No Arroyo in oath-taking rites near new house

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CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who handily won a second term without campaigning, will not join her allies in oath-taking rites in Lubao today, Sunday.

Vice Governor-elect Dennis Pineda, a wedding godchild of the former President, confirmed that the lawmaker would be absent at the event staged by the local political party Kambilan at the town’s St. Augustine Church, which is just beside a new house of the Arroyo family.

Pineda did not explain why Arroyo, leader of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats in Pampanga, was skipping the occasion.

Arroyo has been detained at Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City since October 2012 after she was indicted for plunder for the alleged misuse of P325 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

She had not left VMMC to file her certificate of candidacy, campaign, cast her vote or attend her proclamation as a reelected representative.

Former Pampanga Vice Gov. Cielo Macapagal-

Salgado, Arroyo’s half-sister, said the former President was thinner the last time they saw each other during Arroyo’s birthday in April.

On May 16, when she was proclaimed winner in the second congressional district, Arroyo issued a statement promising she would deliver more services to her constituents in Guagua, Lubao, Sasmuan, Sta. Rita, Porac and Floridablanca towns despite her weak health and detention.

The Liberal Party (LP) is holding its inauguration apart from Kambilan, which Gov. Lilia Pineda founded shortly before the May 13 election.

Representative-elect Oscar Rodriguez, the most senior of local LP leaders, said on Monday that he, City of San Fernando Mayor-elect Edwin Santiago and councilors in the city would take their oaths of office at Heroes Hall in the Pampanga capital.

The other LP mayors— Bonifacio Alejandrino (Arayat), Rene Maglanque (Candaba), Dante Torres (Guagua) and Dan Guintu (Masantol)—are holding separate inaugural rites.

Few LP candidates won as vice mayors and councilors. No LP candidate sits in the Kambilan-dominated provincial board.

This is the first time after the assassination of LP stalwart Jose B. Lingad in 1980 that this big number of LP members won local positions.

Two members of the Nacionalista Party (NP)—Teddy Tumang and Nestor Tolentino—won as members of the provincial board.

“We will work with whoever are the elected officials in the province,” Rodriguez said. “My mandate is to help our province.”

Representative-elect Juan Pablo Bondoc of the NP said he would not join the Kambilan event due to many activities in Congress. “I look forward to working with them to better serve our province mates,” he said.

Governor Pineda urged for unity, saying that the “priority should be the progress of the province, not politics.” Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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