By Ermin Garcia Jr.
WHY did Dagupan Mayor Benjie Lim do it?
I am referring to the cheap stunt he pulled on Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez on the last day of filing of certificates of candidacy.
Was it out of his desperation to get re-elected? Or was it plain hubris to show that he can get away with any form of deception and cheating he foists on the people? Or was it arrogance and contempt for people that he thinks anyone and everyone can be bought to do anything he wishes just as he had proven in the case of the Judas 9 in the city council? Methinks it’s all of the above.
No matter how one views the foiled criminal plot to marginalize the candidacy of Veem Belen, Mr. Lim certainly met his comeuppance not from another politico, not from pesky pundits like us, but from a seemingly vulnerable and gullible 66-year old lady! It became all the more significant because Mr. Lim obviously saw her as someone no different from the many faceless people whose votes could be bought with a wad of peso bills. But this lady chose to eventually turn around to show him that not everyone can be bought for his sake.
Going by the affidavit she signed where she described the circumstances that led her to Mr. Lim, it appears the mayor was clearly cocky, personally promising her a house and lot, a grand vacation and a brand new motorcycle for her son in return for the use of her name. He obviously thought that she, like the Judas 9 and many others in his doghouse whom he secretly despises, would not reject such a generous offer, and one who could easily be intimidated.
Well, Mr. Lim grievously erred again on how to treat his constituents. He has yet to learn that no matter how low one’s economic status in life is, nobody deserves to be treated in a cavalier manner. They deserve respect.
As broadcaster Orly Navarro, whose son is a member of BSL’s slate, reportedly said unwittingly: “Palpak!”
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PAYBACK. When I read “candidate” Belen’s confession how she was enticed by Mr. Lim with a litany of promises, images of the scenario how the Judas 9 was seduced with a P1.5 million deal came to mind.
So I was extremely happy for her that she didn’t take the bait because she would have ended up frustrated and disillusioned with herself like what many of the Judas 9 feel today. I gathered that after all the taunts they received from the public, the Judas 9 only received 5% of the “generous offer”! No wonder they can’t leave BSL’s doghouse. Tsk-tsk
Greed has its payback.
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OMINOUS SILENCE. Woe to the candidacies of re-electionist Judas 9 Councilors Jesus Canto, Redford Erfe Mejia and Alvin Coquia; former Councilor Pacoy Torio, mayor’s executive assistant Beep-beep Tan, Barangay Kapitan Lilia Yasar, Roberto Llamas, Shekinah Gapuz, Orly Navarro Jr., Ruby Sta. Maria-Cansino and Marianne Ang in the Lim-Alex Siapno’s slate.
They cannot pretend that the attempt to openly cheat Veem Fernandez did not happen. To deserve the people’s trust and confidence, they must at the very least denounce it and show regret for their leader’s despicable plot.
Right now, their individual silence is ominous. By remaining silent, it can only mean they knew of the plot and did nothing to stop it. Or could it mean they, too, have no qualms about cheating people…by crook…or by crook?
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THEORY OF RELATIVITY. That the lines have been clearly drawn between the camp of Mayor Lim and Vice Mayor Fernandez is nothing new. What’s news is how the Judas 9 parted ways. Or did they?
The Judas 9 re-electionists who are sticking it out with Mr. Lim are Jess Canto, Alvin Coquia and Red Erfe-Mejia. The mayor’s son, Brian, did not file. (I expect another episode of deception involving him, but that’s getting ahead of the story.)
Judas 9 re-electionist Karlos Reyna jumped over the fence while Judas 9 “term graduates” Dada-Reyna and Chito Samson appear to have switched, too, using the “theory of relativity”. Marlyn Manaois-Reyna (Dada’s mom) and Saysi Samson (Chito Samson’s son) are in Veem Belen’s slate. The same theory applies to Karlos, whose uncle is Ope Reyna, now a staunch supporter of VM Belen.
While the Fernandez-Fernandez slate is firm, I am not certain how far its “theory of relativity” will work out. Onor-onors Karlos, Chito and Dada have not resigned their positions in the new majority but when their relatives threw their hats into the ring to redeem their respective families’ lost honor in public service, that effectively made the three lose their moral standing in the majority.
The Judas 3 in the Fernandez slate are clearly being given the opportunity by their relatives to reform themselves, to return to the tuwid na daan. Political observers are now wondering if the three would sever their ties with the father-and-son tandem at the city hall and the rest of the Judas 9.
To the voters, if the Judas 3 don’t resign, it can only mean they are not supporting the bid of their highly respected uncle, mother and son! And what would that make them? Their Judas label for the rest of their lives would be an understatement.
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FATHER-SON ACT. Then there’s the Benjie Lim-Brian Lim-Mario Lim –Alex Siapno trump card that consummate traditional politico BSL will play out in time. It will surely be a game of musical chairs via substitution. Will it end as Benjie for congressman and Brian for mayor vs. Gina de V and Veem Belen? Or Benjie for mayor and Brian for vice mayor vs. Belen and Michael Fernandez? Either way can be disastrous for father-and-son given what they have done and continue to do to the city.
As far as Mario and Alex are concerned, they will just be the insignificant and dispensable jokers for the father-and-son act. Tsk-tsk.
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RAUL’S DOCTORS. Soon, Pangasinenses will be served by two young accomplished doctors fresh from their specialist’s training in Manila.
Dr. Michael A.B. Sabado and her sister Dr. Angelica said they are keen on returning to Dagupan to set up their respective practices here. “Micks” is presently at the Philippine Orthopedic Center for his training in hip-and-knee concerns while sister “Aika” is having her own at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital for her Ob-Gyne with specialty in infertility. Both are graduates of the University of Sto. Tomas.
I have no doubt their proud parents, Dr. Raul Sabado and Nieva can hardly wait to introduce them to the medical family in the province. This certainly does not mean Dr. Raul is ready to retire. It simply means his hospital will be busier than ever.