Arroyo eschews use of gov’t vehicles on stump

Arroyo eschews use of gov’t vehicles on stump
By Tonette Orejas
Central Luzon Desk

GUAGUA, PAMPANGA—No government-owned vehicle was seen in the two-hour motorcade of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo here on Saturday when she campaigned for the second district seat of Pampanga in Congress.

Still, 14 members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and eight policemen secured the President throughout the route starting from Barangay Pulong Masle in this town to her house beside St. Augustine Church in Lubao.

In the convoy of 15 vehicles, only two patrol cars of the Philippine National Police sported government plates. The PSG men and women, mostly clad in civilian clothes, rode in four private cars. Four bodyguards accompanied Ms Arroyo on the showboat.

In Barangay San Antonio here, where a larger and more eager crowd gathered by the roadside, three PSG men walked by Ms Arroyo’s vehicle to check well-wishers and shield her from rowdy supporters. Wearing a dark blue, long-sleeved shirt, she shook hands with local residents, waved and smiled.

In contrast, her opponents—independent candidates Filipinas Sampang and Feliciano Serrano and Liberal Party’s Adonis Simpao—campaigned in the same district without bodyguards.

Later that day, Ms Arroyo visited the farming village of Pulong Masle. Elderly women welcomed her with kisses when she arrived at 4:30 p.m.

An hour before that, the mobile sound system of Ang Galing Party (AGP), a party-list group representing security guards, blared her campaign songs.

The first ditty was based on Laura Branigan’s monster hit, “Gloria.” Apparently, those who composed the jingle did not realize that the 1980s hit was about a woman “always on the run” and described as “headed for a breakdown” in the pursuit of her lover.

True Kapampangan

The second tune took the beat of the old Kapampangan song, “Atin Ku Pung Singsing (I once had a ring).”

In both jingles, Ms Arroyo, the candidate, was described as intelligent and strong, a true Kapampangan and daughter of the late President Diosdado Macapagal.

AGP nominee, outgoing Lubao Mayor Dennis Pineda, joined Ms Arroyo on the showboat owned by gubernatorial candidate Lilia Pineda. Dennis is the son of Lilia Pineda.

Last week it was outgoing Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, also an AGP nominee, who campaigned with his mother.

Vote for Among Panlilio

Meanwhile, reelectionist Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio urged Kapampangan voters not to support the “Liliarroyo” tandem in Pampanga, referring to President Arroyo and Lilia Pineda.

“They are very close to each other. I feel they share a lot of controversies. [I would like to stop their team] because I am against patronage politics,” Panlilio said.

Yesterday, more than 1,000 Panlilio supporters joined a motorcade in the province’s second district, the bailiwick of Ms Arroyo and Pineda.

Along the streets, people braved the heat and shouted “Among” which is a term of respect for priests and flashed the “Laban” (fight) sign as Panlilio’s convoy passed by.

When the motorcade reached Lubao town, a mobile sound system on one of the campaign vehicles blared this message: “Don’t sell your votes because they are sacred.”

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.