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Paternity suit

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“FATHER OF Mabalacat cityhood.”

So declared the city council of once forever Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales in Resolution No. 392 it approved last Monday.

Even as it hailed – rightfully – his “many years of dedicated public service as local chief executive,” the resolution topped Mayor Boking’s celebratory cake thus: “Foremost among his outstanding achievements is the passage into law of Republic 10164 in July 2012 which declared Mabalacat as component city of Pampanga.”

So – rightfully – earning the honor of being father of the city. The highly prolific Mayor Boking thereby adding yet another child, so to speak, in his multitude of 21, as of last count.

I don’t know if it was in the resolution’s whereases but the news story on this city fatherhood cited as backgrounder that:

On May 18, 2012, then President Benigno Aquino III approved House Bill 4736, an “Act Converting the Municipality of Mabalacat in the province of Pampanga into a Component City to be Known as Mabalacat City.

House Bill 4736 which became Republic Act 10164 was sponsored by Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government…

No fake news, but there obtained one major lapse in the cityhood narrative. (Come to think of it: Whenever the Marcos name crops up, some historical rewriting pops out. Even if so unwittingly.)

No denying that Marcos Junior did indeed a yeoman’s job at the Senate for the passage of RA 10164. But what good was that, what cityhood would even befit Mabalacat, without the spadework that was House Bill 2509 sponsored by then Pampanga 1st District Rep. Carmelo “Tarzan” Lazatin?

As we wrote here in July 2011 – a full year before the plebiscite that officially birthed Mabalacat City —

…And then there is consolidated House Bill 2509/4736 mandating cityhood for Mabalacat already nearing approval, so Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., committee on local governments chair, himself is said to have declared.

Cong Tarzan, but of course, stands as the legitimate father of a Mabalacat City, having sown the very seed, incubated and nurtured the embryo which is soon a-borning.

Yes, Tarzan…

No, I don’t mean to question, much less disparage, Mayor Boking’s fatherhood of Mabalacat City, officialized as it is by city council Resolution No. 392.

It is just that Cong Tarzan deserves his own rightful place in the cityhood history.

Indeed, in the euphoria that followed the plebiscite, Mayor Boking himself was profuse in his acclamation of Cong Tarzan as “father of Mabalacat City.”

“By the grace of God and the sovereign will of the people, we are now a city” proclaimed tarpaulins all around Mabalacat at that time. Modesty be damned, I minted that phrase over café americano at Starbucks SM Clark with Mayor Boking and his most loyal lieutenant, double visionary Deng Pangilinan.

Delighted as he was with it, I remember the mayor asking how Cong Tarzan’s name be incorporated in the tarps. Not wanting to disrupt the cadence in the phraseology, I suggested separate streamers thanking the Cong for his paternity of the city. Which, to my knowledge, were also posted.

As much a victory for the townspeople and Mayor Boking as a triumph for Cong Tarzan – given his being denigrated as chair of the comite de silencio at the House – was the cityhood of Mabalacat.

Ain’t it long been clichéd that “Victory has many fathers…”?

So, why now make fatherhood of Mabalacat City exclusive to Mayor Boking?

It smacks of historical revisionism pursuant to vested interests towards a second coming. Political, what else.

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