Today's Punto
Today's Punto
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Probe of Paskuhan sale a ‘moro-moro’
By Ashley Manabat

Mar 16, 2017

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – The ongoing investigation by the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability on the sale of the Paskuhan Village to the SM Development Corp. (SMDC) is “nothing but a moro-moro.”

A source privy to the issue alleged that 3rd District Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales who opened the probe has “agenda other than protection and preservation of the lantern tradition and promoting the interests of the Kapampangans.”

Asked what the alleged agenda were, the source cryptically pointed out to Gonzales’ “profession, other than being congressman.”

An engineer, Gonzales is also known to have interests in the construction business.

The source who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal said the solon’s “agenda” can be gleaned from the conduct of Gonzales during the probe, and noting that only “captive media” from Pampanga were allowed to cover the investigation on Wednesday in the House of Representatives.

The source also said Gonzales could equally be “protecting the names of big personalities in the province” that were allegedly once linked with the Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and could have been exposed if “non-captive media” were present.

It was at the time of Mark Lapid as TIEZA general manager when the Paskuhan Village was sold to SMDC. Lapid had reportedly as his chief of staff Paul “Concon” Laus, scion of the Laus family of business and social prominence in the province. It was also alleged that a number of Kapampangans were taken in by Lapid as “consultants.”

Calls by Punto! to Gonzales for his side remained unreturned as of press time. The paper is open to the congressman’s reply at anytime.

As this developed the Pampanga Press Club (PPC) is set to issue a statement expressing “deep concern” over the “possible abuse of media” relative to the House hearings on the Paskuhan Village sale.

PPC president Diosdado “Deng” Pangilinan said government officials should stop using the media in manipulating the news by limiting their invitations to the “friendly press” in such important issues concerning the city and the province as well as the Kapampangans in general.

On Wednesday, PPC members were ready to cover the house probe in Quezon City only to be told that the hearing was cancelled.

However, photos of the just concluded investigation were inadvertently posted on Facebook hours later revealing that the investigation was not cancelled at all.

A photojournalist who joined the coverage even called up a Pampanga- based reporter telling him that since the hearing was cancelled, he will just go to Marikina so as not to waste his trip.

Last week, the city government has reiterated its claim to Paskuhan Village renamed Hilaga in Barangay San Jose here based on the “right of first refusal.”

Mayor Edwin “Edsa” S. Santiago wrote letters to the Office of the President and the TIEZA on the city government’s request. The city council also enacted a resolution reiterating the position of the city government’s right of first refusal.

The provincial government has also made its claim to Paskuhan Village which has become an iconic symbol of the city’s thriving lantern industry.




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