Today's Punto
Today's Punto
Opinion
Spoils
By Bong Lacson

Aug 08, 2017

NO CONGRESSMAN in Pampanga, not even 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo, the former president herself, can ever come anywhere close to 4th District Rep. Juan Pablo “Rimpy” Bondoc.

Aye, no representative that ever sat and served the Kapampangans since the foundation of the Republic can compare, even the least favorably, to Bondoc. Yes, his father Cong Midying, not excluded.

Indeed, not even Gov. Lilia G. Pineda herself – with all four districts in her jurisdiction – can match Bondoc.

That is in the number of “priority projects” tagged to his name. To be precise, imprinted with his face, in those screaming tarpaulins hanging everywhere in his area of representation, made all too ubiquitous by the absence of similar signages of self-appropriated credits in the other three districts of the province.

Just about any infrastructure project in the fourth district – from the construction of the narrowest farm-to-market road in Candaba to the rehabilitation of the Manila North Road aka MacArthur Highway, from the repair of Tete Batu to the proposed construction of a pedestrian overpass both in Sto. Tomas, from the construction of a fishport to the erection of the PNP station and covered court also in Sto. Tomas, from the rehabilitation of the tail dike in Sto. Tomas (again!) and Minalin to the upgrading of the road and canalization in Macabebe, etcetera – bear the name and image of Bondoc.

Why, even dump trucks carrying lahar spoils for tambakan in the low-lying areas of southern Pampanga invariably bear his mug in those “Priority Project. Do Not Delay” cardboards on their windshields!

Need still wonder now why the Bondocs – from father Emigdio to son Rimpy to daughter Ana York back to Rimpy – have sustained their political stranglehold in the fourth district?

All challengers to their reign, count them now – Mars Pineda, Nina Tetangco, Rene Maglanque, Ramsey Ocampo, Jerry Pelayo, Oscar Tetangco, Jr. – meeting ignominious defeat. Why, there was even one election where Rimpy ran unopposed! A first in the congressional polls in Pampanga!

Grounded on these tarpaulin-announced achievements, Bondoc is now poised to pre-position himself for the governorship anew, where he, most unfortunately, failed, in 2004.

Today though, it is an uncontested given that no other politician in Pampanga to can match up – equally – to Pinedas other than Bondoc.

Alas, comes now a most imponderable spoiler to Bondoc’s image-impacted accomplishments, and ultimately, to his gubernatorial ambitions – roll the drums now – the fighting Senator Mannyyy Pacquiaooo, -quiaoo, -quiaoo…

Pacquiao filed on Aug. 1 Senate Bill 1535 or the Anti- Epal Law seeking to prohibit government officials from claiming credit for themselves public works projects through signages.

Explained Pacquiao: “Although these government projects are facilitated by their office, the fact remains that these are funded by tax levied from Filipino people. In colloquial term, these public officials are referred to as ‘epal’ or credit-grabbers and attention-seekers.”

Furthered he: “This unethical practice has led the public to believe that the projects named before the incumbent government officials are indeed sponsored by them, thus tolerating said officials to prematurely campaign for reelection and cultivate a culture of political patronage.”

Touché.

The bill carries the penalty of one-year imprisonment and fine of P100,000 to P1 million, with repeat offenders facing absolute perpetual disqualification from public office.

To Pacquiao, his bill hews to the highest ideals: to “uphold the honesty, integrity, and transparency to foster good governance in public service.” So, what makes that of our fourth district representative?




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