Feliciano Serrano

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.”

'Lakas hasn't discussed House Speaker Arroyo'

‘Lakas hasn’t discussed House Speaker Arroyo’

MANILA, Philippines – The Lakas-Kampi-CMD has no plan to install President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as speaker of the House of Representatives if she wins her congressional bid in Pampanga on May 10, a ruling party member said Friday.

“Hindi pa pinag-uusapan sa partido namin iyan, pero may mga lumulutang na balita na ganoon (It has not been discussed by the party, but there are rumors about that),” Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone said in an interview on ANC’s Dateline Philippines.

Evardone said President Arroyo has never mentioned her political plans, except for her decision to run as representative of Pampanga’s 2nd District, which is currently being held by her son, Mikey Arroyo.

He said allegations that Mrs. Arroyo plans to win the speakership and use the position to implement Charter change and become prime minister were farfetched.

“It’s a long process,” Evardone said.

He recalled that past presidents have failed to convince Congress to shift to a parliamentary form of government.

The governor, who is also seeking a House seat, said that if Mrs. Arroyo was really planning to become House Speaker, she would have no problems getting the post.

“Ang reality po ay marami po talagang kaalyado ang Pangulo na malakas sa kanilang mga distrito po. Marami ang unopposed so very likely, talang makukuha ng mayorya ng mga kaalyado ng ating Pangulo ang congressional seats sa halalang ito (The reality is a lot of President Arroyo’s allies are strong. Several are unopposed so it’s very likely that President’s allies will get majority of the congressional seats),” Evardone said.

The governor, meanwhile, urged Mrs. Arroyo to actively campaign in Pampanga to further strengthen her congressional bid.

“She should not be too confident. There have been upsets in past elections…She should still campaign,” Evardone said.

Mrs. Arroyo is running against 2 independent candidates, Filipina Sampang and Feliciano Serrano, and Liberal Party candidate Adonis Simpao.

The President was not able to go to Pampanga province on the first day of the local campaign period after First Gentleman Mike Arroyo was brought to the hospital on Thursday due to his heart ailment.

Malacañang has yet to make an announcement about Mrs. Arroyo’s campaign schedule in Pampanga province.