Espinos quit NPC as son of founder firms up bid
DAGUPAN CITY—Some of the most prominent members of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) in vote-rich Pangasinan province had quit the political party founded by businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco after Cojuangco’s son, Mark, firmed up his plan to run for governor.
Incumbent Gov. Amado Espino and his two sons bolted NPC as it became apparent that Mark is most likely to get the party’s support for his bid, which is likely to be against one of the governor’s sons, his namesake Board Member Amado Espino III.
Gov. Espino announced his and his sons’ resignation from NPC on Tuesday.
In February, Mark, NPC provincial chair, announced he was running for governor in 2016. He has been going around the province since then, attending social gatherings and meeting with local government officials.
Last week, nine of 10 western Pangasinan town mayors announced their support for Cojuangco’s gubernatorial bid.
This province has a voting population of 1,651,814 scattered in 44 towns and four cities.
In a text message last week, Orpheus Velasco, provincial information officer, said Governor Espino had finally allowed his son, Board Member Espino, to run for governor.
“But it’s back to work for us now. It’s still too early to get engrossed in politics. The governor just wanted to respond to the clamor of the people,” Velasco said.
In his letter to Isabela Rep. Georgidi Aggabao, NPC president, on July 31, Gov. Espino said he found it “grossly improper, and totally out of place, to announce political preferences, or to actively take part in any partisan activity, at this point.”
“There is a proper time to do that, especially [for] incumbent officials who are sworn to serve everyone, regardless of political affiliations,” the governor said.
The letter, received by Aggabao’s office on Aug. 4, was signed by the governor, his son, Bugallon Mayor Jumel Anthony Espino, and his brother, Bautista Mayor Amadeo Espino.
Board Member Espino sent his resignation letter to Aggabao by e-mail on Aug. 4.
“On the contrary, the leaders, and the members of the NPC have espoused a different view, and in fact, have actively engaged in purely partisan activities,” Gov. Espino said.
He said that to give NPC leaders and members a free hand in pursuing their political agenda, he, his sons and his brother had to resign.
Rosendo So, local NPC spokesperson, said there was nothing NPC members could do about the Espinos’ resignation.
“When the governor needed help, the NPC was always there,” So said.
At a meeting at the NPC headquarters in Metro Manila on July 25, Alaminos City Mayor Arturo Celeste said the decision to support Cojuangco was reached after party leaders in the province’s first district were consulted and after a series of meetings.
“This is not a decision of only one person. This is a group decision,” Celeste said. Present in the July 25 meeting were Mayors Gwen Yamamoto (Bani), Carlitos Reyes (Mabini), Aldrin Cerdan (Anda), Jose Pajeta (Agno), Noli Celeste (Bolinao), Alberto Guiang (Burgos) and Noel Nacar (Dasol) and Infanta Vice Mayor Richard Martinez. Gabriel Cardinoza and Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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