Pangasinan: ‘Game of (retired) generals’By Yolanda Sotelo
Inquirer Northern Luzon
DAGUPAN CITY—Pangasinan, which accounts for 60 percent of voters in the Ilocos region, has also the most number of retired generals either running for reelection or gunning for new positions in next year’s elections.
A “game of the (retired) generals” looms in this vote-rich province with the Liberal Party’s (LP’s) recruitment of two former Philippine National Police director generals in its fold.
LP provincial vice chair Oscar Lambino said former PNP Chief Arturo Lomibao took his oath as party member last week, while the son of former PNP Chief Jesus Verzosa will run for mayor of Dasol in western Pangasinan.
Lomibao would likely be the LP chair in the fourth district and its mayoral candidate in his hometown Mangaldan. Verzosa’s son, Eric, said his father was supposed to run for mayor but the family decided to field him instead.
Lambino said there was still a possibility that the older Verzosa would run for congressman of the first district. “He is a potential candidate,” he said.
As LP members, the two retired police generals would be supporting the candidacy of Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza, who has announced his plan to run for the province’s top post, and his running mate, former Gov. Victor Agbayani.
Their support for Braganza is seen as a combination of the left and right wings as Braganza was a known activist during the Marcos regime when he was a college student.
Braganza is set to challenge twice-elected Gov. Amado Espino Jr., a police superintendent (colonel) himself before he joined politics as congressman in 2004. Espino used to be a member of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino before he joined the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) in April.
Braganza also has the support of Bani Mayor Marcelo Navarro, another retired police general and a classmate of Espino at the Philippine Military Academy.
Bugallon Mayor Ric Orduña, a former police sergeant, and his brother Paterno, a former police colonel, have also thrown their support behind Braganza’s candidacy.
Lambino said two retired police generals—Rolando Magno and Roger Danoli—also applied as LP members and would run for mayor of Bugallon (Magno) and Calasiao (Danoli).
Rosales Mayor Ricardo Revita, a retired police colonel, had joined the LP but his wife would run for mayor as he is on his last term.
But Espino does not lack support from former police colleagues either.
Reelectionist Second District Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil, another retired police general, also expressed his support for Espino’s bid for a third term.
Former Sta. Barbara Mayor Reynaldo Velasco, another retired police general, is running for the same post he lost in 2010, while Laoac Mayor Silverio Alarcio, another retired police general, is running for reelection. The two are NPC members and will support Espino.