VICTORIA, Tarlac—If there is one message that President Benigno Aquino III’s visit to this town gave to his province mates on Wednesday, it was that the much ballyhooed Nationalist People’s Coalition-Liberal Party (NPC-LP) partnership here is dead.
Saying he was never invited to this town as a congressman, Mr. Aquino chose this town of 30,000 voters as the venue to proclaim local LP candidates and endorse his senatorial team.
Reeling from what could be a deep-seated hurt, Aquino started out his speech by recalling what his mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, said: “If you are not invited, don’t go.”
He said over the years when he was congressman and senator, he was never invited here, even as the town is part of the second district of Tarlac, which he represented.
He asked the people of Victoria: “Has there been an improvement in your town?”
The President went on to enumerate the bad roads and what he described as lack of progress. He chided the incumbent mayor, Candido Guiam III, who is running under the NPC.
“For 15 years since 1998, they were the ones who led this town but [there has been] no improvement,” Aquino said.
He said he would not let the remaining three years of his term pass without helping the town and this was his way of persuading people to vote for his candidate, former Councilor Rex Villa Agustin.
Aquino also endorsed LP candidates in Tarlac City and Concepcion and La Paz towns.
Reacting to Aquino’s speech, Guiam said he thanked the President for visiting his town.
He said, however, that whatever “tampo” the President has with his family, he hopes that “love will prevail and that they will be an example to the nation on unity and reconciliation.”
Villa Agustin said he was overwhelmed by the President’s visit and endorsement of his candidacy. The Villa Agustin and Guiam families are allies of the Aquinos.
In his speech, the President dwelt on his achievements in infrastructure and tourism. He said a new highway linking Tarlac to Nueva Ecija would be completed in December.
He promised Tarlac that the province would have its share of development “while I’m your President.”