Friday, May 31, 2013

Lim opens his eyes, family put earphones to prop up senses


 Victorious and vindicated San Miguel Lights beer guzzling reelected Board Member Ranjit Ramos Shahani listen as I speak Sanskrit on the following:
 In the exchanges between defeated vice gubernatorial candidate Art Lomibao and his wife Jackie at the social media Face Book, Art said that he was lukewarm to run under losing gubernatorial bet Nani Braganza when Braganza and former Vice Governor Oscar Lambino invited him to join the Liberal Party. Art told them incase he decided to join the race he would not spend a single cent since the monies in his savings account are intended for the future of his family.
Nani and Oscar, he said, acquiesced to his proposal.
 But despite of that initial meeting he said he was still tentative in running. He was apprehensive about the incredible political machinery of Espino, his classmate at the Philippine Military Academy, that he and Nani would be facing. “If we spend P500 million, Espino can spend P1 billion,” he said at Face Book, where photo copies of that exchanges with his wife was shown to me by somebody.
 “Tentative Art” said he got the jolt of his life in a meeting in Manila arranged by Braganza with Secretary Mar Roxas of the Department of Interior & Local Government.
 He said Roxas shook his hand and congratulated him for acceding to be Braganza’s vice governor. "Why he was congratulating me when I have not yet acquiesce to the proposal of Nani?," he posed.
 Kaya hayon napasubo tuloy si Art dito sa eleksiyon.
 The worst thing the spouses experienced was they felt they were cheated by the PCOS. "The odds were 8-2 in our favor whenever we go to the barangays," one of them commented at Face Book.
I overheard that last May 29 Mayor Benjie S. Lim of Dagupan City has opened for the first time his eyes
and his iris moved. Then he closed them again as he was confined at his bed since his stroke in the eve of May 12. A source said that the family, in a hospital in Manila, put an earphone where a music has been played (probably Beatles songs his favorite) to the outgoing mayor so it can stimulate his senses.
Was this true Vice Mayor-elect Brian Lim?

 It would not bode well for Lim's favored contractors at the city hall incase the rumor was true that the defeated mayor is still physically unable. Two contractors told me that they got P2 million and P10 million collectibles respectively in their transaction with city hall.
 The problem is Lim could not sign the check and acting mayor Belen Fernandez was not privy to sign them. She was procrastinating so that when she assumed office in June 30 she could scrutinize first the veracity if there were onerous contracts the checks represented before she signed on the proverbial dotted lines.
To those nervous contractors, pray that Lim recuperate soon so he could report at City Hall before the end of his term in June 30 this year otherwise you can see your check hangs on the air.

The May 13 poll was a windfall to some publishers and media men in Pangasinan.
One earns P4 million for just printing P.R materials of an entity in Manila while another earns almost P700, 000 in printing black propagandas. I was told that even a lay out artist received tens of thousands of pesos when an insider of the Commission on Election asked him that, brace yourself, a COMELEC bigwig would fund the dissemination of the materials he designed with the condition he (enterprising bigwig) got 50 percent of the profit after he funded the scheme.
 (Was it in the aftermath of 2010 election that a certain top COMELEC official showboated to his scandalized personnel his newly purchased S.U.V?)
While another smarting lay out artist who spent sleepless nights in creating a black props told me that he got a pittance while his patron got hundreds of thousands of pesos from the proceeds of the newspaper he made.
 Another media man has been freaking out because until now he has not yet received the promised P50 thousand pesos from the P100, 000 he agreed with his benefactor to make bad the latter rival in his program.
 Another newspaper writer was apprehensive because some tough looking guys in an SUV without a plate have been looking for him.
The reason: He and a companion were commissioned to make black propaganda to be distributed a day before the May 13 poll but until now they were not yet able to give even a page of an eight- page blackprop to their furious boss who lost the poll.
Susmariosep, was this a yarn?
 You can read my selected columns at and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at

Espino seeks medical help in US for his mom

Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino (Extreme Right)

LINGAYEN---Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. has designated Vice-Gov. Jose Ferdinand Z. Calimlim, Jr. as acting governor while he is on leave for 21 working days covering the period May 27 to June 25. The governor has entrusted the affairs of the province to the vice-governor prior to his trip to the United States of America to attend to his mother’s medical needs.
 In a letter to Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II, Gov. Espino has requested the DILG secretary for an authority to travel to the USA to seek medical experts whom the governor could invite to the Philippines or find a hospital that would admit his mother, Victoria Totaan Espino for medical check-up and medication.
It will be recalled that the old Espino suffered from stroke in December due to the various black propagandas hurled against the governor during the election period.
Disheartened about the negative reports against her favorite son, the old Espino succumbed to a stroke last December 31, 2012 that put her into a temporary comatose condition. The governor’s travel to USA will also include his family’s visit to a daughter who just gave birth. (PIO/Angeline D. Villanueva)

‘I don’t play favorites’ – Mejia

R1MC Director Joseph Roland Mejia (2nd from Left)
with President  Benigno Aquino III (3rd from

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

 DAGUPAN CITY - The director of the Region-1 Medical Center assailed some media men who accused him of being biased to some patients. “Some reporters are uninformed. Their conclusion is not educated. They should be asking us first before they start their baseless criticism of the R1MC,” Dr. Joseph Roland Mejia stressed.
 He said most of the patients confined at the 300 beds hospital were poor who could not afford to pay their bills.
To solve this dilemma, he said the hospital bankrolls their bills from payment of rich patients and from the government funds intended for the indigents deposited by elective public officials. “Before ini-explain namin sa mga pasyente na kinukuha namin ang pondo na binabayad sa kanila ay pondo ng mga taong ito. Bahala na sila na tumanaw ng utang na loob sa kanila,” he said. He cited the following government officials who fund the medical expenses of the indigents.
They are President Aquino, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Reps Gina de Venecia (Fourth District), Marlyn P. Agabas (Sixth District), Rachel Arenas (Third District), Jesus Celeste (First District) and Leopoldo Bataoil (Second District).
He did not deny that Alaminos City Mayor and losing gubernatorial bet Hernani Braganza is his cousin. “Hindi ko ginusto na pinsan ko siya nagkataon lang na politico si Nani Braganza. Joe de Venecia was the first cousin ng wife ko kaya pinsan ko si Manay Gina (de Venecia). (Vice Governor) Ferdie Calimlim whose father is my cousin is a relative. (Vice gubernatorial candidate ) Art Lomibao is my relative, too. Mga magkamag-anak kami,” he explained. He denied that he campaigned for certain candidates on the concluded May 13 poll. “Bawal iyan!” he quipped

BIR Central Pangasinan top performer in Region 1


BIR Region 1 Sports Festival: Asst. Regional Director
Eduardo L. Pagulayan Jr (2nd from Left) and RDO-4
Chief Christine Cardona (3rd from Left).
CALASIAO – The Revenue District Office-4 that is based here has been a top performer by besting the other five RDOs in Region 1 for two months in a row now. On the data, given by Assistant RDO-4 chief Charmaine C. de la Torre to this paper, it showed that RDO-4 has been outperforming the other five RDOs in the region from March to April this year. “Our district is not only a top performer in Region 1 but has already exceeded our cumulative goal as of April 31, 2013 by almost Php 3 million,” de la Torre stressed.

RDOs and Assistant RDOs  representing BIR Region 1 in a do-
or-die volleyball match against the tax regional office division chiefs.
In photos are RDO-6 chief lawyer Beverly Milo (Extreme Left), RDO-5 
Chief Ramos,and Assistant RDO-4 chief Charmaine dela Torre 
(5th from Left).

Cheering Squad from the Region 1 office. The sports fest was held
in May 30, 2013. Thanks to the intercession of Regional
Director Arnel Guballa, sports in BIR Region 1 was revived
after three years in hiatus.

 On the data given by RDO-4 chief Christine Cardona to this paper it bared there that collection in January, February, and March this year was Php 505, 972,134.63 versus the Php 414, 363,212.65 on the same period last year. The 22.11 percent hiked in the first quarter was translated to Php 30,629,168.49.
Volley Ball Team composed of the Division Chiefs
Cardona and de la Torre said that RDO-4 surpassed the other five RDOs in Region 1 when it got in March this year the highest collection of P179, 189,211.60 or a 37.42 percent from its Php 130,395,557.90 last year. De la Torre said the goal given by the national government for RDO-4 to collect this year is a staggering P2.5 billion – the highest among the six revenue district offices in Region 1.

"Bacchanalian Feast": Roasted Calf

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lim’s P200M unspent campaign funds


 I bumped lately into San Jacinto Mayor Bert de Vera. I told him that media men identified with losing gubernatorial bet Hernani Braganza exploited to the hilt his and losing mayoralty candidate Berex Abalos of Mangaldan  turned around.
They said that they have abandoned their fellow Nationalist People’s Coalition gubernatorial bet incumbent Governor Amado T. Espino when they attended the rally of Nani at the Stadia in Dagupan City.
 De Vera said he went there because he was invited by former Speaker Jose de Venecia who told him to attend the rally of Team Pinoy.
“I thought I’ll be attending the rally of the senatorial bets”.
 He said that when he was there he did not see any national candidates but a smiling and grateful Braganza and vice gubernatorial candidate Art Lomibao who probably thought they were late deserters.
 “It was an invitation I could not decline because my congresswoman (Gina de Venecia, 4th District, Pangasinan) invited me there”. Bert said Espino just like de Venecia are his allies.
 “They contributed three million pesos each for the renovation of our municipal hall while we have our eight million pesos counterpart from the local coffer”.
 Former five –time Speaker de Venecia attacked Espino as a no do-gooder governor in that Stadia rally. According to my source in the Fourth District, San Fabian and Manaoag mayors Irene Libunao and Nap Sales did not attend the rally at the Stadia lest their presence be misconstrued by Espino.
 The source said one of the factors that Abalos loses the mayoral contest from challenger Bona de Vera , a Liberal Party, Governor Espino aided Bona to trounce- out Abalos because of his infidelity to the party. De Vera’s husband is the relative of Espino.
Sources said that even in the campaign sorties of de Vera the hubby was zealously clad on a t-shirt with an Espino-Vice Governor Ferdie Calimlim boldly printed on it.

 Was this a tall tale?
A close associate of outgoing Dagupan City Mayor Benjie S. Lim told me recently that if Lim has not been struck by a stroke on the eve before the May 13, 2013 poll he would be dispensing the content of the ten suit cases (maleta) full of P1 thousand bill to voters around the 31 villages strong city.
 “Bawat maleta naglalaman ng P20 million (or P200 million in all ten suit cases),” he said.
He cited that the day before the poll Lim has been seen carrying a calculator where he computed and recomputed how much sum would be given to each of the voters.
 “He told me that this election (May 13) would be the most expensive for him” .
Around 10 pm of May 12, Lim leaders have been distributing monies all over the villages in the city.
 “Pag pointer (who help identified voters) P1000.00, pag may I.D P500.00, iyong walang I.D tawag namin doon “special” tag P300.00,” a voter in Barangay Tapuac said.
 A voter and a media man in Barangay Bonuan Gueset told me that around 10 pm of May 12, Lim supporters have been given each of the voters in his compound P1000.00 bill.
 The associate said those bundles of monies in the case would be part of the second wave that should commence at 4 am of May 13.
“ Tag dalawang libo ang planong bigayan. Pang-kontra ni mayor sa pagbili ng mga tao ng kalaban (mayoral bet Belen Fernandez).
He said he could not forget how financially challenging was the May 13 election. He said the leaders of Fernandez have been buying votes all over the city unabated by the police the whole day before the poll. “Ako pinupuntahan ako ng mga SWAT (Special Weapon Action Team) at tinatanong ako kung meron akong pakurong (vote buying) sa bahay ko kasi maraming ta-o”.
He said had Lim not suffered a stroke the day before the election, Fernandez could not win the poll as Lim was only the one in the family who could decide how to dispose the ten big suit cases full of monies.
You can read my selected columns at and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at

Espino blasted classmates at PMA

MISTAH: Lomibao, Espino, and Navarro were members
of Class 1972 of the Philippine Military Academy in
Baguio City


 At the victory party tendered by Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino to media men at Star Plaza Hotel in Dagupan City last May 24 he was heard to say the following:
He denounced retired Philippine National Police four- star general and losing gubernatorial bet Art Lomibao and former police  two-star general and losing Bani Mayor Marcelo Navarro whom he said blamed their loss to him.
 Both of them were his mistah or classmates at the Philippine Military Academy in 1972.
“They are stupid,” he mocked them.
 He declared that he could not understand why Art blamed his loss to him through his scathing remarks at social media Face Book when he should be blaming his loss to his rival Vice Governor Ferdie Calimlim.
 In that Face Book exchanges between Art and wife Jackie, the former doubted the authenticity of the votes that he received from the PCOS machines.
 He and his wife said that whenever they barnstorm the villages the odds was 8 to 2 in their favor.
 “Paano hindi sila mananalo, sa barangay lang pala sila nagkakampanya. Ako nga hindi nangampanya sa mga barangays!,” Espino observed.
 He scored Navarro’s defeat to a young mother Gwen Palafox Yamamoto (wife of a major in the Presidential Security Group) through his “stupid” campaign strategy.
“How could he not lose the election in his sorties when he was consistently attacking me instead of his rival for the mayoralty”.
 “Lahat ng mga retirees sa PMA mga upper class , lower class , at classmates ko dito sa Pangasinan saludo sa mga nagawa ko sa probinsiya except sa dalawang g_ _ _ na ito na walang ginawa kung hindi sira-an ako,” he told the amused media men who were gnawing and imbibing the sumptuous foods, juice, and liquor as treat of the grateful governor.
Espino said that when Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez was assassinated he never thought that his political enemies would drag him as the principal suspect in the murder.
 He said before his name would be included as one of the masterminds, there were feelers from the other camp who insinuated that they would not file a murder case against him if he withdraws his gubernatorial candidacy against Alaminos City Hernani Braganza – an ally of President Benigno S. Aquino III.
 But he did not call the bluff instead he overwhelmingly “murdered” Braganza with a landslide margin votes of 554,351 -which was much bigger than the votes when he “buried” into political oblivion with 532,329 led votes former governor Victor Agbayani. Espino declared that he would go legally against some media men who scurrilously and maliciously maligned him before the May 13 poll.
He denounced there too Braganza’s block timers at Bombo Radyo Atong Remogat and Dennis Mojares. Broadcaster RJ Jimenez told me that during a huddle with some members of the fourth estate, the governor allegedly dig Atong who allegedly and wrongly has been given P50 thousand by some Espino supporters when he told them that he would withdraw from his pro Braganza-Lomibao program three days before the ban on the campaign period.
 Susmariosep, is this true Atong?
You can read my selected columns at and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments

P’sinan gov seeks ouster of prov’l police chief

Police Senior Superintendent (Colonel) Marlou Chan, PMA 1985

By GATE, Jr.

The province of Pangasinan led by Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. today (May 24) filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against the appointment of Police Sr. Supt. Marlou Chan as the Philippine National Police (PNP) provincial director of Pangasinan.
 In the motion filed at the Regional Trial Court in Lingayen, the petitioners asked that the TRO and preliminary injunction be eventually made permanent, saying Chan’s appointment should be declared unlawful, and that he should be ousted from the position.
 Chan’s designation as officer-in-charge of the Pangasinan police office last December should have expired last May 10. The petitioners noted that Chan was secretly appointed in full capacity as police provincial director “in gross violation” of the PNP laws and Commission on Elections (Comelec) rules.
 The complaint filed under civil case 19270 states that several complaints were raised by local leaders regarding Chan’s inefficiency and alleged obvious bias towards specific candidates shown during the recent elections.
 A manifesto for a change in the PNP leadership was signed earlier by majority of the Pangasinan mayors and provincial board members, citing 23 documented shooting incidents in the province as of last March. The petitioners claimed that most of shooting incidents remained unsolved. Records also showed that at present, there were already 80 shooting incidents that remain unsolved. The complaint also alleged that majority of the municipal police chiefs in the province were relieved for no justifiable reasons, and without prior notices or advisories to the affected mayors.
 During the May 13 elections, Chan, like Espino, who is an alumnus of the Philippine Military Academy, was criticized apparent bias in handling election-related issues owing to his alleged kinship with a mayoralty candidate in Eastern Pangasinan, and alliances with some other candidates in the province.
 Espino filed his petition for TRO pursuant to Section 51 of Republic Act 6975, otherwise known as the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, the incumbent governor is granted the right to choose among three eligible officers recommended, to the position of PNP police provincial director.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Shahanis dig Braganza on his loss

VINDICATED:Senator Shahani  (Extreme Left) and son
 Ranjit (Extreme Right).


For the record, the Shahanis WERE NOT INVITED to the family reunion organized by the Agsaluds and the Braganzas in Pangasinan. In fact, Sen Shahani and Ranjit Shahani DID NOT EVEN KNOW about the event until after the fact. But they would have gone simply for the sake of family solidarity. Nani Braganza went to our home in Asinan and threatened to physically harm Ranjit, who was alone in the house. We already knew Nani was going to be the gubernatorial candidate: nothing surprising or upsetting there, right? But if you come into our ancestral home with six security men and start shouting and bullying, you will lose our support, period.
I notice no one has bothered to ask WHY the Shahanis got offended in the first place. We would have supported Nani had he politely informed us beforehand of his/the party's decision, instead of acting all high-and-mighty. The two cousins have been friends in the past, and we’ve always always shown respect towards his parents and family. We're not bothered by the "favorite nephew of FVR" issue. To be a favorite with certain powers-that-be, you need to be a sipsip, and no Shahani has ever sucked up to anyone.
 We're very comfortable standing on our own merits. All you need to do is read their respective curriculum vitae and you can judge their qualifications for yourself. But Ranjit is not "barkada," and that says more about the decision-making process that CHOOSES BARKADA OVER MERIT.
A sad day for the Republic, indeed -- especially when you see how Nani did not even win in his own city, let alone the entire province.
But we could have told them that 6 months ago. The point is: if you want to win in a vote-rich province like Pangasinan, you should CONSULT the locals first, rather than simply treating the province as a political launching pad for 2016. Hurt? My mother is DISAPPOINTED. She's too much of a seasoned politician who's had her share of hard knocks (and too much of an intellectual, more importantly) to be hurt by poor strategists. Good strategy would have been campaigning on the basis of SUBSTANCE and platforms, instead of demonizing opponents.
 Funny that this only seems to happen in the vote-rich provinces (why not areas like Maguindanao, where the corruption is amply documented?) but the locals are harder to fool, you see. By all means let's fight jueteng, but let's do it CONSISTENTLY everywhere in the country, and question it even if practiced by our own friends and allies.

 Thanks and FYI, 

 Lila Shahani
 (speaking in a personal capacity)

Roxas, Cojuangco argued during P-Noy's visit

DILG Secretary Mar Roxas

Nationalist Peopl'e's Coaliton top honcho Mark


 According to my source who asked for anonymity, the Lim administration cut the P4000 a day gas allocation of the police patrol cars in Dagupan City a week before the May.  13 poll. He said that police chief Superintendent (Lieutenant Colonel) Cris Abrahano was anxious about the consequences to the anti-crime operation that could undermine the peace and order situation of the city because of the cut.
 The source said the non-allocation of the 10 liters a day per patrol car has been Lim’s way to punish the police he believed to help aid his mayoral rival, incumbent vice mayor Belen Fernandez, in the concluded May 13 poll.
 As of press time, according to the unofficial election results electronically sourced from the Commission on Election’s transparency server via the Rappler Mirror Server, Fernandez, who ran under the Liberal Party, got 41,044 while Lim, who was under the Nationalista Party, settled for 37, 765. Lim’s son Brian won the vice mayoral seat over rival former City Councilor Michael Fernandez. Brian got 46,121 votes while Fernandez contented himself with 32,098.

 Another source told me that when President Aquino landed aboard his presidential helicopter at the airport in Lingayen in the morning of May 2, two scions of an illustrious family argued inside the reception area for the fate of Vice Governor Ferdie Calimlim, the almost 40 mayors of the gargantuan province and their supporters who were outside the airport and were under the mercy of the blistering sun as they waited to be allowed to enter the airport premises to welcome with their huge tarps and streamers the president. Here are the excerpts of the argumentation according to my source:
Former Representative Mark Cojuangco: Pare papasukin ninyo naman iyong mga mayors.
 Department of Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas: Pare hindi puede. Wala sa protocol ng PMS (Presidential Management Staff) and PSG (Presidential Security Group) iyong pagpunta nila dito. Cojuangco: Maawa ka naman sa kanila nakabilad na sila sa init ng araw.
 Roxas: (Who went out from the covered reception area with folded arms):Tingnan mo ako pare, nakabilad na rin ako sa araw.
Those exchanges did not stop the drama on the presidential visit because the police provincial director Marlou Chan was ordered by the harried PSG’s top brass to cover by the phalanx of policemen the local executives and their streamers and tarps so that Aquino would not see the presence of the allies of Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino.

 The day after the visit, the offended Cojuangco lashed out at Roxas in his meeting with the village chiefs of a city at the house of Urdaneta City Vice Mayor Bong Gorospe.
 Roxas, according to news report, has intimidated the 28 mayors of Pangasinan when he threatened them that they can expect the backlash of a lifestyle check after their election if they would not support the gubernatorial bid of Hernani Braganza – a fellow member of the Liberal Party. Most of those 28 mayors who were at the house of Urdaneta City Mayor Bobom Perez are members of the Nationalist People’s Coalition under the leadership of Cojuangco and Governor Amado T. Espino.
With Cojuangco affronted by the actuation of Roxas, we can now expect that he operates for the defeat of the latter in his run for the presidency in 2016 in the mammoth vote rich province.

 My source said that two days after the throwing of a dud grenade at the house of Urdaneta City mayor Bobom Perez, President Aquino called Colonel Chan.
The president was offended by the grenade lobbing which he felt was intended to mock him when he met the 28 hizzoners.
When Chan was cruising in his service car the national highway in Barangay Tebeng, Sta. Barbara he saw ahead of him a convoy of big cars belonging to Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino.
When it passed a police checkpoint in that village the cops manning it turned their back as if nobody’s passed by for a routine inspection. A furious Chan stepped down from his service vehicle and dressed down the team leader and his men with all the thunderclaps they did not hear in their lifetime.
 “Kahit si (gubernatorial bet) Nani Braganza pina pa-checkpoint ko, bakit iyong dumaan hindi niyo ni check point?”he hissed.
The source said Chan relieved the team leader and ordered him to leave the place because of his incompetence.
When Sta. Barbara police chief Major Giovanni Mangonon arrived, the stringent George Patton liked provincial director chided him and threatened him to be sacked from his top cop post in the town .
 “Gusto mo ako na ako na ang mag chief of police dito para mabantayan ko ng mabuti ang mga check points?” my source quoted the scathing words of Chan.
 “Dalawang beses ng napagalitan iyang si Mangonon. Noong una ng mapadaan si Colonel Chan sa Barangay Minien kung saan iyong mga naka-kotse na itim may binaril sa restaurant doon.“ The source, a police non-officer, said that Chan threatened Mangonon to be fired too after the former learned that the chief of police did not know, when Chan asked him, that there was a murder that ensued under his nose. “Dapat I assign na sa traffic itong si Mangonon,” another police sergeant butted in.
 But another sergeant cautioned him (fellow sergeant) to stop disclosing some police operation to me:
“Iyong PD just come and go, pero si Mangonon baka maging amo natin iyon.
 But another Police Officer 3 disagreed: “Anong magiging amo natin? Most of the chiefs of police dito sa Pangasinan itatapon daw sa Ilocos as planned by General Marquez and Chan”.
You can read my selected columns at and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at

Can a mayor delays the assumption of rival for mayorship?

Mayor-elect Fernandez (3rd from Left) and Dagupan City
Mayor Benjie S. Lim


 Even though Mayoral- elect Belen Fernandez has already assumed the top executive post, as mandated by law, in Dagupan City after its Mayor Benjamin Lim was rushed to the hospital because of a stroke a day before the May 13 election, can the supporters of Lim, for the sake of argument, procrastinate so they can stall and buy time the assumption of Fernandez on the 4th day of Lim being bed ridden?
 My answer is in the affirmative. Although it is embodied in Section 44 of the Local Government Code of 1991 that provides “If a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the governor or mayor, the vice governor or vice mayor concerned shall become the governor or mayor…”
In this situation the Department of Interior and Local Government or the Office of the President (OP) comes to the fore to settle the issue.
 The book author Attorney Jose Noledo annotated Section 44: “The rules of succession above shall be automatic and there is no need of any other legal requirements except to prove that a permanent vacancy occurs and the successor shall serve only for the unexpired term, there being no need to hold special election. The law specifies the instances of permanent vacancy as follows:
 (1) When an elective local official fills a higher vacant offices; or
 (2) When the elective official refuses to assume office; or
(3) He fails to qualify; or
 (4) He dies; or
 (5) He is removed from office; or
(6) He voluntarily resigns; or
(7) He is permanently incapacitated to discharge the functions of his office.

 Noledo said No (7) may present a problematical situation as where the incumbent refuses to yield office even if he has become blind or is bedridden and becomes a hopeless patient.
 In such case, the DILG or the President may decide the case. Such lizard-like attitude should be resolved with dispatch.”

But the term “such dispatch” means after a week or two or a month as the incumbent chief executive or through his representative can delay the assumption in a court injunction as a strategy to buy time.
 This situation can happen in other local government units where the supporters of the indisposed mayor procrastinate for the assumption of the vice mayor who are not their ally so they can have time to extract and dispose the documents at the city or town hall that would incriminate their patron in court cases in the future.
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Friday, May 17, 2013

Brian denies Mayor Lim's Death

Vice Mayor-Elect Vice Mayor Brian Lim

Stroke victim Mayor Benjie S. Lim

My Dear City mates,

 I wish to clarify news and wild reports regarding the reported death of my father, Mayor Benjie Lim by a local weekly paper which has consistently maligned and attacked my father since 2001 after he first won the mayoralty race against the owner and publisher of that paper who lost in that race. There is no truth to those reports. Due to demands of the political campaign, Mayor Lim forgot to take his diabetes medication and his blood sugar shot up and suffered a stroke. He was eventually brought to a local hospital to get proper medical treatment. Thankfully, his condition was stabilized and he was transferred to a Manila hospital for further treatment. I appeal to our political opponents and their supporters to observe some sense of decency and propriety regarding the Mayor's condition. The election is over and let's get rid of the venom of mudslinging especially in this most difficult and challenging times for our family. I call on our supporters and well-meaning Dagupeños to remain calm and steadfast. I thank you for the mandate you have bestowed upon me and for the continuing support, love, and care for our city mayor. Let us all continue to pray for his speedy recovery. God bless Dagupan!



Prov’l BOC proclaims Espino as governor-elect of Pangasinan

LINGAYEN - With 71 percent total votes canvassed as of press time, Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. was proclaimed as the re-elected governor of Pangasinan as he posted 809,165 votes against Mayor Hernani Braganza’s 280,967 earmarking an overwhelming difference of 528,198.
The governor, who is considered as a runaway winner, is serving his third term on July 1 along with Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Calimlim, Jr. who was also proclaimed by the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) this morning with other winning candidates that include Congressman Jesus “Boying” Celeste (1st District), Congressman Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District), and Cong. Carmen Kimi Cojuangco (5th District), who was represented by former Congressman and Nationalist People's Coalition Chair Mark Cojuangco. Gov. Espino expressed elation over his resounding victory which marks his final term as the provincial chief executive even as he thanked his supporters for believing in him and for embracing the transformation that he initiated since 2007.
 The governor vowed to continue the vision he has set for Pangasinan specifically on health reform, environment protection, peace and order, tourism, agriculture and the rest of the present administration’s ten-point thrust.
It can be recalled that Gov. Espino suffered major setbacks in the last few months with charges and cases filed against him including black propaganda during the campaign period.
However, the governor called for Pangasinenses to “unite and work together” now for a more progressive province. “I am open for reconciliation. Magtulongan na lamang tayo kagaya nga ng sinabi nila na bayan muna bago bulsa,” Gov. Espino said as he further noted that he continuously gives his full support to the mandate of President Aquino ever since the start. “Buong-puso po akong sumusuporta sa lahat ng kanyang adhikain,” he said even as he stressed that politics must be put aside and start anew to further the cause of development for Pangasinan. Also present during the proclamation rite was newly-elect Alaminos City Mayor Arthur F. Celeste. (PIO/Ruby R. Bernardino)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Espino, Fernandez win in Pangasinan

Winner: Espino (L)
Fernandez wins (3rd from Left), Lim rushed to
hospital (Extreme Right)

 Tight roped race in Sta. Barbara, Binmaley towns 

As of 2013-May-14 6:45 AM Candidate Party Votes



 As of 2013-May-14 6:45 AM Candidate Party Votes


As of 2013-May-14 7:04 AM
 Candidate Party Votes

 As of 2013-May-14 7:04 AM Candidate Party Votes

As of 2013-May-14 7:04 AM Candidate Party Votes

As of 2013-May-14 7:04 AM Candidate Party Votes

As of 2013-May-14 7:04 AM Candidate Party Votes

 Link for complete results in Pangasinan provided hereunder:

Braganza and son maul Celeste supporter

Gubernatorial bet Braganza (C) and son mayoral
candidate Lean


 ALAMINOS CITY – Liberal Party gubernatorial candidate Hernani Braganza and son, Lean who is running for mayor of this city, reportedly “went wild” last night and led in the mauling of a staunch supporter of former Cong. Arthur Celeste, a mayoral bet of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
 The incident was reported by the mauling victim himself, Marco Dalin, who said he was beaten up black-and-blue by five armed men in civilian clothes believed to be goons of Braganza, in Barangay Tawing-Tawing, this city, at about 10:30 last night (May 12, 2013).
 According to Dalin, he was mauled in the presence of Braganza and his police escorts. Dalin claimed he was monitoring an alleged vote-buying spree by Braganza’s followers in a thickly populated neighborhood along a road in the barangay when accosted and mauled by men of the LP gubernatorial bet. Dalin suffered severe cuts in the face and head, requiring four stiches to mend. Dalin’s account was later aired over Aksyon Radyo-Dagupan. Minutes after Dalin’s mauling, Braganza’s men chased Sonny Paragas, and four of his companions who rushed to the scene where Dalin was beaten up.
 Braganza’s goons caught up with Paragas’s group and told them to “put up or shut up” on the reported vote-buying, otherwise, they, too, will suffer similar injuries like Dalin.
 Surprisingly, a check with the Alaminos City Police Station revealed no record of the incident. In a related development, 10 barangay captains of NPC re-electionist Romulo Antolin in the town of San Quintin complained they were prevented from monitoring last-minute vote-buying by LP operators in the presence of policemen. The vote-buyers had a field day distributing cash, the barangay officials said. Distribution of cash to voters continued in the presence of policemen as people trooped to presincts this morning. In yet another incident of harassment, Braganza’s police escorts intercepted a van with a group of supporters of reelectionist Rep. Jesus “Boying” Celeste on board near the Alaminos-Bolinao boundary and forcibly seached the vehicle which frightened the passengers. Accosted by the police in that incident were Timi Domingo of Bolinao town and a certain Angerico Navarro, both campaign supporters of Celeste.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Attack TV Ads in Pangasinan


As your read this column in our paper’s hard copy (our online or soft copy goes to press earlier), the acrimonious 2013 middle term election has been concluded.

But since there are two kinds of a candidate in the Philippines – the one who wins and the one who was cheated — election fever has not yet subsided as you browse this piece after losing bets, with thongs and hammer, protest at the media outlets and the Comelec.
 What I could not forget about the 2013 poll was how the camps of Governor Amado T. Espino and his gubernatorial challenger Hernani Braganza ran their adversarial TV ads in the last stretch of the campaign . Braganza accused Espino of bringing to the dogs Pangasinan with his different statistical figures about the increasing numbers of poor people, unschooled, and murder victims! A week before the May 11 ban for the campaign period, Espino rebutted all of these accusations as sheer lies by showing opposite figures he sourced from the National Statistics Office and the Philippine National Police according to his Public Information Office chief Butch Velasco
 As far as my counting was concerned, Espino and Braganza have been aggressive with their six 30 second ads slot (for each of them) at each of these TV stations’ GMA-7 and ABS-CBN.
If they got 12 30 second ad slots a day, geez man that’s more than half a million pesos a day for each of the candidate if each 30 seconder cost P50, 000. Each of them paid Php 52,000.00 a day in their one hour block time program at Bombo Radyo.
  Oh by the way, a 30 second advertisement for national TV viewership for a senatorial candidate cost him/her half a million pesos according to Attorney Felipe Gozon, Chief Executive of GMA Network, Inc. In a news report senatorial bet Teddy Casino said that a 30 second slot ads in ABS-CBN for national viewership cost Php 500,000.

Two weeks before the campaign ban, Braganza assailed Espino on the black sand mining, the murder of Infanta Mayor Ruperto Infanta, and the plunder case in the jueteng gate.

 Three days before May 11, 2013, Espino accused Braganza in a carefully crafted video visual on the alleged plunder case filed by his 15 village chiefs in Alaminos City where he is the incumbent mayor. “Those TV stations should not allow those adversarial ads,” a political spectator told me.
 I cited to him that those American style ads were sanctioned by the Omnibus Election.
“COMELEC Resolution No. 9615, said that “election campaign” or “partisan political activity” refers to an act designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or candidates to a public office, and shall include any of the following: …Making speeches, announcements or commentaries, or holding interviews for or against the election of any candidate for public office; Publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials designed to support or oppose the election of any candidate; ..,”
In the last presidential election in the United States, voters’ preference kept changing between Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney in the disputed States there because of the shrewd and subtle propaganda shown on TV. Republican strategist Dick Morris and Michael Reagan (adopted son of former U.S President Ronald Reagan) who heads the GOP’s Super PAC (Political Action Committee) have been vigorously soliciting millions of dollars from would be voters particularly those who support GOP (Grand Old Party) to boost the stocks of their presidential bet. Look how the scathing TV campaign brought to the highest office Prime Minister Bibi (not Gandang Hari)Netanyahu (the younger brother of a hero Colonel Yoni Netanyahu who was killed at the Operation Entebe in Uganda) of Israel.
To quote what former U.S President Bill Clinton said on his 957 pages hard bound book “My Life”my brother from California gave to me years ago:
” On May 29 (1996), I stayed up until well past midnight watching the election returns in Israel. It was a real cliffhanger, as Bibi Netanyahu defeated Shimon Peres by less than one percent of the vote. Peres won the Arab vote by a large majority, but Netanyahu beat him badly enough among Jewish voters, who made up more than 90 percent of the electorate, to win. He did it by promising to be tougher on terrorism and slower with the peace process, and by using American-style television ads, including some attacking Peres that were made with the help of a Republican media advisor from New York. Peres resisted the pleas of his supporters to answer the ads until the very end of the campaign, and by then it was too late. I thought Shimon had done a good job as prime minister, and he had given his entire life to the state of Israel, but in 1996, by a narrow margin, Netanyahu proved to be a better politician”.
With the scurrilous adversarial TV ads pioneered by Espino and Braganza, election campaign in Pangasinan and the country would never be the same again.
 (Send comments at

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Another grenade hurls at P’sinan mayor’s house

Unperturbed: Mayor Perez

URDANETA CITY - An unidentified person lobbed recently a grenade at the house of this city’s top executive making it the second bomb throwing incident at a mayor’s house in Pangasinan since the start of the local election campaign period in March 29 this year.
 Mayor Amadeo Gregorio E Perez IV said that when his servant went out to clean the front yard with a broom she found a grenade without a pin lying idly near the main door. “It was around 6 in the morning the time she would be doing her everyday's chores,” Perez said on the servant who was horrified to see a grenade blocking her way.
“That day was my birthday and I and my family were preparing to attend the morning’s mass,” Perez stressed.
After the discovery, policemen here took the grenade from the mayor’s house for safety.
 A police source, who asked anonymity, said that the explosive was a U.S made apple-type grenade.
 Two days before the tossing, Perez was the gracious host to 28 Pangasinan mayors mostly from the Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition at his residence here with their honored guest President Benigno Simeon Aquino III – a member of the Liberal Party.
 A mayor in Central Pangasinan ,who was on that meeting but asked not to be named, said that the president and LP gubernatorial bet Hernani Braganza broke from their senatorial and local ticket entourage and went at Perez’s house to meet with the mayors of the rival NPC.
 He said that aside from the mayor, his father Amadito – the former town mayor here and the incumbent chair of Manila Economic and Cultural Office entertained the president and Braganza.
 In that meeting, the source said, Aquino told the mayors that he would still be the president of the land for the next three years.
 He exhorted them that incase they support the electoral bid of Braganza they can expect assistance from his office.
The NPC mayors support the reelection of Pangasinan governor Amada T. Espino.
 “Sa 82 probinsiya sa Pilipinas, ngayon lang ako naki-usap na tulungan ninyo ang kandidato ko sa pagka-gobernador,” the mayor quoted the president.
 He said many of the mayors were disappointed after that meeting because President Aquino did not give them financial assistance for their supposed aid to Braganza.
10 days before the throwing of the grenade at the house of Mayor Perez, the residence of Bugallon Mayor Ric Orduna was blasted by a World War II fragmentation type grenade.
 According to police investigation the grenade, lobbed at 1:35 A.M, damaged the front door and the gutter wall of Orduna’s house.
No one was hurt on the blast.

Joe de V. out of touch of situation in Pangasinan – Baraan


 Former Speaker Joe de Venecia must have been absent from Pangasinan for a long time, that he does not know what is happening in his own province.
This was the immediate reaction of Pangasinan Provincial Administrator Rafael Howard F. Baraan to statements made by the retired Speaker, who claimed that the re-electionist governor had done nothing while in office. Baraan was reacting to a press release made by the Liberal Party-Braganza wing, quoting de Venecia as telling local leaders in the 4th district of Pangasinan to junk re-electionist Espino in favor of Alaminos Mayor Braganza.
De Venecia, according to the LP press release, called an emergency meeting in central Pangasinan early this week to try to convince local leaders to abandon Gov. Espino.
 The meeting was called after a pre-election survey by a reputable research company showed an overwhelming and irreversible victory by Espino and his vice governor in the whole province, including de Venecia’s bailiwick.
 According to Quezon City-based Data Advisors, Inc., Espino is preferred by 78.5% of voters over rival Nani Braganza who got only 21.1% of the votes. “The track record of Gov. Espino speaks for itself. Numerous regional and national awards that the province reaped are testimonies to this,” Baraan pointed out. Among those awards, he said, were:
 · Region I Champion, DILG Gawad Pamana ng Lahi (considered as the mother of all local governance awards)
· Hall of Fame, Regional Best Performing Province in Local Governance for three consecutive champion, 2010 to 2012
 · Hall of Fame, Best Regional Development Agenda Project implementer, 2010-2012
 · Hall of Fame, Regional Best LGU Practices (Project level) for 2010-2012
· Hall of Fame, Regional Best Medium Term Development Goal (MDG) project implementer, 2010-2012
 · Hall of Fame, Most Statistically Advanced Province in Region I, 2008-2101
· Hall of Fame, Regional Best Coastal Resources Management Program implementer, 2008- 2010, and · Hall of Fame, Regional Best Performing Province in Local Governance, 2010-2011
Aside from being acknowledged as the Best Performing Province in Region I, Pangasinan is also awarded by the DILG as the 4th Best Performing Province in the whole country. So, I wonder where Speaker Joe de Venecia got his erroneous, if not politically malicious, pronouncements, Baraan said.

Votes for sale


 MANILA, Philippines – Local races are often marred with allegations of vote buying and vote selling, making you wonder whether the strategy is more cost-efficient compared to running a clean campaign. Some operators say that not all sums given to voters are blatant forms of bribery. They explain that sums are distributed to “facilitate” the voting of people who do not have the means to travel to their voting precincts or who could not afford to be away from their day jobs. The money given to them by candidates is intended to make voting an easier, less painful exercise. Admittedly, the subtle message is that the voter at the receiving end should vote for the candidate who gave the money through his ward leaders.
 In true Philippine fashion, elections are a lot about organization as they are about machinery. In the past elections, as in the present, “ward leaders” are tapped to organize communities and even families, down to the barangay level. Money, health cards, and other goods are distributed down the vote chain, with ward leaders accounting for every family member-beneficiary who is, more often than not, counted on to add to a candidate’s vote tally. Some candidates are methodical in their approach, making sure that an organized machinery delivers the votes with clear accountabilities.
The organization begins at the district level where a campaign coordinator finds contacts in each district area. They in turn work with specific barangay captains who, in turn, identify key people at the purok level. Moving further down, they find leaders at the precinct level who then tap pollwatchers who are expected to work for a candidate and get paid in exchange. The objective is to recruit coordinators who will take on various tasks and look for others to bring into the fold, similar to a pyramid style of recruitment. In many ways, campaign teams can argue they are not buying votes but providing employment. This is also why elections are often referred to as a cottage industry that provides short-term employment. After all, transactions are legitimate but are borderline cases of vote buying. Vote selling, vote buying Through the years, amounts given out to voters have varied – depending on poverty levels in a community or the financial capability of candidates. This year’s elections show how the players are improving on established forms of vote transactions.
 For instance, in the highly urbanized Cagayan de Oro City, groups of people organize and sell their votes through “coordinators” in each barangay who then sell them “wholesale” to a politician.
 Prices in the hinterlands, where many of the city's informal sector live, start “for as low as P1,000 per head.” (Read here about similar tactic of wholesale vote selling in Pampanga a few elections ago.) The ward leaders or coordinators on the ground are “well taken care of” and are often loyal to a candidate’s campaign – unless they are mistreated or pirated by another.
These coordinators serve as middlemen who broker the vote-buying transactions between voters and politicians. In other cases, buyers go door-to-door, but transactions often happen the night before elections. To make sure that money is not wasted and to include beneficiaries in their database of voters, some voters are asked to fill up forms.
 “There is a form to be filled out, asking us about our personal details. My friend filled it out for me. They gave the name of the politician to vote for, and we got money in exchange,” one voter in Ilocos Norte said in the local dialect.
 In Dumaguete City, an election volunteer confirmed that the vote-buying rate for a single candidate is pegged at P2,000. Voters are given a slightly lower P1,500 if they vote for the candidate's opponent but deface the ballot to nullify their vote.
 In Samar, one of the country’s poorest provinces, amounts given to individual voters go as high as P5,000 to P7,000. A resident of Barangay Margot in Angeles, Pampanga, said civilians are given P200 for their votes, while NGO leaders and officials are given P500 each.
In an area called “Pulo” in the province of Cavite, voters are gathered and taken to a different barangay for the distribution of P500 bills by a gubernatorial bet’s “representative.”
 In Metro Manila, where urban poor areas abound and are more congested, rates also range from P300 to P500 per voter.

 While vote-buying is common practice, not everyone who receives cash are voters. A resident of Guiguinto, Bulacan, in his late 40s and nephew of a local candidate said his uncle had to pay off the armed rebel group New People’s Army to ensure he would be able to campaign freely. “P50,000 lang naman hiningi (They just asked for P50,000),” he said, implying that the money spent was worth it. “Kesa manggulo sila, eh di bigyan mo na lang (Instead of having them cause disorder, just hand them money),” he added.
 The NPA’s permit to campaign requirements have been a headache for many candidates caught in tight races. Needing to reach either remote areas or parts of the country where NPAs have a presence, they are forced to deal with armed groups. No less than Maj Gen Jose Mabanta, commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said that candidates who want to be able to access rebel-controlled areas pay between P50,000 to P5 million. The rebel group denies this.
 Other forms of money distribution exist.

 Wads of cash are distributed to local officials such as barangay captains and councilors, to make sure that candidates for higher-level posts have local support. The barangay chairmen contact the purok leaders to do the dirty job, often distributing as low as P200 per voter. Wizened and veteran politicians know that many barangay captains can be turncoats at the last minute or end up pocketing the money themselves. This has led some to estimate that in the end, only 20% can be relied on to actually keep their word. Local politicians also maximize their net gain in cash during the election season by approaching and asking “support” from multiple candidates, even competing ones, in secret.
 In some cases, they even approach gubernatorial or congressional bets from the rival party. This is what happens when there are no genuine political parties.
 What equal opportunity?

 Lawyer Takahiro Kenjie Aman, national secretariat head of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) Philippines, said vote-buying strikes at the core of the right of suffrage. “It defeats the equality principle in elections, as it gives advantage to candidates who can afford to release money to win,” he explained. Even as electoral laws contain provisions that help candidates who are disadvantaged in wealth an equal opportunity to win, elections are still very much a money game.
 Aman said the best way to combat vote buying is to make the vote buyers feel that it is not worth their money. “It is more difficult to ask people not to receive the money, especially if they have a hungry stomach to feed, than to ask candidates not to shell out money when [they know] it doesn’t translate to votes,” he said.

 The Commission on Elections, in a resolution dated May 7, has imposed a limit on money withdrawal and permitted the warrantless citizen arrest of vote-buyers and sellers to send a strong message to election offenders. Late last year, Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca proposed a stronger enforcement of the law by having vote buyers arrested. But prosecuting offenders is becoming increasingly hard, as the culture spreads and very few are willing to speak against those in power. “No one reports anything, because everyone is afraid of the politician and is accepting of the vote buying tradition,” an Ilocos voter said.
 The evidence needed to establish probable cause is also a challenge for most ordinary citizens. “To initiate a case for vote-buying, there must be a sworn complaint affidavit, a sworn affidavit of witnesses if there is any, a picture of the vote buying transaction and the money used to buy votes as real evidence,” Aman explained. Criminal act

 Vote buying is a criminal act, and it should be treated that way. It undermines the desired effect of the entire electoral process: to reflect the preferences of a constituency. The exchange unduly places a sense of obligation, a feeling of intrinsic reciprocity on the part of the voter. Both vote buyer and seller are criminally liable, with a penalty of imprisonment from one year to 6 years, under Philippine law. “Perhaps politicians think it’s a way of assuring people that they’re there to help, [that] they did not forget, but that’s just putting it a little too nicely. Maybe it’s a habit they can’t kick, like cigarette smoking or pot,” added the Ilocos Norte voter, disillusioned, as his initial preference for mayor who he thought ran a clean campaign, was the one who actually bought his vote. - with reports from Giano Libot, Therene Quijano, Tricia Villaluz, and Faye Sales/ Share this page and pledge to #votesmart by clicking on the button below.

JDV junks Espino, endorses Braganza for guv

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.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Braganza's Aggressive and Adversarial TV Ads

Braganza: Go for  broke at GMA-7 and


 In my conversation before with former governor Victor Agbayani and Vice Governor Ferdinand Calimlim they told me that a candidate for governorship and vice governorship could not barnstorm the 1,333 villages Pangasinan even in a year’s campaign.
 Agbayani said when he challenged Governor Amado T. Espino in 2010 he was only able to cover 500 barangays. Here’s what the take of Vice Governor Calimlim when I hobnobbed with him two months ago: “Kahit sa isang termino hindi mo kayang ikotin, even in three years. Lahat ng bayan, okay. Lahat ng barangay ikot mo medyo (okay). But think of it, there are 365 days in a year while there are 1,333 barangays. And some of those barangays are so remote aabutin ng ilang oras bago ka makakarating from the town proper. So kung iyon lang ang gagawin mo araw-araw puede mong maikot ng three years”.

 Thus the gubernatorial contest between Governor Espino and his challenger Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza (who started to make public his intention to run for governor late last year only) can be effectively fought on TV and not so much on talk-radio (FM and AM), newspaper, and loudspeaker equipped vehicles.
The last three modes could not substitute the all encompassing power reached by the boobtube on the seas, on the oceans, in the air, on the beaches, on the grounds, on the fields, and on the hills, on the prairie, and so on – to paraphrase the great speech “Never Surrender” by the rabble rouser non-pareil former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill – the idol of Speaker Joe de Venecia.

 A 30 second ads slot aired at GMA-7 and ABS CBN’s popular soap opera, and their prime time news in the morning and the evening, where families gather in a living room to watch the latest shows, is potent.
 In case Braganza loses in this election, he could review how his TV message effectively influenced the mindset of the masses to vote for him instead of Espino.
Probably his pro people advocacy cum TV ads were not enough to persuade the voters to go for him.
 Or perhaps he needs the adversarial U.S political style TV ads that showed the bad sides of the opponent on TV (I saw him doing this on his TV ads at ABS-CBN last May 3 and days later at GMA-7).
 In case Nani wins despite the 78.5% of Espino and 21.1% of Nani at the polls conducted last April 19-25 by Data Advisors, Inc.), it means his present aggressive and combative more than half-a-million pesos TV ads a day, although late, are more than enough to become a game changer just like the U.S Stinger anti-helicopter missiles used by the Talibans in Afghanistan versus the horrified Russians in the 1980s.
I can still remember how a scathing TV advertisement brought to public office Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu (the younger brother of a hero Colonel Yoni Netanyahu who was killed at the Operation Entebe in Uganda) of Israel.
To quote what former U.S President Bill Clinton said  on his 957 pages hard bound book "My Life" my brother from California gave to me years ago: "On May 29 (1996), I stayed up until well past midnight watching the election returns in Israel. It was a real cliffhanger, as Bibi Netanyahu defeated Shimon Peres by less than 1 percent of the vote. Peres won the Arab vote by a large majority, but Netanyahu beat him badly enough among Jewish voters, who made up more than 90 percent of the electorate, to win. He did it by promising to be tougher on terrorism and slower with the peace process, and by using American-style television ads, including some attacking Peres that were made with the help of a Republican media advisor from New York. Peres resisted the pleas of his supporters to answer the ads until the very end of the campaign, and by then it was too late".
With few days more to go before the candidates are barred by law to campaign, the spin-minsters of Amado T. Espino should answer with their own TV ads on the same TV stations the damaging TV ads of Braganza on Espino's alleged involvement of the latter on black sand, murder of Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez, and the plunder case filled by Bugallon Mayor Ric Orduna.
They should remember what Nazi propagandist Herr Joseph Goebells had famously said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
 Oh by the way, don’t you know that a 30 second slot, just like what  Braganza and Espino have been zealously doing lately, for the prime time ads in a local GMA-7 in Northern Luzon cost a candidate Php90,000. If Nani and Espino got six of them each everyday, geez that’s already an arm and leg of fortune for a lower middle class family.
But son of a gun, politics is a game for the moneyed. That’s why the Yanks have this expression: “Show me the money!
 Here’s another one: A 30 second advertisement for national viewership for a senatorial candidate cost him/her half a million pesos according to Attorney Felipe Gozon, Chief Executive of GMA Network, Inc. In a news report senatorial bet Teddy Casino said that a 30 second slot ads in ABS-CBN for national viewership cost Php 500,000. A reporter of Bombo Radyo reacted to my earlier column “Block Time War Rages”. He said it was not true that the 30 minute block time in the morning prime time program availed by Espino and Braganza cost each of them Php18,000. “Our one hour discounted rate is Php 52,000. Each of these candidates availed everyday except Sunday of the block time to promote themselves and demolish their rivals”.
 Geez, that’s a lot of money!
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Mayors assail Roxas

By Christine F. Herrera

 Pangasinan mayors belonging to the Nationalist People’s Coalition have rebuffed President Aquino and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas after the latter threatened them with “lifestyle check,” a move that lent credence to the growing cracks in the LP-led coalition.
 At a meeting over the weekend, Roxas told the mayors the lifestyle check would come should the vote-rich Pangasinan fail to deliver votes for the ruling Liberal Party’s Team Pnoy and gubernatorial bet Mayor Hernani Braganza, according to the mayors. “Mar Roxas would do to us what the ruling Liberal Party did to Governor Amado Espino. Who is he trying to scare? Who is he trying to impress?” the mayors said. Pangasinan, which has 1.8 million registered voters, is supposed to be “sona libre” but the high-handed handling of the party issues does not speak well of the arrangement.
 Espino is the provincial chairman of the NPC while Braganza is the provincial chairman (The provincial chairman of LP in Pangasinan is former governor Victor Agbayani. Braganza is the LP chairman in Alaminos City where is the incumbent mayor - Administrator) of the LP.
 The mayors, who requested anonymity, described Roxas’ hard-sell approach to make Braganza win as “desperate moves” and violative of the Zona Libre (free zone) principle.
 They also complained that Roxas, LP campaign manager Senator Franklin Drilon and Braganza deliberately tried to make the President avoid meeting Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino when the governor and 18 mayors met the chief executive at the Lingayen airport. “When the President’s chopper landed, the chopper was parked very far from the usual landing area, where the governor and his entourage were waiting. There was already a car waiting the President to transport him to Urdaneta,” the mayor said.
 However, the mayor said, the President saw his cousin, former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco, who was with Espino, and so the President walked to them and shook their hands. “Mar Roxas, Drilon and Braganza did not want the President to even shake hands with Espino. They want Braganza to be seen with the President. But Espino was there as governor welcoming the President to his province,” one of the mayors said.
 The 18 mayors, who were outside of the airport’s hangar, failed to see the President, the source said. From Lingayen airport, the President went straight to Urdaneta, where he met with 28 other mayors belonging to the NPC, the source said.
 In the whole of Pangasinan, the NPC has 38 of the 42 incumbent mayors.

Bukas na Liham ni Governor Espino

Governor Amado T. Espino (4th from Left)
Ako po ay taos-pusong nagpapasalamat sa ibinigay niyong suporta sa aking administrasyon bilang gobernador ng Pangasinan simula noong taon 2007. Sa halos anim na taon, sama-sama natin naitaas ang estado ng Pangasinan mula sa isang lalawigan na napag-iiwanan, at tila walang direksyon, hanggang sa ito’y naging matatatag, masigla at maunlad, ayon sa adhikain na gawin ang Pangasinan bilang pinakamagandang lugar upang mamuhunan, magtrabaho, mamuhay at magtaguyod ng pamilya. Dahil sa ating pagsusumikap at pagkakaisa, umani ng sunod-sunod na parangal ang ating lalawigan kung kaya’t tayo ngayon ay kinikilala bilang 4th Best Performing Province sa buong bansa, at Numero Uno sa Region I sa iba’t-ibang larangan tulad ng pangkalusugan, turismo, agrikultura, estadistika, at pamamahala. Bukod sa nakamit na mga parangal, nabigyang-buhay rin natin ng kahalagahan ang ating mayamang kultura at pamana ng lahi sa pamamagitan ng pagkilala ng tunay na Agew na Pangasinan, sa paglunsad ng I Love Pangasinan Movement, pagkakaroon ng kauna-unang History Development Book at ang puspusan pagsasanay sa ating mga anak na matutong gamitin ang sariling wikang Pangasinan, upang manatiling buhay ang ating kultura at salita sa mga susunod na henerasyon. Ang lahat ng tagumpay na ating nakamit ay patunay lamang na tama ang landas na ating tinatahak.
 Nakakalungkot lamang isipin na ang aking katunggali sa darating na halalan ay nasanay sa mapanirang pulitika, na ang tanging hangarin ay ang durugin ang buhay ng isang tao matupad lamang ang ambisyon na maluklok bilang gobernador ng ating lalawigan. Kung anu-anong kaso na ang ibinato sa akin, sa hangarin na ako ay makulong. Ito ang labis na ikinasama ng loob ng nakararami, lalo na ang aking ina na inatake pa sa puso at hanggang ngayon ay nasa pagamutan pa. Ang mga kasong ito ay punong-puno ng kasinungalingan, panlilinlang at mga inimbentong mga paratang na siya ring nagtaboy sa mga ilang negosyante na nais sanang mamuhunan sa ating bayan.
 Noong pang Disyembre ng nakaraang taon, pinagbabalita na niya na ako raw ay makukulong at maaalis sa pwesto. Nang hindi ito nangyari, umatras nang umatras ang sinasabi niyang petsa nang aking pagkaka-kulong, una noong March 29, at nang walang nangyari, umatras sa April 19. At hanggang ngayon wala pa rin nangyayari, kaya umatras na naman ang petsa, at sa April 30 na raw ako makukulong.
 Hindi ba kayo nakakahalata na puro panlilinlang, at kasinungalingan ang kanyang ginagawa? Sa lahat ng ating pinagdadaanan, nananalig ako sa hustiya at sa Poong Maykapal. Alam ko na batid Niya ang marubdob kong pagmamahal, at ng buong Team Espino, sa ating lalawigan. Gayun din, ako’y nananalig din sa tulong ng aking mga kababayan. Huwag natin hayaang masira ang lahat ng ating magagandang sinimulan. Marapat lamang na tayo ay magtulungan upang tuloy-tuloy na ang pagbabago, asenso at progreso ng Pangasinan. At kung ang inyong lingkod ay mabibigyan pa ng isang pagkakataon, sa pangatlong yugto ng ating panunungkulan, isusunod na natin ang mga higanteng proyekto gaya ng seaport, airport at eco-zones na magbibigay sa atin ng mabulaslas na kaunlaran tungo sa magandang kinabukasan para sa ating mga anak, at para sa mga susunod na henerasyon. Ang laban kong ito ay laban nating lahat. Muli, maging mapagmatyag po tayo. Bantayan po nating mabuti ang ating mga boto at sama-sama natin abutin ang ating ginintuang mithiin na gawin Number 1 ang Pangasinan sa buong Pilipinas. Maraming salamat po. Ang inyong abang lingkod, 


Final SWS pre-poll survey gives Team PNoy 9-3 edge

THE senatorial race results could be either 8-4 or 9-3 in favor of the administration Team PNoy, the May 2-3 Social Weather Stations survey showed. 
 The survey, the last of SWS’ pre-election polls, had 2,400 respondents and a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent. Re-electionists Loren Legarda and Alan Peter Cayetano, both of Team PNoy, still ranked first and second place, which has been the trend since March. Nancy Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance and Sen. Francis Escudero of Team PNoy were tied for third and fourth place.
 Escudero recovered from his 5th place ranking last April. Administration bet Grace Poe Llamanzares, who used to be at No. 10, has seized fifth place. Rep. Joseph Victor Ejercito of UNA and former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar (Team PNoy) were tied at sixth and seventh. Ejercito used to be tied with Team PNoy’s Aquilino Pimentel III for 7th-8th place, while Villar had ranked third with Binay. Pimentel was still at No. 8. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV of Team PNoy had dropped from sixth to ninth. Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, both administration candidates, tied for 10th-11th rank. Angara had been at No. 9 while Trillanes’ position was unchanged. 
 UNA’s Gregorio Honasan took the 12th spot. Still having a shot at a Senate seat are Rep. Juan Ponce Enrile Jr. (UNA) at 13th place, Ramon Magsaysay Jr. (Team PNoy) and Juan Miguel Zubiri (UNA) at 14th-15th, and Risa Hontiveros (Team PNoy) at 16th place. (Malaya)