CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – Chillax, EdSa. Gear up, Dong.Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Oscar S. Rodriguez categorically stated he would seek re-election in 2016, ending speculations – for now, and forthe sitting mayor hopefully forever – that he wanted city hall back.
“I will run for congressman again,” wasRodriguez’s response to a query about his 2016plans during a merienda cena he hosted for the local media at r78 resto- bar here Friday.
This also ended loose talks that Rodriguez also eyed the governorship of Pampanga. The three-term-congressman- turned-threeterm- city-mayor and first-term congressman again said he would neither undermine nor challenge Mayor Edwin Santiago, his protégé and “loyal” vice mayor during his city hall stint.
“Masanting naman ing piyabe mi at mekinabang ya ing siyudad (We had a good partnership and the city benefited from it),” Rodriguez said.
This, even as he lamented that Santiago had done some things that peeved him: “Atin yang gewang makabuysit.” Rodriguez did nothave to say what it was that riled him.
Into the first month of Santiago’s take-over of the city government, the city council released reports of alleged financial irregularities during the Rodriguez administration rising out of “un-reconciled differences in the balance sheet of the General Fund.”
Councilor Joselito Ocampo of the Committee on Good Government, Public Ethics and Accountability, reported then:
“According to the city accountant and treasurer, the estimated cash balance as of December 31 (net of fixed expenses and contractual obligations) that will be used to finance LGU programs and projects amounts to P188,522,983.
Actual cash as of June 30, as the treasurer reported is P360,303,960, but the accountant reported that it is P73,783,062. The difference of P286,520,898 has to be reconciled by the treasurer together with the accountant.”
Quick to take on the reports was the local media that bannered stories of the city as being “bankrupt.” Calling it an assault on his character, Rodriguez dispelled all talks of anomalies and bankruptcy under his term as city mayor with certified statement from the LandBank,
The city government’s depository bank, showing that the day he left office, June 30, 2013, the city had a total deposit of P447,110,363.32.
While Santiago himself denied any claim of bankruptcy as having come from his camp, a crack in his relationship with his mentor apparently ensued. From there started talks that Rodriguez would seek a return to the city mayorship, ending – for now – only last Friday with Rodriguez opening his option for re-election.
“The best Christmas gift from Oca to EdSa,” said columnist Ed Aguilar of Rodriguez’s announcement. “A call to arms for Dong,” he added, referencing former 3rd District Rep. Aurelio “Dong”
Gonzales whom Rodriguez denied of a third term in 2013. Gonzales is considered a “sure-winner” in his district, “without Oca to contend with.” Names being bruited about as also interested to run for congressman were those of Board Member Ferdinand Labung and Bacolor Mayor Jomar Hizon.
“Rodriguez’s clear declaration has defined a limited arena of battle for the third district – just between him and Dong, all other pretenders consigned to being mere spectators,” said a political observer.