No funding from Pinedas, recall proponent asserts

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    City of SAN FERNANDO – The president of the group that authored the recall petition against Gov. Eddie Panlilio categorically denied yesterday allegations that suspected gamb-ling lord Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda and other members of his family are funding the recall process which, as of yesterday, has reportedly gained 61,000 supporters.

    “I categorically deny that our group has received even a single centavo from the Pinedas. There is no record that can show our group ever did,” Kapanalig at Kambilan neng Memalen Pampanga (Kambilan) president Rosve Henson told Punto! in an interview yesterday.
    Earlier, Panlilio’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal urged Kambilan to disclose the source of its funds amid suspicions that the Pinedas are behind the recall move.

    Henson identified businesswoman Lolita Hizon, a former supporter of Panlilio, as one of Kambilan’s fund sources. “She contributed a significant amount,” he said, but he declined to give details saying his group was not obligated to report its finances to Macalintal.
    At the same time, Henson, who earlier admitted being an avid campaigner for defeated gubernatorial candidate Lilia Pineda in last year’s polls, also said that his group will never back any gubernatorial candidate should the recall move lead to the holding of special elections in this province.

    “We will never endorse a candidate for governor should there be special elections. What we want is a generic person who can work with the provincial board, the mayors, vice mayors, civil society groups, the clergy and all sectors,” Henson said.

    Mrs. Pineda is the wife of Bong Pineda. Their eldest is Lubao Mayor Dennis Pineda who is president of the Pampanga Mayors’ League (PML). Earlier this year, Panlilio filed plunder charges against Bong Pineda before the Office of the Ombudsman for his alleged involvement in a similar case that convicted former Pres. Estrada. His complaint cited past testimonies that Mr. Pineda was a gambling lord.

    Henson expressed hope that Mrs. Pineda would not run in such polls. “I hope she will not run. Otherwise, she will have to sacrifice her electoral protest,” he said. Such was the case of the electoral protest of Sen. Loren Legarda against Vice Pres. Noli de Castro, which was dismissed after she opted to run anew for senator in last year’s polls.
    Mrs. Pineda has a pending petition for a recount of gubernatorial votes in all precincts throughout the province amid her allegations of massive cheating against Panlilio.
    Henson also said he did not expect the Lubao mayor to sign the recall petition against Panlilio as this, too, would reflect he was no longer supporting Mrs. Pineda’s electoral protest.

    He reported that as of yesterday, Kambilan had already issued identification cards to 61,000 members who have apparently signed the recall petition which needs some 10 percent or 100,000 signatures of this province’s 997,000 registered voters to justify the holding of special gubernatorial elections.

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