GINA DE V AND BELEN FERNANDEZ ATTEND
A UNITY Walk and Interfaith Rally organized by the Dagupan Police and the Department of Interior and Local Government Friday to promote Safe and Fair Elections (SAFE) 2013 proceeded well even if only a few candidates attended.
Noticeably absent were re-electionist Dagupan Mayor Benjamin Lim, his wife Celia, candidate for the 4th district; and his son re-electionist Councilor Brian Lim, all running under the Nacionalista Party (NP).
With the University of Luzon Drum and Bugle Corps leading the march, the estimated 2,000 participants walked through the streets of Dagupan from the city plaza and back to the plaza for the Interfaith Rally.
Among those present included Fourth District Rep. Gina de Venecia who is running for re-election under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), and Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez, mayoralty candidate under the Liberal Party, her running mate Michael Fernandez and their teammates Councilor Jeslito Seen and former Councilor Alfredo Quinto.
Only Councilor Redford Erfe-Mejia, a re-electionist under the Nacionalista Party and Lim’s ticket, was present.
Barangay Chairman Salvacion Bravo of Herrero-Perez East, an independent bet for councilor, also attended.
“We don’t know why the Lims were not around. But for us, we gave importance to this undertaking,” De Venecia said.
Supt. Christopher Abrahano, chief of police of Dagupan City who issued invitations to all candidates, said he also does not know why most candidates including the incumbent mayor, did not show up.
Leaders of different religions joined the walk and the led prayers during the interfaith rally that followed.
They were Archbishop Socrates Villegas of the Lingayen-Dagupan archdiocese representing the Catholic Church, Pastor Jun Centino of the Hope Christian Fellowship, and Imam Uztad Kadir, representing the Muslim community of Dagupan.
In his speech, Villlegas enumerated the common visions of both the Church and the State being “Peace, Progress and People” as he underscored the inviolable principle of separation of the Church and the State.
To cap the event, the candidates present signed a pledge of commitment while the voters signed a separate pledge.
Others who participated and supported the event were Provincial Elections Supervisor Marino Salas; Senior Supt. Jonathan Miano, deputy police regional director who represented Chief Supt. Ricardo Marquez, police regional director; and Senior Supt. Marlou Chan, police provincial director.