak,” son of slain Mayor said. After the killing of Martinez, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) – Dagupan City had an investigation where Martinez family named Atty. Miano as suspect, Marvin said. However, we were surprised with the investigation of NBI – Manila which named Gov. Amado T. Espino Jr. and first district Congressman Jesus Celeste as suspects to the killing, excluding Atty. Miano, Marvin said. No follow up investigation to the incident was done by NBI – Manila after Gov. Espino and Cong. Celeste were named as brains to the murder, Marvin averred. “Nakipag-appointment kami kay Gov. Espino kanina para sabihin na hindi kami naniniwala na sya ay may kagagawan sa pagpatay sa aming ama,” Marvin said, as he expressed disbelief over the investigation of NBI - Manila which linked Gov. Espino and Cong. Celeste as masterminds to the murder. The Martinez family said that the accusation hurled against Gov. Espino and Cong. Celeste is impossible because they are close political allies of the slain mayor. Councilor of Infanta town Rizalde Jimenez Bernal, a close friend of the ill-fated Mayor who stands as among the witnesses that Miano kept on sending death threats to Martinez’s life, said it is clear that “politics and the operation of pier which had been opposed by Miano were his motives for the killing.” Further, Bernal bared that on the eve of the incident around 7:25-7:30 on December 14, 2012, the Mayor called on him and said if anything happens to me “wala nang ibang gagawa kundi si Atty. Miano,” even as he reported such incident to the Infanta police the night after the mayor was killed. “Malinaw na sya (Atty. Miano) ang tumutuligsa sa operasyon ng pagtatayo ng pier at sya lang ang alam naming suspect,” young Martinez said, noting that “sya lang talaga ang may motibo para gawin ‘yun sa aming ama.” “Thankful kami kay Gov. Espino at Congressman Celeste na sila po ang tunay na tumutulong sa kasong ito at sana huwag nang gamitin ang pagkamatay ni tatay sa pulitika,”Jennifer Martinez, Daughter-In-Law of late Mayor Martinez disclosed. Crisanta Martinez, wife of the slain Mayor was also present during the presscon. Miano who is running for the vice mayoralty seat in Infanta town now faces murder raps filed by Martinez brothers (Marvin and Richard) on February 25 before the Provincial Prosecution Office in Alaminos City. – Arian Bermas

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


BY MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA A perennial loser in countless electoral exercises in the fourth congressional district told me before that if he wins as provincial board member he will pocket some of the almost P900 thousand social funds given to a board member every quarter of the year. Not only that, he said he will get a percentage too, every time a supplemental budget is deliberated in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Son of a gun, this is the reason why this country could not be at par with our rich Asian neighbour countries. Kahit ang laos na kandidato, nagpa-plano na kung paano nanakawin ang pera ng kaban ng bayan. Mas mabuti pa si perennial candidate to the provincial board Ed Gonzales, a wannabe media man. When he threatened me that he will not allow me to enter his office at the Capitol in case he wins this May election because of my belittling his capability to win a board seat, and my rebuff that he was just wasting his time (he got no money) ingratiating with voters in the 3rd congressional district to vote for him, I just took it with grain of salt. Ed was just smarting on me. But that bet in the 4th congressional distinct should be vigorously denounced. He is a clear and present danger to our society. Matakew!
 Officials of the Department of Public, Works & Highway in charged of the construction of the Villamil Bridge in Calasiao, Pangasinan are bunch of idiots. DPWH central office ordered them to tear the wall they approved for a private contractor to build that almost cover the façade of the houses that overlook the public market. The houses are built on the river bank near the bridge. Protestor Domingo Ayudante, Jr.” told the personnel of the DPWH based in Sta. Barbara , Pangasinan ( that came to his office) that they are stupid because of their stupid project that covers his “mansion.” Ayudante wrote Secretary Roger Singson about the under siege project. The concrete wall he said has no connection whatsoever to the bridge that is being constructed in a turtle pace. “They just want to get hefty commission from the private contractor.” Even Vice Mayor Roy Macanlalay of Calasiao told me that the wall would be torn off. ” Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”I mimicked former President Ronald Reagan in Berlin, Germany in the Cold War after Vice Mayor told me about the tearing off. Can you imagine the government monies that were lost because of this shenanigan? These DPWH personnel should be sacked from the service.
Talking about sacking, when I dropped by recently at the regional office of the DPWH in San Fernando, La Union a source there told me that my column exposing a stolen government property being peddled by personnel at the district office cost the position of a district engineer – the boss in that office. He was investigated by the NBI after a complainant filed a complaint here using my column as one of the evidences. (You can read my selected columns at and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at

Two Mangaldan dep’t heads fired, face estafa cases

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

MANGALDAN – Mayor Bernabe Abalos sacked two department heads of the local government who also face an estafa case after they allegedly swindled a lending institution.
Abalos said Evelyn Bernabe ,municipal accountant, and Helen Aquino, head of Municipal Human Resources Management Office, were sued with criminal swindling (estafa) case after they misrepresented more than 60 employees of the municipal government, using bogus names for some of them, in obtaining loans from Villasis Prime Lending Corporation. Abalos said there is also an impending case after the duo misrepresented their positions when they transacted with a lending institution in Olongapo City.
In a press conference, Abalos said he implemented the recommendation of the Investigating Committee formed by the late Mayor Herminio Romero under Executive Order No. 2012-47 dated September 27, 2012, as amended by Executive Order No. 2012-51 dated October 16, 2012. He said Bernabe and Aquino have been dismissed because of “serious dishonesty, grave misconduct, falsification of official documents, soliciting or accepting directly or Indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or anything of monetary value which in the course of his/her Official Duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by or any transaction which maybe affected by the functions of his/her Office and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.”
 The investigating committee is headed by Fernando Cabrera whose members were lawyer Vicente Orap and Engineer Felipe Cera, Jr. Aquino however, said in a text message to the media said the dismissal was not yet final and executory thus she and Bernabe will appeal the dismissal to the Civil Service Commission. Meanwhile, Abalos said the payroll scam worth eight million of pesos where Aquino, Bernabe, Treasurer Susana P. Bauzon, and Assistant Treasurer Marielyn D. Gonzales have been allegedly been involved have been filed with the Ombudsman, Regional Trial Court, and the Civil Service Commission.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

8,000 Delegates join R1AA in Pangasinan

LINGAYEN—Some 8, 000 participants from the various schools division in Region I will see action as another season for the Region I Athletic Association (RIAA) Meet began during its opening last February 24 at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center here. The 2013 RIAA which will be held until March 2 is hosted by the Division of Pangasinan I in cooperation with the provincial government of Pangasinan. Department of Education Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali told the athletes to play their games well in order to achieve success as he reminded all athletes to put in mind the importance of discipline like team focus. Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. on the other hand, stressed the importance of sportsmanship and discipline as he welcomed the young athletes and other visitors to the province. The governor also urged the athletes especially those from Pangasinan to give their best shot as he wished that “sana isa sa atin dito sa Pangasinan o sa Region I ang magdala pa ng mas mataas na karangalan at makakuha ng mga medalya sa mas mataas na lebel ng kompetisyon.” It will be recalled that in 2011 Pangasinan performed a victorious win grabbing the championship from Ilocos Norte who held the top position for several years. However, in 2012 Ilocos Norte regained the championship. The more than 8, 000 participants include athletes from the elementary and secondary schools including their coaches, trainers, technical officials and chaperones coming from the 14 schools divisions in Region I. The athletes will see action in various sporting events such as athletics, gymnastics, sipa, sepak takraw, baseball, softball, badminton, table tennis, archery, swimming, boxing, arnis, and chess. As this developed, the provincial government saw to it that preparations for the venue and sports facilities are well taken care of to ensure the successful conduct of the athletic competition. In line with the conduct of the various games at the Narciso sports complex, the province has fielded health personnel to secure the safety of the athletes in cases of accidents or other related problems. Security officers were also assigned at the billeting areas also, to ensure the safety of the athletes and participants. (PIO/Angeline D. Villanueva)

Aquino in, Enrile out of 'Magic 12'


MANILA, Philippines (Update) - The surveys are moving like crazy.
 In the latest survey of Social Weather Stations reported by BusinessWorld, Team PNoy candidates gained points and walloped United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) candidates who suffered big losses.
 Team PNoy senatorial bet Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV made it to the Magic 12. He ranked 9-10 with 42% of survey respondents saying they will vote for him.
 This is the first time that President Aquino's cousin made it to the Magic 12. He climbed 8 survey points from 34% in the January survey where he ranked 15th.
 He acknowledged that sharing President Aquino's last name helped, but he attributed the rise to his volunteers.
 The survey was conducted from February 15-17 or after the proclamation rallies on February 12.
 Enrile, Honasan big losers

A big loser in the survey is United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) candidate Cagayan Rep Jack Enrile, son of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
 He fell to rank 13 with 38% survey rating. This is a slide from his 46% rating in the January survey where he ranked 8-9. Although Enrile ranked 13, he is statistically tied with 11-12 placers former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri and Aurora Rep Sonny Angara who registered 39% survey ratings.
 Angara attributed the improvement of ratings of Team PNoy candidates to President Aquino. "We are very gratified with the people's show of support for our group. It is a clear sign of the widespread support and clamor for PNoy's reforms," he said.
 The biggest loser is Senator Gringo Honasan who dropped an overwhelming 14 points, although it is not as suprising because his slide was captured in the last Pulse Asia survey where he ranked 12th. From Rank 5-6 in the January SWS survey, Honasan dropped to Rank 15.
 Replacing him in the Magic 12 is Aurora Rep Sonny Angara.
 9-3 in favor of Team PNoy

 Re-electionist senators Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, and Alan Peter Cayetano - all from Team PNoy - remain the survey leaders although their ratings did not improve. They are followed by Cynthia Villar (Team PNoy), Grace Poe (Team PNoy), Koko Pimentel (Team PNoy), Nancy Binay (UNA), Sonny Trillanes (Team PNoy), JV Ejercito (UNA), Bam Aquino (Team PNoy), Sonny Angara (Team PNoy), and Migz Zubiri (UNA). Based on their rankings, it is 9-3 in favor of Team PNoy. UNA has junked its adopted candidates survey leaders Legarda, Escudero, and Poe.
 Jamby also big gainer 

 The 3 other Team PNoy candidates out of the Magic 12 are former Senator Jamby Madrigal (Rank 14), former Senator Ramon "Jun" Magsaysay Jr (Rank 16), and former Akbayan Rep Risa Hontiveros (Rank 18). Madrigal is also a big gainer from Team PNoy. She also climbed 8 points from 28% in January to 36% in February. It's not enough to catch up with the Magic 12 but she is close at Rank 14, following Enrile.
 The other gainers from Team PNoy are Villar (7 points), Poe (3 points), and Trillanes (1 point). Ranking 13-22 are Enrile (UNA), former senator Jamby Madrigal (Team PNoy), Senator Gringo Honasan (UNA), former Senator Ramon "Jun" Magsaysay Jr (Team PNoy), former Senator Richard Gordon (UNA), former Akbayan Rep Risa Hontiveros (Team PNoy), former Senator Ernesto Maceda (UNA), Tingting Cojuangco (UNA), evangelist Eddie Villanueva (Independent), and Zambales Rep Mitos Magsaysay (UNA).
 UNA bets suffer

 From UNA, only Nancy Binay - daughter of Vice President Binay - enjoyed an improvement in her ratings. She jumped 4 points from 43% in January to 47% in the February survey. She is now the highest ranking UNA candidate. Aside from Enrile and Honasan, big losers from UNA are San Juan Rep JV Ejercito who lost 9 points and Zubiri who lost 8 points. Both remain in the Magic 12. Outside the Magic 12, UNA candidates former Senator Richard Gordon lost 5 points while former Senator Ernesto Maceda lost 10 points. -

Shahani: ‘Braganza, a general problem’

Gubernatorial bet Braganza
Estrange cousin Board Member Shahani

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan - Sixth district re-electionist Board Member Ranjit Shahani warned the local electorates Monday that his cousin, Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza, may raise the “red flag” at the provincial capitol should he win the gubernatorial race in the forthcoming May elections. Speaking before capitol employees during the flag-raising ceremony that coincided with the 27th anniversary celebration of the people power-backed military uprising, now known as “EDSA Revolution,” on February 25, Shahani declared Braganza will be a “general problem.” “Although sometimes we have some differences of opinion with the Governor, I salute him as a police colonel who retired with the rank of general, who is now serving as the Governor General of Pangasinan and Commander-In-Chief of the Republic of Pangasinan,” the nephew of former Pres. Fidel Ramos said. “Hindi yung kamag-anak ko ang kandidato ko, kundi yung tunay na Ama ng lalawigan ng Pangasinan, si Gov. Espino,” Shahani proclaimed in his speech. He stressed that “if Filipinos are to prosper, good citizenship must count for more than ties of blood, kinship and private interest.” Noting that the governor has provided first-rate services to the people, Shahani said “Braganza is having illusion that he can snatch the Urduja House and hold the most powerful office in the province of Pangasinan .” “Masama if you’re on the wrong side of history and it’s always good to be on the right side of history because Gov. Espino has concretized the destiny of Pangasinan which is to be -- as it is now -- number one in the Philippines ,” he said. Recalling what he described as “the immortal ideology” of Ninoy Aquino who said “the Filipinos are worth dying for,” Shahani drew parallelism on the libertarian advocacy of “FVR (Fidel Valdez Ramos) and ATE (Amado T. Espino) who have said that the Filipino with more reason is worth living for, in a peaceful and democratic process.”, “The governor is not here now because he is in Manila together with the former president to attend the 27th anniversary of the People Power Revolution,” the outspoken Board Member said. Shahani recounted how the governor, then Metropolitan District Commander based in Angeles City , Pampanga, and “ally of the EDSA group of FVR, Enrile and RAM, Gringo Honasan and Cardinal Sin,” contained the throng of Marcos loyalists from the Ilocos heading to Manila to reinforce the military forces of then President Marcos during the last few days of the Marcos regime. “Filipinos must not forget the essence of EDSA 1 which the Philippines conserves as a model for other developing nations,” Shahani said, quoting his uncle, the former president. “Ang pagtatapos ng continued revolution sa EDSA ay hindi po yung pagtumba ng diktadurya at magkaroon ng kalayaan; kailangan po magkaroon ng progreso ang bawat Pilipino,” he asserted, adding that “ Sana maging kapatas-patas tayo so we’ll have a nation under God where all Filipinos and Pangasinenses are equal.” Although, a member of the Liberal party which is fielding Braganza as its gubernatorial bet in the coming local elections, Shahani affirmed that “Gov. Espino is the Best Governor in the history of Pangasinan.” “With the Espino administration till 2016, we’ll be closer to realizing the Golden Age of Pangasinan, and the final victory of EDSA 1 here in the heartland of Luzon,” Shahani said.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Villar leaps again in No. 4 poll

DAGUPAN CITY – Senatorial bet Cynthia Villar regained lost grounds in the past survey when she eclipsed other senatorial hopefuls in a poll by the Social Weather Station that was released recently by broadsheet Business World. According to the pollster the survey last February 15 to 17 this year conducted after the candidates were proclaimed on February 12, made Villar bounced backed to her former No. 4 saddle in December last year from the No. 8-9 notched in the SWS poll last January. The top three spots, meanwhile, continued to be held by reelectionist senators Loren B. Legarda of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), Francis Joseph "Chiz" G. Escudero (independent) and Alan Peter C. Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party-PNoy. Ms. Legarda and Mr. Escudero, as well as former censors board Chief Grace Poe-Llamanzares. Ms. Llamanzares, who was the surprise gainer in the last survey, improved to 5th-6th from 10th-11th. Tied with Ms. Poe for 5th-6th was Senator Aquilino Martin "Koko" D. Pimentel III (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan-PNoy), who was the only candidate in the "Magic 12," aside from the top three, who kept his ranking from last month. Seventh place, as earlier mentioned, went to Ms. Binay, who was followed by reelectionist Sen. Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV (NP-PNoy) who rose to 8th place from 10th-11th last month. In joint 9th-10th were San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito (UNA), son of former president Joseph E. Estrada, and Mr. Aquino (LP-PNoy). The February result is the lowest rank so far for Mr. Ejercito, who was 4th in January, and the highest for Mr. Aquino, who was 15th last month and 17th in two earlier surveys. Sharing 11th-12th places, meanwhile, were Mr. Angara of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino-PNoy and former senator Juan Miguel "Migz" F. Zubiri (UNA). Mr. Angara, who was 5th-7th in August 2012, was 13th in the January 2013 survey where Mr. Zubiri placed 7th. Villar was one of the most aggressive candidates in terms of using the television, radio, newspaper, and social media like Face Book to deliver their respective advocacies before the start of the February 12 to May 11, 2013 campaign period for senatorial candidates where they were not yet limited by the Commission on Election to convey their political advertisement. In the vote rich Pangasinan province alone, she has been barnstorming the province with utmost regularity with Villar commuting in a helicopter to hop from one of the 48 cities and towns strong Pangasinan to another. In his January 2013 husting in Pangasinan and before the January 19- 2013 SWS poll where he declined significantly, an unfazed Enrile commented on his fall from No. 4to No. 8-9 in the SWS in December last year. In her recent interview with ABS-CBN reporter Karen Avilla, Villar said her stocks in the survey have been very close to her rivals. “We were close to each other from 4 to 9 (notches), one percent, half percent. The race is too tight within the 12 candidates,” she stressed. She explained that the key in winning in the senatorial derby is how to deliver the right message to the people likejobs, livelihood and President Benigno Aquino III’s straight path. In her last visit at a fiesta in Binmaley, Pangasinan, Villar said her 20 year old Villar Foundation has been training and providing livelihood for the indigents in the towns of Santa Barbara, Malasiqui, Calasiao, and San Fabian to make water lily stalks into basket and furniture. She gives sacks of organic fertilizer too to farmers in Pangasinan. “ Santa Barbara, Malasiqui, and Calasiao have common river with water lilies. We will train them to make water lilies into basket, furniture, to remove the water lily in the river because it could be the source of the flooding there,” Villar, who was the crowning guest in a coronation night of the fiesta queen in capital town Lingayen told me (By Mortz C. Ortigoza).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rosario Hits Sales and Amador on Tarps

Ming Rosario

Angie and Nap Sales

MANAOAG – A mayoralty bet here deplored the scandalous tarpaulin wars here between Mayor Napoleon Sales and Vice Mayor Kim Amador. Mayoralty candidate and current Board Member Jeremy Agerico Rosario explained the actuation of the duo has been a bad taste in the mouth of people here seeing them out staging each other on the number of self serving tarpaulins where each of them getting credits to the government projects being implemented here in the past. “Kanya-kanyang pa pogi kanya kanyang tarpaulin, nag aaway na sila sa tarpaulin blaming the other side of getting credits to ones projects, etc. Pero at the end of the day lahat po iyan pag-aari ng gobierno”. He said Sales and Amador should have showed the projects to the people here a long time ago and not before the coming of election in May this year. The Board Member cited how Amador changed his canvass and refuted Sales who announced on his tarpaulins that he was responsible for the many government projects here. Amador, Rosario said, has the temerity to write details on his newly posted tarpaulins how he was able to get the funds from Manila through the helped of his sister Claire who is an undersecretary at the Department of Budget of Management. Rosario said that he gave a lot of projects in this town during his more than five year stint as board member but did not crow them to the people unlike his two opponents. “Sa limang taon bilang board member kung ano ano ang nagawa ko dito sa kapitolyo bilang presiding officer pro tempore. Bilang chairman ay tumutulong na ako lalo na sa health (as physician he was the chairman of the Committee on Health) na talagang prioridad ni Governor Amado T. Espino sa edukasyon at talagang prioridad ng administasyong Espino”. He said voters here should look at the bigger picture that he already implemented a lot of projects in this pilgrimage town without hypes and fan fares. Meanwhile, Rosario said that three of them who vie for the mayoralty in this year’s poll support the candidacy of congressional candidate Gina de Venecia who is likewise allied with them. De Venecia is running against Celia Lim who is the wife of Dagupan City Mayor Benjie S. Lim. Board Member Jeremy Agerico Rosario said that this town is a free zone where de Venecia supports nobody of them for their quest for the top political office here. “Talagang free zone ang Manaoag dahil lahat po kami especially my family matagal na ang panahon na hindi kami bumitaw sa paniniwala sa leadership ni Speaker JDV at Manay Gina,” Rosario stressed. He is poised against Angie Sales, the wife of exiting mayor here Napoleon Sales, and Vice Mayor Kim Amador. “Mapalad po kami dahil sa panahon na nakita namin si Speaker (de Venecia) with many projects. Obviously, talagang marami noon at marami ngayon at patuloy pa ang ginagawa ng mag-aswang Joe de Venecia” (MCO).

1,734 P'nses Get P20,000 each support

Technical Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) Director-General Joel Villanueva (4th from left) and Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. (3rd from left) lead the distribution of scholarship assistance to some 1,734 Pangasinenses worth P20,000 each as part of the Cash for Training Project (C4TP) of TESDA and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).  The Governor thanked the national government for such project that supports his jobs and employment thrust.  Joining the Governor are (from left) Cong. Leopoldo Bataoil and Vice Gov. Jose Ferdinand Z. Calimlim, Jr.  (PIO Photo by Meinard Sadim)

CAYETANO PiTiK: Presyo Trabaho, Kita

STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER . Senator Alan and Mayor Lani Cayetano on Saturday shared with strawberry farmers why Baguio is so special to them: they fell in love and got married there nine years ago. Aside from the strawberries and the Panagbenga Festival, this, they said, is what makes this trip extra special. They are celebrating their anniversary on March 22. 

"I wish the life of our farmers could be as sweet as strawberries." This was the message today of Senator Alan Cayetano as he attended the Panagbenga Festivities in Baguio. The senator joined thousands of locals and tourists in witnessing the Panagbenga parade along Session Road after touring La Trinidad, Benguet yesterday. Cayetano and wife Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano toured the city where they fell in love and got married nine years ago. "Baguio is very special to us and we'd like to see a resurgence of Baguio's glory days," Cayetano said. "But more than this, we want Baguio to be developed as a main destination not just for local tourists but also for foreigners, especially the less known sites with a lot of potential such as strawberry fields," he added. Cayetano was especially moved by the concerns of strawberry farmers. "There has to be a program that will encourage tourists to stop by here. Wala pa akong nakilalang nagpunta sa strawberry fields na hindi nag-enjoy (I don't know anyone who has not enjoyed visiting the strawberry fields)," Cayetano pointed out. The couple visited farmers at strawberry fields of La Trinidad, Benguet yesterday, who shared that they earn only an average of Php200 pesos per day, far less than what factory workers in the province receive. Neither do most of them receive benefits from Philhealth. "The City of Baguio makes Php500,000 per day, mostly from tourists. If La Trinidad which is just 25 minutes away, could achieve the same numbers, we will see a great improvement in the lives of our farmers," Cayetano said, proposing a decrease in VAT on oil as a first step to helping the agricultural industry. He cited how transport of goods like fruits and vegetables from the mountains of Benguet to the markets of Baguio and eventually to Manila becomes a burden to poor farmers and traders given the increasing transportation cost of these agricultural products. "Unless we find ways to assist our local industries by helping them gain access to capital and lessen major expenses for businesses such as transportation costs, their lives will continue in the irony of planting something sweet but not experiencing the sweet life," Cayetano said.


Vice Gubernatorial wannabe Lomibao  (Extreme Left) and  Gubernatorial bet Braganza interviewed by the media

The Liberal Party in Pangasinan today asked Gov. Amado Espino to prepare a solid legal defense rather than blame his political rivals for the series of criminal charges filed against him in connection with his alleged involvement in murder and jueteng operations. “The charges against Gov. Espino are serious and may land him in jail if found guilty. He better prepare a solid legal defense or he may find himself behind bars,” said LP spokesman and former Pangasinan Vice Governor Oscar Lambino . Atty. Bodie Pulido, the LP's congressional candidate for Pangasinan's First District, advised Gov. Espino to hire a better lawyer who spends more time in keeping clients out of jail than in holding expensive press conferences just to look good before the media. “The governor should be man enough to face the charges. He should stop blaming politics or his political rivals for the crimes attributed to him,” he added. Pulido noted that it has become a habit for Gov. Espino to blame politics every time law enforcement agencies close in on him and find merits to file charges for crimes he allegedly committed while in office. “The good governor is getting predictable. Every time law enforcers charge him for his sins of the past, his stooges hold a press conference the following day and blame politics for the court cases,” Pulido said. “Worse, instead of defending the governor in court, his lawyers immediately scout for false witnesses to file trumped-up counter-charges against his gubernatorial rival,” he pointed out. Last week, the National Bureau of the Investigation (NBI) filed a murder case against Gov. Espino, Rep. Jesus “Boying” Celeste and newspaper publisher Jaime Aquino after a witness tagged them as masterminds in the killing of their partymate Mayor Ruperto Martinez of Infanta last December (PANGASINAN MUNA).


CAMP BGEN OSCAR M FLORENDO – In line with the directives of PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima for more peace covenants yesterday (Feb 22), Police Chief Superintendent Ricardo C. Marquez, Police Regional Office 1 director announces today (Feb 23) that almost all of the municipalities of La Union has already conducted peace covenants, aside from the other three provinces of Region 1. “We are glad of the commitment shown by the candidates by being present and affixing their signature during peace covenants, where they can show advocacy to non-violent means of campaigning, and we expect more to come.” added the Regional Director. PCSupt. Marquez underscored the significance of the covenant signing as it complements the police operations being conducted to ensure secure and fair elections in the whole region. The police-initiated activity was witnessed by chiefs of police, religious sectors, Comelec officials, supporters of the candidates, barangay officials, non-government organizations, and others in the towns of Sto. Tomas, Burgos, Bauang, Santol, Agoo, Aringay, Bangar, and in the city of San Fernando, La Union. Police Senior Superintendent Reynaldo G. Biay, Regional Special Operations Task Group (RSOTG) Commander for La Union and Battalion Commander of the Regional Public Safety Battalion 1 (RPSB1) has lined up more peace covenant signing and other SAFE-related activities in other municipalities of La Union. Since the start of the election period, various events have already been initiated by PRO1 aside from peace covenants such as walk for peace, bike for SAFE, and other peace rallies, among others. With the recent developments, residents are guaranteed peace by local candidates vying for various positions in this province which is one of the fifteen (15) election priority areas. Additionally, in the past two months, the number of shooting incidents in the whole region significantly dropped. Meanwhile, a recollection spearheaded by Fr. Leo Nedic, chairman of the TIGNAY (Ti Gimong nga Aggunay, Gimong nga Agbantay) movement was held here today (February 23) at Concord building. Among the attendees were PSSupt. Reynaldo G. Biay and his staff, and Chiefs of Police of La Union Police Provincial Office (LUPPO) under PSSupt. Ramon L. Rafael. They were also joined by Comelec officials, religious leaders, and other stakeholders in order to sustain their strong advocacy for peace this coming elections.

Villar, Enrile Up in New Poll

Misis Hanepbuhay Cynthia Villar receives a warm welcome from students and coaches during the MIMAROPA Regional Athletic Association Meet held in Romblon, Romblon recently. Villar commended the students' determination in representing their provinces in different sports competition.

 By Mortz C. Ortigoza

 DAGUPAN CITY – Senatorial bets Cynthia Villar and Jack Enrile regained lost grounds in the past survey when it eclipsed other senatorial hopefuls in a poll by Stratpolls that was released recently by broadsheet Business Mirror. According to the pollster the survey last February 4 to 12 this year made the duo tied on numbers 7 -8 from the previous notches of 8-9 where they both tied in the January 17 to 19, 2013 survey of the Social Weather Station.
StratPolls enumerated the following senatorial candidates on its latest poll: No. 1 was Sen. Loren Legarda with 83 percent, No. 2 Sen. Chiz Escudero 79 percent, No. 3 Sen. Koko Pimentel 77 percent, No. 4 Rep. Sonny Angara 73 percent, No. 5 Rep. JV Ejercito 70 percent, No. 6 Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano 67 percent, No. 7-8 are Rep. Enrile and former Rep. Villar with 59 percent apiece, No. 9 Sen. Gregorio Honasan 57 percent, No. 10 Rep. Nancy Binay with 55 percent, No. 11 former Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri 53 percent and No. 12 Sen. Antonio Trillanes 52 percent.
 With a margin of error of positive and negative 3.5 percent and a confidence level of 98% from the 300 randomly selected respondents ages 18 years old and above drawn from the mostly middle class families in the National Capital Region who were asked in February 4 to 12, 2013 the following question:
" Kung bukas na po ang eleksyon sa pagka-Senador ng Pilipinas, sinu-sino po ang inyong iboboto? Magbanggit nga po kayo ng labin-dalawang mga kandidato sa pagka-Senador na inyong natatandaan. [Upon respondent’s request, a list of 33candidates from the major political parties are read out.]."
 Villar and Enrile were one of the most aggressive candidates in terms of using the television, radio, newspaper, and social media like Face Book to deliver their respective advocacies before the start of the February 12 to May 11, 2013 campaign period for senatorial candidates where they were not yet limited by the Commission on Election to convey their political advertisement.
 In the vote rich Pangasinan province alone, the duo have been barnstorming the province with utmost regularity with Villar commuting in a helicopter to hop from one of the 48 cities and towns strong Pangasinan to another. In his January 2013 husting in Pangasinan and before the January 19- 2013 SWS poll where he declined significantly, an unfazed Enrile commented on his fall from No. 4 to No. 7 in the SWS/ in December last year. ““You can never pin point any measure or any reason as an uptake or downfall. Ganyan talaga boss ang politika. Minsan may awareness ang tao sa iyo, minsan walang awareness ang tao sa iyo”. “Dahil mas aggressive iyong iba sa kanilang TV advocacy, mas magaganda ang kanilang media plan. Nakikilala sila ngayon so mas nagiging top of line iyong kanilang mga pangalan,” he stressed.
 He said he was not bothered about the declines of his rating. “I never expected to be this high anyway. Nag-uumpisa po tayo sa No. 8 noong December 2011 umakyat tayo after ng impeachment during (Chief Justice) Renato Corona sa No. 4. Obviously, may name recall pa noong panahon na iyon dahil tatay ko iyong presiding officer. Siguro akyat-baba iyan”. He explained that his Numbers 4 to popularity declined in December was a Goldilocks’ area. “Kasi sa nakikita po natin pag masyadong ka namang mataas binabatikos ka naman. Kung masyado ka namang mababa mukhang kinakabahan ka. kumportable tayo kung saan tayo boss, happy naman tayo”.
 In her recent interview with ABS-CBN reporter Karen Avilla, Villar said her stocks in the survey has been very close to her rivals. “We were close to each other from 4 to 9 (notches), one percent, half percent. The race is too tight within the 12 candidates,” she stressed.
She explained that the key in winning in the senatorial derby is how to deliver the right message to the people like jobs, livelihood and President Benigno Aquino III’s straight path. In her last visit at a fiesta in Binmaley, Pangasinan, Villar said her 20 year old Villar Foundation has been training and providing livelihood for the indigents in the towns of Santa Barbara, Malasiqui, Calasiao, and San Fabian to make water lily stalks into basket and furniture. She gives sacks of organic fertilizer too to farmers in Pangasinan. “
 Santa Barbara, Malasiqui, and Calasiao have common river with water lilies. We will train them to make water lilies into basket, furniture, to remove the water lily in the river because it could be the source of the flooding there,” Villar, who was the crowning guest in a coronation night of the fiesta queen in capital town Lingayen told me.

Legarda Hails Declaration of Paredes House in Abra as Historical Site

Senator Loren Legarda hailed the declaration of the residence of Don Quintin Paredes in Abra as a national historical site, conferred by virtue of Adopted Senate Resolution 136. “Today, the National Historical Institute has unveiled the historical marker ‘Quintin Paredes’ at the ancestral house of Paredes in Bangued, Abra. This move is only fitting to honor a great and distinguished man who lived his life in the service of the Filipino people. We pay tribute to this great statesman as we ensure that his life, especially as a public servant, will be forever part of Philippine history,” said Legarda, author of the Senate resolution that urged the declaration of Don Quintin’s birthplace as a national historical site. Legarda remarked that from his humble beginnings in Bangued, Abra, Don Quintin went on to hold many important government positions such as Manila City Fiscal, Attorney General, Secretary of Justice, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Senate President Pro-Tempore, and later, Senate President. He was also a member of the parliamentary mission to the United States in 1919. “Don Quintin authored the Magna Carta for Labor while never giving up on his advocacy in promoting vocational courses in education. He also contributed to the review of the provisions of the Revised Penal Code as a member of the Code Commission. But more than his exemplary service as a lawyer and legislator, Don Quintin championed the cause for civil liberties,” she detailed. “Even after he retired from public service at the age of 79 in 1963, he continued to be a defender of rights through his practice of law. Don Quintin's life is a life from which we can draw inspiration as he exemplifies hard work and belief in the importance of every individual,” Legarda concluded.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

PNoy underlings picking on Pangasinan – Cojuangco

NPC-Pangasinan big boss Cojuangco (Extreme Left) with
Pangasinan Governor Espino


 MANILA, Philippines -- What coalition?
 As far as the province of Pangasinan is concerned, there is no partnership between President Benigno Aquino III's Liberal Party (LP) and his uncle Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr's Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC).
 This is the sentiment of former congressman Mark Cojuangco -- the President's cousin and the NPC founder's son -- who believes that it is not the President but his "underlings" in the LP who are involved in the machinations against NPC's local candidates. He is chair of NPC in Pangasinan. "As far as the local LP is concerned, we are the enemy," he told Rappler in an interview on Wednesday, February 20. Cojuangco made headlines when he said Tuesday that the NPC would naturally be supporting its members and honorary members who are running for senator regardless of the slate they belong to.
 He said that since there are already 5 of them -- Team PNoy's Loren Legarda and Chiz Escudero, UNA's Jack Enrile and Ernesto Maceda, and independent Ed Hagedorn -- and there are only 7 remaining slots, some of the administration's candidates will inevitably be excluded from the NPC sample ballots. He went on to discuss the rivalry between LP and NPC in Pangasinan.
 He said these comments were "hyped" and "taken out of context" in news reports as the NPC supposedly breaking off from the ruling coalition. Cojuangco maintained that the coalition at the national level, which the NPC national leadership decides, is intact. "I'm only speaking about Pangasinan, where I'm the party chair, my area of responsibility."
 But he also stressed that the President should be differentiated from the LP, that it is the President that the NPC is supportive of. Dirty tricks Refusing to give names, Cojuangco said the LP and the President's "underlings" are doing the machinations. "There are underlings of the government who are using government power for their own personal advantage.
They are picking on Pangasinan." NPC is fielding re-electionist Amado Espino for governo of Pangasinan. The LP, on the other hand, is fielding former Alaminos mayor Hernani Braganza, whom Rappler's local sources believe is feeding the LP national leadership with the idea to play dirty tricks on Espino. A Rappler source privy to the gubernatorial race in Pangasinan earlier said, "Napaniwala ni Nani ang LP na kaya niyang talunin si Gov, kahit kakaunti ang mayors nya, at maliit lang ang boto ng Alaminos." (Nani has convinced the LP that he can defeat the governor even if only a handful of mayors are supporting him and he comes from Alaminos with a small voters' population.) Bragranza is a close friend of President Aquino and LP president Mar Roxas, who is also secretary of interior and local government. Shortly after Braganza was drafted as LP's gubernatorial bet, Roxas tagged Pangasinan as one of the poll hotspots in the May elections, an announcement that surprised Cojuangco. A month after Pangasinan was declared as a hotspot, Roxas presented a former mayor who accused Espino of receiving jueteng bribe money. Recently, the administration presented another witness to implicate Espino, NPC congressman Jesus Celeste, and the governor of Zambales (another non-LP) in the murder of Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez. How coalition was formed Spokespersons of both parties denied the reports, with NPC spokesperson Valenzuela Rep Rex Gatchalian saying there are just "operational issues" in the local level that needed to be ironed out. The President himself has dismissed reports over the LP-NPC issue. "I had the chance to talk to my uncle Henry Cojuangco (brother of NPC founder Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr), the head of the coalition in the House. He reassures me that there is no change in the relationship," Aquino said. Cojuangco said that while he doesn't speak for the party, he will make his sentiments known to the NPC leadership, as well as the President.

NBI assisted Complaint vs Espino, Celeste, Ebdane

Congressman Celeste
Governor Espino

In a complaint filed today by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) before the National Prosecution Service (NPS), two (2) incumbent government officials, namely, Pangasinan Provincial Governor AMADO T. ESPINO, JR. and Pangasinan 1st District Congressman JESUS “BOYING” F. CELESTE, are charged with instigating and plotting the killing of Infanta, Pangasinan Mayor RUPERTO MARTINEZ, who was gunned down last 15 December 2012 by two motorcycle-riding gunmen. In the course of the NBI’s investigation, a witness came forward claiming to have first-hand information about the involvement of ESPINO and CELESTE in the death of Mayor Martinez. Said witness, JESTIN J. AQUINO, is the 16 year-old son of JAIME AQUINO, whom Jestin claims to be a close associate or “tauhan” of Espino and Celeste, and is also the person behind the publication of a weekly tabloid called the “Northern Star”, which the witness was tasked to distribute to different towns in Pangasinan upon the instructions of his father, by leaving them in waiting sheds. Witness also served as lackey and driver to his father. He said he was able to do so, even though he had no valid driver’s license, because of his father’s strong influence in the province. This arrangement meant that he was able accompany his father and observe the latter’s dealing with his “bosses”. According to the witness, he was present during a meeting sometimes in November 2011, inside a room in the Iba, Zambales Provincial Capitol, wherein ESPINO, CELESTE, Zambales Governor HERMOGENES EBDANE and the witness’s father, JAIME AQUINO, were present. Seated in the same room just behind his father, witness claims to have heard ESPINO say to EBDANE that Mayor Martinez found out about the “black rock” (“itim na bato”), to which EBDANE responded that he, ESPINO, should take care of it since he is from Pangasinan. The meeting adjourned with ESPINO, CELESTE and the AQUINOs leaving Governor EBDANE’s office and proceeding to Bolinao, Pangasinan in a convoy of three vehicles – the first being ESPINO’s, which was described as being colored black and looked like a big jeep; followed by CELESTE’s, which appeared to be a white Toyota, Fortuner; and followed by the vehicle of the father and son AQUINOs, which was a red Mazda Familia. It was evening by the time they arrived at the El Pescador Beach Resort in Bolinao, which witness believed to be owned by Congressman CELESTE. There, ESPINO, CELESTE and JAIME AQUINO again discussed the matter of Mayor Martinez, and witness claims to have heard ESPINO say that Martinez has to be killed because the latter found out about their involvement with “black rock” (“baka idiin daw sila tungkol sa itim na bato”), to which CELESTE responded that it wouldn’t be a problem because h had a lot of “this” (“ganito”), completing the statement with a handgun gesture. CELESTE, thereafter, summoned a man he called “KARDO”, whom he introduced as the man who could do the job (“Eto si KARDO, bata ko ito, kahit ito na ang pumatay”). After the man referred to as “KARDO” left ESPINO received a call, which prompted him to leave the meeting to attend to something important. After ESPINO left, witness saw celeste hand his father a bundle of money as his cut or share in jueteng. The AQUINO’s left and when they arrived home, his father counted the money, which amounted to P100,000.00. Witness claims to have seen “KARDO” on 14 December 2012, when he and his father again went to El Pescador to receive his father’s share in jueteng. He also heard an exchange between “KARDO” and congressman Celeste, wherein the latter told “KARDO” to go to Mayor Martinez in Infanta to find out whether or not he is still alived (“Mapan ka kini Mayor Martinez ijay Infanta, masapol ko maamuan no natay isuna o haan”), and to which “KARDO” responded in the affirmative (“Wen boss, data lang”). After “KARDO” left, CELESTE handed money to witness’s father, saying that was his share (“bagem datuy”). The following day, or on 15 December 2012, witness saw a TV news report on the death of Mayor Martinez and, in the morning of 16 December 2012 witness asked his father if said man is the same Mayor that he, the Governor and the others plotted to kill. His father answered in the affirmative, but told him to keep silent. Aside from the killing of Mayor Martinez, witness also related information connecting his father and his “bosses” to other crimes. One such crime is the death of a Barangay Kagawad in San Juan, Alcala, Pangasinan. JOVENCIA GASMIN. He said that the plan to kill Gasmin was brought up during a meeting in June 2012 in the farm of Engineer REYNALDO MENCIAS, father of Alcala Vice Mayor RYAN “ PAO” MENCIAS. Said meeting was allegedly attended by Engr. Mencias, Vice Mayor Mencias, Governor Espino and the father and son AQUINO. Witness said he sat right behind his father and he heard Engr. Mencias say that he will have GASMIN killed because she is the one stopping the quarrying activities in Alcala, to which Governor Espino allegedly responded “Okay, good, good, good,” and thereafter asked “May killer ka ba diyan” Engr. Mencias answered that he did and Governor Espino replied “Eh iyon pala.” Engr. Mencias summoned a man called “RICHARD” to whom Espino allegedly addressed the question, “Kaya mo ba?”, and to which the latter answered “Opo, Gov.” Witness saw and heard Engr. Mencias that same night at her house or to do so at the Barangay Hall the following morning, but reminded him to remove the plate number of the motorcycle he will use. Witness saw the man replaced the plate number of a red Honda motorcycle with a “For Registration” sign. Witness said that he saw “RICHARD” again the following afternoon when his father took him to a restaurant in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, where they again met with the same group. “RICHARD” allegedly assured Engr. Mencias that he was successful because he was able to hit the target on the head, and handed a silver colored gun to Engr. Mencias. Witness also heard Governor ESPINO say that they should celebrate the death and also tell the witness’s father that it should be published in the newspaper that it was MANUEL TOLENTINO who was behind the killing. Witness described “KARDO” and “RICHARD” to NBI investigators, which resulted in a portrait parple for each, which was given to an NBI artist. He later picked out a picture of the person he identified as “KARDO” from among a set of photographs of eight (8) different male persons. The photograph he pointed out turned out to be that of RICARDO LEGARDA Y SORIANO. He was asked if he recognized anyone else from the remaining photos, and he picked out only one other picture, whom he said was that of a bodyguard of Congressman CELESTE, who was identified that of RICHARD MANUEL Y TAGBANSA. He also shared information about the death of Bayambang, Pangasinan Councilor NATO SABANGAN. He saw Governor ESPINO ask two persons if they were able to kill Sabangan, which they affirmed. Witness also saw ESPINO give his father some money and tell him not to publish news about the death of Sabangan. He also claims that his father was involved in the filing of bogus rape charges against Manuel Tolentino upon the behest of Engr. Mencias, and also about the false allegations that his father, as a child, was molested by Bishop OSCAR CRUZ, which witness claims was in retaliation for the Bishop’s Jueteng expose in 2005. It appears that witness was physically abused by his father and thrown out of their house after the witness refused to continue distributing his father’s newspaper. According to him, he consciously sought help from government authorities he knew were rivals of his father’s bosses because he needed protection from his father, who had threatened to ??????? shoot him if he saw him again. He was brought by Manuel Tolentino to the care of Akap sa Bata ng mga Guro Kalinga Philippines, Inc., a non-governmental Organization (NGO) devoted to childred’s rights and welfare. The Executive Director of Akap sa Bata got in touch with the NBI after Jestin relayed to them about his father’s abuse and criminal activities. JAIME AQUINO, witness’s father, is among those recommended to be charged with Murder in connection with the Martinez slaying, along with Governor ESPINO and Congressman CELESTE. Being a minor, witness JESTIN AQUINO executed his Sworn Statement in the presence and with the assistance of a Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Social Welfare Officer. The two gunmen in the Martinez murder case were apprehended and are currently detained at the Pangasinan Provincial Jail in Lingayen, facing murder charges before RTC-Burgos, Pangasinan.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Because of Yarn vs Espino: NPC CUTS TIES WITH LP

Pangasinan Gov. Amado T. Espino
NPC Big Boss Mark Cojuangco

"The biggest insult” to the NPC was the filing of “baseless” corruption and murder charges against Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino, who was being investigated for allegedly receiving P1 billion in kickbacks from the illegal numbers game or jueteng. Outside of jueteng, there’s even murder. But the LP should have been very careful. Their witness against Governor Espino was twice convicted of extortion" - Chairman Mark Cojuangco of the Nationalist People's Coalition

The Nationalist People’s Coalition pulled out of its alliance with the ruling Liberal Party Tuesday, creating serious cracks in the veneer of unity in the administration’s Team Pnoy senatorial slate. “There is no more Team PNoy. We have withdrawn our support. The NPC no longer honors the coalition agreement or covenant, if there was such a thing from the start, in the first place,” said NPC stalwart and former Pangasinan congressman Mark Cojuangco, son of the party’s founder, businessman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. Speaking at a press conference about rampant rice smuggling, the younger Cojuangco said the NPC decided to go on its own in the May elections because of “irreconcilable differences” with the ruling Liberal Party. Another NPC official, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, confirmed the pullout from the administration coalition. The party, in fact, has allowed him to start campaigning for the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, he said. Sotto is the campaign manager of UNA candidate Senator Gregorio Honasan. “Except for the senatorial bids of Senator Loren Legarda, who is an NPC member and (Senator Francis) Chiz Escudero, being a former NPC member, our members nationwide are no longer obliged to support and campaign for the Team PNoy,” Cojuangco added. “We are supporting some candidates of UNA instead,” Cojuangco said. He said the NPC is fully supporting the senatorial bid of Cagayan Rep. Juan Ponce Enrile Jr., a candidate of UNA and an NPC member. For now, Cojuangco said the NPC has already issued orders to junk the three LP candidates in the Team PNoy lineup—Jamby Madrigal, Bam Aquino and Ramon Magsaysay Jr. – and to replace them with their preferred candidates from UNA. He said a final list of party-supported candidates would be released a month before the elections so that their names could be carried in sample ballots nationwide. Cojuangco described the pullout as retaliation for the ruling LP’s attacks on NPC candidates. “The LP started it. The LP was the first to violate the coalition covenant or agreement. We are only retaliating,” he said. “We support President Aquino but not his LP candidates in the Team PNoy.” Cojuangco said the NPC was angered by the LP’s failure to honor the principle of “equity of the incumbents” by fielding candidates in local races against sitting NPC officials. Of the 50 incumbents seeking reelection, only Malabon Rep. Jaye Lacson-Noel is running unopposed. NPC spokesman Rex Gatchalian, who is running for mayor in Valenzuela City, is also running unopposed. But Gatchalian’s brother, Valenzuela City Mayor Sherwin, who is NPC’s congressional candidate in the district that Rex will vacate, faces a Liberal Party opponent. Cojuangco said the “biggest insult” to the NPC was the filing of “baseless” corruption and murder charges against Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino, who was being investigated for allegedly receiving P1 billion in kickbacks from the illegal numbers game or jueteng. “Outside of jueteng, there’s even murder. But the LP should have been very careful. Their witness against Governor Espino was twice convicted of extortion,” Cojuangco said. The LP has pitted Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza against Espino. In throwing its full support behind Espino, the NPC said the Liberals could not easily topple the incumbent because 29 of the 38 mayors in Pangasinan were all members of the NPC. Cojuangco said the NPC also felt under attack when Pangasinan was declared a “hot spot,” which would put the province under the jurisdiction of the Commission on Elections. Cojuangco could not say if the NPC would also support another member of his clan, Margarita Cojuangco, running under the UNA banner. “We will discuss and assess whose senatorial bids the NPC will support. For now, the party is concentrating on the senatorial campaign of Senators Legarda and Escudero and Jack (Enrile). We will decide soon who else we will support, but some of them will come from UNA,” Cojuangco said. Sotto was seen in Cebu with Honasan during the opposition coalition’s proclamation rally on Feb. 12. “There hasn’t been an LP coalition for a long time,” Sotto said. “What covenant? Who was the first to break it. Not the NPC. It was the LP. They were the first ones to have violated the coalition agreement and never corrected it. They did not even bother to discuss the problems with the NPC leadership. So we are no longer obliged to campaign for Team Pnoy.” “My family is from Cebu. I am here to campaign for Greg Honasan, Jack Enrile and other UNA senatorial candidates,” Sotto said. Sotto said he may also campaign for former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, who was his majority leader before resigning as senator. He said he was also close to former President Joseph Estrada, whose son, San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito, is a senatorial candidate of UNA. “I have more friends in UNA. I am comfortable campaigning for them especially after the NPC made clear to us that we are no longer bound to campaign for Team PNoy. I am not campaigning for Team Pnoy, except maybe for Loren and Chiz,” Sotto said. “Loren is my party mate and the official candidate of NPC.” In a phone interview, NPC president emeritus and former senator Ernesto Maceda told Manila Standard there was never a real coalition between the NPC and the Liberal Party. He said the problem may have stemmed from local politics, where NP and LP candidates clashed. Also on Tuesday, Team Pnoy campaign manager Senator Franklin Drilon insisted that Escudero, Legarda and Grace Poe were not common candidates of the Liberal Party coalition and the UNA. “Let me make it clear, there are no common candidates… You heard Grace Poe, who said she is with the President, that she was adopted by UNA, so there are no common candidates. These are administration candidates,” said Drilon. Because they support the administration platform, it will be awkward for Legarda, Escudero and Poe to also campaign with candidates who oppose the President, he said. Poe on Tuesday said the United Nationalist Alliance can drop her from its roster of senatorial bets as she accused the opposition of imposing new conditions on adopted candidates. “When I was invited by UNA to join them as their adopted candidate, I did not ask for that,” Poe said. With Macon Ramos-Araneta, Joyce Pangco Panares and Gigi Muñoz David

SC issues protection writ for minor

The controversial media man Jaime
 Aquino - the witness' father

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Supreme Court (SC) has issued a Writ of Amparo in favor of couple Jaime and Ester Aquino who urged the high court to order the release of their 16-year-old son to their custody. In a statement, the high court's Public Information Office (PIO) said that the couple's petition is referred to the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals (CA) for immediate raffle. The appellate court is directed to hear the petition on Feb. 28 and decide the case within 10 days after submission for resolution. 
 The couple asked the high court to order the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to release the minor, a witness in the slay of Infanta, Pangasinan Mayor Ruperto Martinez, from its custody. The witness claims he has personal knowledge about Martinez's killing. He alleged that his father participated in the planning of the killing, along with Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino, Jr. and Pangasinan 1st District Rep. Jesus Celeste. His testimony prompted the NBI to file a complaint for murder against his father, Espino and Celeste. The high court directed the Department of Justice (DOJ), NBI and Akap Bata Caritas to make a verified return of the writ within 72 hours upon receipt. The minor stays under the custody of the NBI during the pendency of the hearing of the case (by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News).

Friday, February 15, 2013

Murder rap vs Espino, Celeste, Ebdane a Joke

Zambales Gov. Ebdane
Pangasinan Congressman Celeste
Pangasinan Governor Espino


 Pangasinan political kingpin Rosendo So asked me recently what's my take on the cases filed against Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino et al.
 Hereunder are my following observations:
 On the murder raps filled by Jestin Aquino, a juvenile and wannabe journalist in Pangasinan, at the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila against the governor, Rep. Jesus “Boying” Celeste, Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane and his estranged father Jaime on their involvement in the murder of Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez; susmariosep, it is not only incredible, it is preposterous! 
His narration was not only a cruel joke but a patent epitome of legal idiocy. 
How the NBI could swallowed hook, line, and sinker the tall tale that he heard the respondents hatching the plan to kill Martinez in different places is beyond my understanding.  
Worse, Jestin in the same complaint-affidavit has the personal knowledge to know who killed Alcala council member Jovencia Gasmin and former Bayambang councilor Nato Sabangan.
 Son of gun, this boy’s feat could not only qualify him in the Guinness Book of World Record and Ripley’s, but could sweep him to the greatest yarn of all time in the Universe. 
The boy is a superman among the witnesses the world has ever seen. 
How could the NBI allow this mockery of the legal system? The least NBI can do should ask Jestin not to include the Bayambang and Alcala killings to give credence to the complaint if they are really into a hao-shiao complaint.
I told Jaime Aquino that tinalo ka ng anak mo. Ikaw ni rape ka ng patalikod ni Archbishop Oscar Cruz when you were a sakristan (hindi pa uso ang guapo na sakristan noon) ”noong panahon ng hapon” pero tinalo ka ng anak mo.
 Pinagtuturo niya puro malalaking tao, isang congressman at dalawang gobernador.
 The rape cased allegedly perpetrated by Archbishop Cruz to Jaime did not push through because during the identification of the suspect the latter could not recognize Cruz who mixed with other men of the frock at the office of the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines in Manila.  
Jesus Christ, that rape case was a hyped that turned pffft that frustrated the real CNN (Cable News Network of Ted Turner, not the Calasiao News Network run by Atong Remogat and Ronel de Vera) that covered it but got a bum steer (nakuryente) instead.
Jaime, in a press conference called by Rep. Celeste, told media men in Alaminos City that Manuel Tolentino, Liberal Party’s mayoralty bet in Alcala, Pangasinan was the one who instigated his son to finger Espino, Ebdane, Celeste, and himself. Tolentino was recently in the limelight when he was reportedly cordoned at his house in Alcala by the police who were there to serve his warrant of arrest for a non- bailable rape charge. 
He was not arrested though for the reason that is beyond my comprehension.
 A source told me that Tolentino suspected Jaime, a public relation man of Vice Mayor Ryan Paul Mencias his rival in the mayoralty race in the town to be behind the concoction of a rape charge hurled by a woman who accused him of raping her in Olongapo City years ago. “Masyadong amateur ang pagkagawa ng murder charge against the suspects,“ I told media colleagues. 
 “When I was studying law my professor Justice Rodgriguez told us that only 15 percent of the cases filled by the police and NBI prosper at the prosecutor’s office,” quipped by lawyer Art Amon, Celeste’s counsel who is reclaiming his seat in Bani’s town council this year.
 Amon statement was reminiscent of what hotshot lanky palos hat and mustache sporting defense lawyer Dean Antonio Coronel (the late counsel of the Marcoses) in his book “Handbook on Trial Practice” . Attorney Coronel wrote that police officers are generally careless as to the form and manner in which they noted statements made to them. Generally they add a great deal to their testimony besides what they have noted. Dwell at length upon their failure to write down the statements the defendant is alleged to have made. Carefully examine any notations they did make. Question them about any testimony that is not found in their notes. 

 I asked Amon who was with Celeste and the widow of Martinez in the press conference called by Celeste, despite the incredibility of the accusation against the governor and Congressman Celeste, is there a possibility that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will manipulate the case (“lalaru-in” kayo) by resolving the case in favor of the accuser?
 “Dahil si President Aquino has strained relationship with the governor,” I quipped. 
He suspected that it could happen. 
To the fishermen and jeepney drivers who read this column, DOJ is under the call of the president of the Philippines, just like Tonto is under the behest of the Lone Ranger.
 (You can read my selected columns at and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at

Martinez Family Rejects Allegations of the Witness Against Gov. Espino and Cong. Celeste

what the widow , son, and daughter -in-law of Martinez cried against the political
opponents of Espino and Celeste during the February 13 press conference.

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan - No less than the family of the slain Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez expressed disbelief over the recent complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) with the Department of Justice (DOJ) linking Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. and First District Congressman Jesus “Boying” Celeste as alleged masterminds. In a press conference held in Alaminos City, Jennifer Martinez, daughter of the slain mayor (who was accompanied by the members of the Martinez family), said that the entire family is dismayed by the recent turn of events. “Hindi kami naniniwala sa sinasabi ng witness,” she said as she further added that the overwhelming support given by Gov. Espino and Celestes (whom they consider as close friends of their father) in bringing justice to their slain kin is more than enough. “Mula pa noong nabubuhay ang father namin buo na ang suporta nila sa kanya mas lalo na noong siya ay napaslang para lamang mabigyan hustisya ang kanyang pagkamatay,” the mayor’s daughter lamented. The Martinezes recounted that the PNP Provincial Director in Lingayen sought their presence only to be advised to proceed to the NBI office in Manila to check on the recent progress of their father’s case.
 It was in the NBI office that they have read the content of the complaint affidavit filed by a 16-year old witness who claimed personal knowledge of the killing. In said affidavit, the witness said that he heard the governor and the congressman (in a beach resort in Bolinao town) planning for the killing of the mayor allegedly to prevent implication about the “black stone.” In a report published over Philippine Daily Inquirer today (Feb. 13), the witness who is a minor had sought the help of social welfare authorities reportedly to escape an abusive father. In the process of retelling his alleged experiences of abuse, the Martinez murder plot was revealed. Congressman Celeste, on the other hand, denied the accusations as he said that he has not personally met Gov. Ebdane at all. “Puro fabricated ang sinasabi nila, hindi ko personal na kakilala si Gov. Ebdane at malinaw na paninira lamang ito ng mga taong desperado na,” Celeste pointed out as he added that the recent squabble is a result of dirty politics orchestrated by their rival in the coming May elections.
 Celeste said that it is saddening to know that a minor is being used to advance the political agenda of some desperate candidates who from the start are aware of their defeat.
Meanwhile, Jaime Aquino (the father of the witness) claimed that his son has previous cases of delinquency to include theft and extortion (particularly to politicians as he recently joined the company of two fly-by-night local media men). Aquino said that he is contemplating on filing habeas corpus to get back the custody of his 16-year-old son (who is now reportedly under the refuge of Akap sa Bata Philippines).
“Naging gawain na po niya ang masangkot sa mga ganitong bagay. Bilang ama, hindi naman po ako nagkukulang ng sustento sa aking mga anak. Gusto kong bumalik ang custody sa akin dahil siya po ay menor-de-edad,” Aquino disclosed.
Former First District Congressman Arthur Celeste (who is now running for mayoral race in Alaminos City) openly expressed dismay over the tactics allegedly thrown by their rivals as he further stated that the image of Pangasinan as a province is being marred based on the projected political situation. On the other hand, Celeste called on Pangasinenses to unite.
 Lawyers Art Amon and Joseph Segundino, legal counsels of Cong. Celeste, both affirmed that once they have received a copy of the subpoena they will automatically study all options leading to the filing of counter charges to rebut the filed complaint.

NBI: Witness vs. Espino, Celeste ‘very credible’

Witness Jesten Aquno

The witness of the National Bureau of Investigation in the murder case it filed against Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino Jr. and first district Rep. Jesus "Boying" Celeste for allegedly masterminding the killing of Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez “is very credible.” “According to the NBI, very credible po yong witness,” Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said in an interview with ANC.
 The case was filed before the Department of Justice. Martinez was shot to death by two motorcycle-riding gunmen in front of his house at Barangay Cato in Infanta last December 15.
 Currently detained at the Pangasinan Provincial Jail in Lingayen, the alleged assailants, Ricardo "Kardo" Legarda and Richard Manuel, were supposed bodyguards of Celeste. “Ang trigger men diyan ay nakakulong na at kinasuhan na, hindi alam dati kung sino yong mga mastermind, and this 16 year old provided the answer,” De Lima added. The witness identified as Justin Aquino alleged that respondents planned Martinez's murder with his father, Jaime, in a meeting a­t a beach resort in Bolinao, Pangasinan, reportedly owned by Celeste.
Celeste denied the accusations while Espino’s camp said that they cannot yet issue any statement in reaction to the accusation until they receive a copy of the complaint. The witness, however, said he heard the governor say “Mayor Martinez should be killed in order to prevent him from implicating us with respect to itim na bato,” supposedly referring to the controversial mining pier project in the province.
 In the same meeting, Celeste allegedly introduced a man identified as a certain “Kardo” who was tasked to kill the mayor. He said he saw Celeste meet with Kardo again in the same place on December 14 last year, a day before Martinez was shot dead in his residential compound in Brgy. Cato. “I heard Congressman Celeste telling Kardo to ‘go to Mayor Martinez in Infanta to check if he is already dead or still alive,” the witness recalled in Ilocano.
 Last year, Governor Espino was also accused of protecting jueteng operations, allegedly pocketing almost a billion peso in jueteng payola. A plunder case was filed against him by his former ally Bugallon Mayor Ricardo Orduña.
Meanwhile, Liberal Party officials in Pangasinan said in a formal statement that if proven guilty, Espino and Celeste should be jailed and pay for their crimes. “They should be meted out the maximum penalty when found guilty (with the murder of Martinez),” said Oscar Lambino, former vice governor and LP-Pangasinan spokesman (Pangasinan Muna).

NPC and Abono Party-list appeal to Justice Sec. De Lima to order NBI to reinvestigate the murder complaint vs Gov. Espino and Cong. Celeste

Abono Party list chairman  Rosendo So (R) and Pres. Benigno Aquino

The Nationalist People's Coalition has slammed political rivals for resorting to "political harassment and machinations" after the National Bureau of Investigation filed a complaint for murder against its party stalwarts -- Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino Jr. and Pangasinan 1st District Rep. Jesus Celeste -- for the death of Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez. "We are very dismayed over these petty tactics against our candidate.
 It is becoming too obvious to the public that these are machinations for their own political interests," NPC provincial chairman and former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco said. Abono party-list chairman Rosendo So described the murder charges as "impossible and improbable," even as he called on Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to order the NBI to conduct a re-investigation of the allegation against Gov. Espino and Cong. Celeste immediately. "Martinez is an ally of Governor Espino and Cong. Celeste. Mayor Martinez consistently delivered votes to the NPC. It is impossible for his allies to order his murder," So noted. "The NBI must re-investigate this case. This is not a joke. If they are training their guns on Gov. Espino, they will allow the real mastermind to get away and justice will not be served," So said. The NPC is engaged in a coalition with the Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino III, but only for senatorial candidates. "We are standing by our candidate. It is very clear that this is just character assassination," Cojuangco said. Martinez was killed in front of his house on December 15 last year, and alleged killers Ricardo Legarda and Richard Manuel are currently detained at the Pangasinan provincial jail in Lingayen. Cojuangco said political opponents first tried to implicate Espino in alleged jueteng operations in the province. "But when the jueteng allegations did not stick, they are now trying to drag him into this murder case. Is it because they cannot defeat Gov. Espino in a legitimate electoral exercise?" Cojuangco said. "Gov. Espino told me he is being harassed. I told him politics is really like that - it is dirty and some resort to desperate measures if they know they cannot defeat their opponent," he added.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Murder raps vs Espino, Celeste Fabricated

FABRICATION. Rep. Jesus Celeste (Extreme Right) denies he has
 a hand in the killing  of Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez in a press
conference he called in Alaminos City in February 13.From Left is
Celeste's lawyers Art Amon and Joseph Segundera and Alaminos
Mayoralty bet Arthur Celeste. 

what the widow , son, and daughter -in-law of Martinez cried against the political
opponents of Espino and Celeste during the February 13 press conference.

This was the curt reaction of Pangasinan Rep. Jesus “Boying” Celeste of the province’s first district to news reports linking him, along with Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. to the killing of Infanta (Pangasinan) Mayor Ruperto Martinez last Dec. 15 of last year.
 The two government officials were tagged as “masterminds” in a report of a team from the central office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) submitted to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, according to the news reports.
 “This is ridiculous. Our political foes have gone desperate in their character assassination to improve their acceptability rating in the forthcoming May local elections,” former Rep. Arthur Celeste, a younger brother of the incumbent congressman, told the media yesterday.
 The Celeste brothers questioned the credibility of the NBI report which, according to them, was “based merely on hearsay, on a testimony of one single alleged witness of minor age who comes from a broken family.”
 “The NBI recommendation is sweeping and uncalled for. It is more of a publicity stunt orchestrated by our political rivals to besmirch our reputation,” they said.
 The former solon who is running for mayor in this city against Lean Braganza, son of Mayor Hernani Braganza who is seeking the gubernatorial post against reelectionist Gov. Espino, urged the Justice department to be more prudent in looking into the veracity of the NBI report and the allegations of the witness identified as Jestin Aquino, a stowaway and first-year high school dropout from Bayambang, Pangasinan. “The late mayor Martinez was a close friend and reliable ally. He always came to us for support to serve better his constituents,” Celeste said, as he pointed out that the slain mayor was never engaged in black stone mining as alleged by Jestin.
 “There’s no black stone quarry in Infanta,” he added. Meanwhile, Crisanta Martinez, widow of the slain mayor, appealed to the authorities and other concerned parties not to use the murder of her husband as an issue in the political campaign. “It’s very bitter and painful for us, especially to link Cong. Celeste and Gov. Espino, our most reliable political benefactors to the killing,” she said. Jennifer Martinez, daughter-in-law of the late mayor, told the media their family was informed two weeks ago about “latest development on the killing” by Pangasinan Police Director, Sr. Supt. Marlou Chan who advised them to go to the NBI office in Manila to know the progress of the case. “When informed (at the NBI Special Task Force) that Cong Celeste and Gov. Espino are involved, we were dismayed and left for home because we believe they are innocent,” she said. In the same press conference, Rep. Celeste vehemently denied knowing Richard Manuel, alias “Kardo,” one of the two arrested suspected gunmen in the killing of Martinez who was identified in the news reports as Celeste’s bodyguard. “I never knew him (Kardo) from Adam and I don’t employ armed bodyguards,” he said. According to the news reports, the witness Aquino claimed to have heard the Celeste brothers and Espino discussing about a plan to liquidate Martinez in a resort in Bolinao town. “That’s fantastic,” exclaimed Celeste. “How could we talk about an assassination plot in the presence of other people, especially that of a minor?” he added. (PIO).