MANILA, Philippines – Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino Jr. today tagged all issues against him as “demolition job” accusations that he had received almost a billion pesos payoff as jueteng payola.
The governor denied that his accusers, Bugallon Mayor Rodrigo Ordunia and Fernando Alimagno, were his friends, contrary to the claim of the two that the governor is close to them.
Espino said the allegation was baseless because he was the one who led in eradicating jueteng operations in the province when he was assigned as chief of the Philippine National Police in Pangasinan in 1988.
Espino said that if the allegatons against him were true, his province would not have received the Grand Pamana Award and the Seal of Good Housekeeping from the late Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo.
The governor suspects that Braganza had a hand in the demolition job against him.
Braganza, former secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform, will run against Espino, a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, in the 2013 gubernatorial race.
“Ito ba ang patas? Siya lang ang nasa likod nito…Sobrang kahihiyan inabot ko pati mga anak ko pati nanay ko na 90 years old na,” said Espino.
[Is this something that’s fair? He’s the only one behind this…I suffered from so much humiliation because of this, including my children and 90-year-old mother.]
Also, Espino said he had a grudge against DILG chief Manuel “Mar” Roxas II because the latter readily believed in the accusations made by Ordunia and Alimagno without getting the governor’s side of the issue.
Espino said he had heard Roxas saying that he would call him up after Friday’s press conference at Camp Crame in Quezon City where Ordunia and Aligmano claimed that the governor was on the take from jueteng operators.
But the governor said he did receive any call from Roxas.
“Bakit ako sini-single out ni Roxas? Eh marami namang bayan at probinsiya na may STL…Ba’t ako lang?” said Espino.
[Why am I being singled out by Roxas when there are a lot of towns and provinces that have STLs? Why only me?]
Espino’s lawyers are now studying legal steps to take against the governor’s accusers.
Espino said he was ready to face his accusers at a proper forum anytime.
Ordunia and Alimagno charged Espino with plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman.