Latest Stories

Basketball behind allies’ split


Blame it on basketball.

A disagreement over a referee’s call during a local basketball league involving both their sons triggered the falling out between Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino Jr. and his trusted aide, Bugallon town Mayor Rodrigo Orduña, which led to the latter’s exposé of the governor’s alleged involvement in jueteng (an illegal numbers game).

In an exclusive interview with the Inquirer on Wednesday night, Orduña said he decided to cut his ties with Espino when the governor and his supporters threatened to “wipe out” members of the Orduña clan in Pangasinan.

“Uubusin namin ang lahat ng (we will wipe out the) Orduña (clan). Let’s just (see) what will happen when your father is no longer mayor,” Orduña quoted one of Espino’s supporters telling his son.

The mayor said the conflict between him and Espino started when he refused to grant a mayor’s permit to a “crushing plant” that the governor allegedly owns in Bugallon.

He said the crushing plant processes rocks, gravel and other “soil aggregates” for the infrastructure projects of the Pangasinan provincial government.

Punched the referee

The mayor added that the tension between him and Espino escalated sometime last year when the younger Orduña accosted and punched a referee who, he said, favored the basketball team of Espino’s son.

“My son was just watching the basketball game. But he could not take (the referee’s call) in favor of the team of Espino’s son,” the mayor said.  Espino had sponsored the basketball league, he added.

After the incident, Orduña said Espino’s son and supporters immediately ran to the governor and told him what happened.

He thought Espino would mediate between their sons and “patch things up like a father,” Orduña said, but “instead, (the governor) agreed to his supporters’ plan to look for my son (and) beat him up. It was then that they started to threaten our family,” he said.

That was the trigger, said the mayor, who said it was a painful decision for him to turn against the governor.

“I treated him like a father. Our clan regarded him as family,” he said. “Pinakain niya lang daw kami sa kanyang palad (he claimed we fed at his hand),” Orduña said.

Before he decided to blow the whistle on Espino, the mayor said he consulted members of his family who, he said, agreed that it was time to distance themselves from the governor.


Anger and bitterness

“I suddenly felt all the anger and bitterness that I had been keeping against him all these years. I thought this was the best time to reveal what I know about his involvement in jueteng.”

Added the mayor: “(Espino) said the Orduña clan was just his creation. It’s actually the other way around. Our family adopted him in Bugallon because he was originally from Bautista town, which is located in the fifth congressional district. He knew he couldn’t win as congressman there so he moved to Bugallon.”

Orduña claimed that the police officer-turned-politician used the money he earned from the illegal numbers game to bankroll several dummy companies that cornered multimillion-peso infrastructure projects in Pangasinan.

The mayor said Espino also bought luxury cars, houses, properties and other expensive items from the protection money he allegedly received from jueteng syndicates.

“Espino is a very arrogant man. He acts as if he were God. He is also very intelligent. But he used his intelligence to enrich himself even at the expense of those who helped him,” Orduña said.

Confessed jueteng operator Fernando “Boy Bata” Alimagno, who also turned his back on Espino, claimed the governor “is addict(ed) to money.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Bugallon town , Gov. Amado Espino Jr , illegal numbers game , Jueteng , Pangasinan , Rodrigo Orduña

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct


  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace