POSTSCRIPT / September 16, 2012 / Sunday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Gov. Pineda rules out running against GMA

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – There was relief among Capampangans who resent political meddling by outsiders to learn from Gov. Lilia G. Pineda herself that no pressure could make her run in 2013 against Rep. Gloria M. Arroyo of the second district.

Before the statement of “Nanay Baby” – as the philanthropic governor is popularly known here – reports were rife that Malacañang was pressuring her husband Bong Pineda to tell her to run against Ms Arroyo, her kumara and townmate in Lubao.

The Arroyo-Pineda battle royal reportedly aims to put to a quick finish the political career of the former president. Being a congresswoman gives her a measure of political leverage.

Hounded by the Aquino administration, Ms Arroyo has been charged with election fraud and plunder. She is out on bail, but has been barred by Malacañang from going abroad to seek medical attention for her critical medical condition.

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GMA UNBEATABLE?: The conventional wisdom is that there is no Pampanga politician who can defeat Ms Arroyo in her district except possibly Nanay Baby, whose resources and social work remain unmatched in this province of around 1.8 million voters.

With the governor having closed the door to her running against Ms Arroyo, the ruling Liberal Party is left without a viable candidate in her district composed of the towns of Floridablanca, Guagua, Lubao, Porac, Santa Rita and Sasmuan teeming with 275,000 voters.

The only possible contenders being mentioned are Mayor Oscar S. Rodriguez of this capital city and priest-on-leave Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio who lost to Pineda in 2010.

Rodriguez has made it known, however, that he wants to reclaim in 2013 his congressional seat representing the third district.

The last word from Among Ed is that he is not running, which means he is likely to return to his priestly ministry if his superior, Archbishop Paciano Anicerto of San Fernando, allows him.

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NO PRESSURE: Denying she is being pressured to run for congresswoman in Arroyo’s district, Ms Pineda said nobody in the administration would think of asking her to join the Liberal party or fielding her as a congresswoman.

(The reports, however, were about pressure being brought to bear not on her but on her husband who has been linked to jueteng operations.)

The governor said she was “neither inclined nor interested to become a congresswoman because my preference is more on public administration which deals with programs and services that directly serve the people, particularly the vulnerable and the poorest of the poor.”

“That’s my line of expertise and not on legislation,” the governor said.

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WORST-HIT: Pampanga was the worst hit in the recent flooding of provinces around Metro Manila. The governor said much of her time is now devoted to attending to her cabalen affected by the torrential rains and widespread inundation.

Coordinating with the Department of Public Works and Highways, the provincial engineering office and the local governments, the governor is rushing measures to save flood-threatened communities especially in the third and the fourth districts.

She thanked President Noynoy Aquino who, she said, is providing Philhealth cards to more than 47,000 Capampangan families under the National Household Targeting System, as well as other assistance including conditional cash transfer, farm machineries, certified seeds, construction of farm-to-market roads, irrigation canals, roads and bridges.

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INQUIRY A DUD: To many Capampnagans, the inquiry led by Sen. Miriam Santiago into the Rico Puno phenomenon last Friday registered as a dud as it failed to bring out additional information on jueteng, an illegal numbers game flourishing in this province.

Santiago, chair of the Senate committee on revision of laws, failed to deliver on her advertised intention to unmask the powerful person behind resigned DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno and update data on juetengto which Puno had been linked.

Director General Nicanor Bartolome of the Philippine National Police, when asked, promised to identifyjueteng lords — but only in executive session. Nobody followed up that offer.

Retired Bishop Oscar Cruz merely rolled out his old figures (P30 billion gross annually) on the extent ofjueteng operations nationwide. He lamented that while everybody on the ground knows what is going on, nobody high in the Executive Department seems interested in acting on the problem.

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AWARD FOR OCA: Sept. 19 is a red-letter day for Mayor Rodriguez, who is going to Malacañang that day to receive the 2012 Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award for “outstanding performance and exceptional service to the government.”

Other government personnel will be similarly awarded for their sterling performance in office. The Malacañang ceremony will highlight the celebration of the Philippine Service anniversary.

Lingkod Bayan awardees were chosen on the basis of noteworthiness of their outstanding performance or contribution; impact of performance; reliability and effectiveness; consistency of performance; and extent of teamwork and cooperation.

Chairman Francisco T. Duque of the Civil Service Commission said a Presidential Lingkod Bayan awardee (individual) will receive a presidential plaque and medallion, automatic salary increase equal to the next higher position, and a cash reward of P200,000.

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HALL OF FAMER: Rodriguez is the president of the League of Cities of the Philippines and the Executive Vice President of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.

In 2005, he ranked fourth among all city mayors worldwide in the World Mayor Project. While his city administration was acknowledged as a model in private sector mobilization, he was recognized as a model leader and a resource speaker on “Horizontal Governance” in several countries.

Under his leadership, San Fernando was elevated in 2010 to Hall of Fame for Executing Strategy (Palladium Balanced Scorecard) awarded by Norton and Caplan, Harvard, Massachusetts.

The next year, the city was elevated to Hall of Fame as Business Friendly City by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries Philippine Business Conference.

San Fernando was the Galing Pook 2008 awardee for “making governance a shared responsibility.” It was also awarded by the CL League of Governors as Best LGU Practitioner in Streamlining Business Permit Issuance.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of September 16, 2012)

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