NEIGHBORS and relatives could not believe their eyes when they saw on television Belen Tamondong Fernandez, a namesake of the vice mayor of Dagupan City, filing her certificate of candidacy (COC) for mayor.
“That was a joke!” was the common reaction of people from Sitio Sabangan Sur in Bonuan Gueset where the 66-year old Fernandez resides.
One of them, Teodoro Vidal, 78, believes that whoever lured the woman to file her COC for mayor obviously intended to put a monkey wrench on the candidacy of Vice Mayor Belen Tan Fernandez, who filed her COC for mayor two hours earlier.
“Kung sino man ang may pakana nito ay gustong bulabugin ang kandidatura ni Vice Mayor Fernandez,” said Vidal who lives near the house of Belen Tamondong Fernandez and knows their living conditions.
Vidal also corroborated based on neighbors’ statements that it was ex-Kagawad Nan Soy and one “Uding” who came to fetch Fernandez at her home in the morning of October 5, the same statement that Fernandez claims in her affidavit withdrawing her candidacy.
Vidal said Fernandez, an indigent like most in the neighborhood, surely must have been unable to resist the money being dangled in front of her.
Fernandez’ own brother who lives in Lingayen rushed to Dagupan after seeing his sister on TV to give her a scolding, knowing that she must have been offered money to do such a foolish thing.
Another neighbor, Delia Vidal, said, “Napakataas naman ng ambisyon niya, ni hindi siya naging barangay tanod o BHW (Barangay Health Worker), tapos gusto na niyang maging mayor.”
After having become an instant sensation, Fernandez has left home, presumably to avoid the members of the media who have been trying to find and interview her.
Others in the community suspect she might have fled out of fear and for safety reasons after withdrawing her candidacy.