POSTSCRIPT / May 24, 2016 / Tuesday
IS THE POLITICAL clout in Pampanga of Gov. Lilia “Baby” Pineda and her businessman husband Bong waning? The results of the last May 9 local elections seem to hint at it.
Because of their affluence and influence, the Pinedas were expected to sweep Pampanga. But how come none of the four congressmen, none of the three city mayors, and only 11 of the 19 town mayors elected came from her political party Kambilan (Shield) and its allies?
Or maybe the correct question to ask is: Wat appeng — where did the money go?
The putting up of their own Kambilan was itself a signal that the Pinedas felt they could stand on their own without having to kowtow to the national political parties. (The long name of their party, btw, is “Kapanalig at Kambilan ding Memalen Pampanga.”)
The May 9 election results may have put in doubt the assumption that the Pineda’s clout in Pampanga is a political factor to contend with.
In the first district, the Pinedas supported incumbent Yeng Guiao running under the flag of the Liberal Party. He lost to Carmelo Lazatin III of Lingap Lugud (Care, Love).
Running unopposed for a third term in the second district, the wheelchair-bound former President Gloria Arroyo (Lakas) won. No Pineda factor there.
But Atching Gloria and her Lubao townmate Baby Pineda being bosom friends, the governor’s endorsing the LP lineup in a rally on the capitolio grounds on March 17 attended by President Noynoy Aquino (Ms Arroyo’s tormentor!) raised eyebrows.
It is significant that despite Pineda’s endorsing the Daang Matuwid tandem of Mar-Roxas and Leni Robredo, Pampanga voted last May 9 for the mixed pair ofRody Duterte and Bongbong Marcos.
Another LP favorite supported by Pineda was Rep. Oscar Rodriguez, third district reelectionist. Although he got more votes in the capital city of San Fernando, he was swamped by the votes of the followers of Aurelio Gonzales Jr. (NPC) in the other towns.
In the fourth district, Nacionalista Party’s Juan Pablo Bondoc trounced Pineda’s candidate Jun Tetangco (NPC).
■ Pineda’s mayoral winners, losers listed
IN MY hometown of Mabalacat (now a city, believe it or not!), Pineda backed NPC’s Crisostomo Garbo for mayor, but the challenger was no match for the staying power of Boking Morales (Aksyon).
In Angeles City, incumbent Edgardo Pamintuan (PAK) repulsed movie haction star Lito Lapid, former chair of the one-man Senate committee on silence. In adjacent San Fernando, city mayor Edwin Santiago (LP) was reelected. In Candaba, independent Danilo Baylon unseated incumbent Rene Maglanque(LP).
Pineda candidates for mayor who were wiped out as the call for change swept Pampanga (pop 2.2 million) include:
• Magalang – Romulo Pekson (Kambilan) lost to Malu Lacson (NPC).
• Floridablanca – Leck Guerrero (Kambilan) lost to Darwin Manalansan (Lakas).
• Guagua – Anthony Twano (Kambilan) lost to Dante Torres (LP).
• Bacolor – Buddy Dungca (Kambilan) lost to Jomar Hizon (LP).
• Mexico – Roy Manalastas (Kambilan) lost to Teddy Tumang (LP).
• Sta. Ana – Tek Concepcion (Kambilan) lost to Norberto Gamboa (LP).
• Sto. Tomas – Matias Pineda ((Kambilan) lost to John Sambo (NP).
On the other hand, these Pineda mayoral candidates or endorsee (under Kambilan, LP or NPC) got elected:
Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab (Lubao), Carling dela Cruz (Porac), Dagi Salalila (Sta. Rita), Nardo Velasco (Sasmuan), Bon Alejandrino (Arayat), Peter Nucom (Apalit),Annette Balgan (Macabebe), Dan Guintu (Masantol), Edgar Flores (Minalin),Venancio Macapagal (San Luis), and Leonora Wong (San Simon).
■ End of jueteng, masiao under Duterte?
PRESIDENT-ELECT Rody Duterte must have felt so strongly against jueteng, masiao and other illegal games of chance that he declared early in his campaign to crush them during his term.
As a local executive with his feet on the ground, the Davao mayor has seen the corrosive effects of run-away gambling on the masses’ morals and well-being. In contrast, President Aquino in his six years in office never seemed to have noticed this glaring social ill.
Duterte’s moves are being closely watched, however, as his announced policy might just result in a reincarnation of jueteng into another form of mass gambling similar to the small-town lottery (mostly in the grip of the usual gambling lords and their official protectors).
Former Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson once testified in the Senate that jueteng payola went all the way to the top. He claimed having regularly delivered millions to Malacañang in suitcases. He also talked of payments, by the millions, to police and local officials.
But the Senate hearing was terminated with nothing triable being gathered and organized. The alleged remedial legislation, the eternal excuse for such inquiries, never materialized.
Now Duterte is singing a similar tune of stopping jueteng. As in his other attention-grabbing reform ideas, he has not given details on how he would do it.
An official claiming to have inside dope said an idea being considered is for the franchises for the small-town lottery version of jueteng to be taken away from the known jueteng lords and turned over to local governments.
In effect, the payola going to police and local officials will be legitimized, but made payable instead to the LGUs for use of their projects and services. Tuloy pa rin ang jueteng under another guise with different (but legit, auditable and transparent) beneficiaries.
Maybe the bright idea is that since gambling is as old as humanity, we might as well live with it, regulate it and make good use of it.
(First published in The Philippine STAR of May 24, 2016)
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