‘Loren was not behind it’

By Herbert Vego

THAT was former Antique Governor Salvacion “Inday Sally” Zaldivar Perez talking to this writer on the phone to deny the rumor that Rep. Loren Legarda had a hand in preventing lawyer Abdiel “Ade” Santillan Fajardo — Liberal Party (LP) candidate for congressman – from joining the political rally of Vice-President Leni Robredo and Senator Kiko Pangilinan in San Jose, Antique last Wednesday.

The social-media rumor was not without circumstantial support. The congresswoman had decided to run for senator, in effect fielding her brother Antonio Agapito “AA” Legarda to run for her to-be-abandoned post under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

Ergo, Fajardo is one of AA’s three congressional opponents. Another is ex-congressman Paolo Javier of the ruling PDP-Laban. There’s another Javier – aha, what for? — whose first name I don’t recall.

Incidentally, I remember Fajardo telling me shortly before the Leni-Kiko rally that the Legarda camp had asked him to back out in favor of AA.

It was also untrue, Inday Sally stressed, that the congresswoman had prevailed upon incumbent provincial officials to boycott the well-attended rally. She cited the presence of Vice-Governor Edgar Denosta (NPC) thereat.

She was reacting to a column item in this corner, where I wondered about the possible influence of Rep. Loren Legarda on the “RDC,” – short for “Robredo’s People Council” – which had organized the rally. As to whether Denosta was active in that group, I am in no position to confirm.

After all, Fajardo is no threat to him. The threats to his re-election as vice-governor on May 9, 2022 are opponents Julius Caesar Tajanlangit (PDP-Laban) and Vince Piccio (independent).

There was no valid reason for depriving Fajardo of a stage seat. To reiterate, he had filed his certificate of candidacy as the LP bet for congressman of Antique. LP is headed by Sen. Pangilinan as party president.

To say that the campaign period for local candidates would be in March yet could not be an excuse for the snobbery, since he would not have campaigned for himself on stage.  Just before the Antique sortie, remember, the Leni-Kiko team had covered Capiz and Aklan, where they rubbed elbows with incumbent politicians.

“Loren could not have asked her political allies to boycott the event,” Inday Sally explained. “She has always been helpful to Leni, as in legislating an increase in the budget of the office of the vice-president.”

The vice-president’s office has a P713.4-million budget for the year 2022.

Perez admitted, however, that Loren had aspired to be a “guest candidate” in VP Leni’s ticket but to no avail. Methinks it would have been awkward since she is identified with the Duterte administration and is already one of the official senatorial candidates of the Bongbong Marcos/Sara Duterte-Carpio “uniteam”.

Are we to conclude that the RDC as the rally organizer had intentionally boxed out Fajardo, who is supposed to be the congressional candidate of the Leni-Kiko tandem in Antique?

A doubting reader of this column has come out with a Facebook post asking, “If Ade is indeed Leni’s man in Antique, she would’ve asked him to come up the stage. Could AA be the secret candidate of Leni in Antique?”

I don’t think so, since the vice-president has remained a member of the LP.  The party decides on choosing local bets. In the case of Fajardo, it was the party’s campaign manager, former congressman Erin Tañada, who asked him to run. As a renowned lawyer and former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), he is the most qualified to represent Antique in the House.

Meanwhile, a Facebook post by Governor Rhodora “Dodod” Cadiao confirms that BBM and Sara would also hold a big rally in San Jose, Antique.

“To be or not to be there” is the question that now perplexes politicians who believe that 20 million pesos would fill the pockets of those who would campaign for BBM/Sara.

Puede na rin ang Tallano gold.



“With MORE Power comes great sustainability!”

It’s not a theme from a movie but from the month-long 3rd anniversary celebration of MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) as power distributor in Iloilo City in this love month of February.

It began with a blood-letting activity in partnership with the Philippine Red Cross (Iloilo chapter) on February 15, 2022.

Moreover, MORE Power has been imparting to customers the tools and methods available for ordinary Filipinos to thrive despite the pandemic.

The company, in partnership with the Iloilo City Farmers Foundation, recently turned over to interested customers seeds for urban gardening. This should encourage recipients to engage in production of cheap but healthy plant products.

It mobilized its personnel in planting trees at the Global Business Power-Eco Park in Brgy. Ignore, Lapaz. Considering the depletion of Narra trees in the locality, the company would continuously monitor and ensure the growth of the saplings. The ultimate goal is to plant 2,000 trees by the end of 2022.

It conducted a mangrove planting activity at Esplanade 7 with the end view of helping the environment recover from the effects of calamities and the negative impact caused by the oil spill that occurred in Bo. Obrero on July 3, 2020.

Kudos to MORE Power’s President Roel Z. Castro for the above-mentioned demonstrations of corporate social responsibility.