If one will objectively look at what the current Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Pampanga is doing, it will be totally embarrassing to be a Kapampangan.
Let us start with its presiding officer; Vice Governor Yeng Guiao. Guiao was a single term SP and he is now on his second term as vice governor of the province. In total he is now on his eight year at the SP. Yes he iniated actions against the Lapids on the Quarry Scam. But one objective observer should note that when he started his actions against the Lapids on the Quarry Scam, HE NEVER INITIATED ANY ACTION TO RECALL GOVERNOR LAPID! WHY?
Guiao, together with the then SP, NEVER INITIATED ANYTHING TO CUT OR DENY THE BUDGET OF Governor Lapid even during the time that Guiao already knew that there were anomalies in the quarry operations of the province. WHY?
Senior Board Member Chris Garbo is a "returnee" to the SP having served three consecutive terms before. He was a board member during the tenure of Ex-governor Lito Lapid. He has been a most vocal critic of Governor Panlilio. He is now supporting the Recall move against Governor Panlilio yet he never said a word against the Lapids specially on the Quarry Scam. WHY?
The same is true with the other board members who were either returning board members of the province or former local officials of the different Local Government units of Pampanga. WHY?
Then the supplemental budget request for the salaries and benefits of the BALAS boys have been pending at the SP for a good number of months already. The SP never questioned the salaries and benefits of the provincial quarry workers during the terms of the Lapids. Yet during the current tenure of Governor Panlilio, not only are they not approving the complete budget for BALAS, they actually (the SP) demoted the BALAS positons from salary grade levels 5 and 7 to a uniform salary grade level of 1. This actually decreased the salaries of the BALAS Boys to a measly Php254 per day. We understand that the Civil Service Commission has already unofficially stated that this is illegal and yet the SP is firm on this unjustifiable action. WHY?
The Educational Assistance Fund of the Governor is still pending at the SP for almost a year now. This was a project of then former Governor Mark Lapid that Governor Panlilio continued. Governor Panlilio even widened the coverage so that more deserving Kapampangan youths can benefit from it. In fact, even the Board members themselves were allowed to nominate their own scholars for the program. Very sadly, the SP is still sitting on the budget for this program. The Vice Governor had been justifying the non-approval of the budget for the program saying that they have been asking for justifications from the Governor's office for this. But if you look back during the term of ex-governor Mark Lapid where Yeng Guiao was also the Vice Governor, the SP never asked for justifications for the same program. Also, more than a month ago, the civil society group Kapampangan Coalition Inc. initiated a dialouge with the SP to help in the approval of the Educational Assistance Fund Budget. The two groups met for about two hours at the Capitol Session Hall and then immediately went to the tv program HAMON Central Luzon of CLTV36 and boasted that what Governor Panlilio failed to resolve for a good number of months, the SP and KCI were able to resolve in just two hours. Yet to this day and after the boast, the SP is yet to approve the budget. WHY?
The Provincial Development Council was never convened during the tenure of the Lapids as Governors of Pampanga. It was only last year at the start of the term of Panlilio as governor of Pampanga that the Council was convened. The council is a requirement of the Local Government Code and it allows the Municipal mayors a direct participation in the determination of the infrastracture projects that can be implemented by the provincial government. Last year, infrastracture projects worth about Php3m per municipality were approved and implemented. This year, the Council's approved projects per municipality were to be Php5m each. The SP is again sitting on the approval of the budget for these. To think that the majority members of the Council are the Mayors of 20 municipalities and city mayor of San Fernando. These municipal mayors are the same mayors who are siding with the SP in their atrocious move to topple the Panlilio administration. Curiously, it is the constituents of these mayors who will benefit from the projects that the council approved and yet they have not said anything against the SPs non-approval of the budget. WHY?
Now let us look at Rosve Henson. He was a former Board Member of the Province. He is now the President of KAMBILAN, the group that initiated the Recall of Governor Panlilio. He belittles the accomplishment of Governor Panlilio specially on the huge quarry collections. He openly claims that it is not true that it is only now that the quarry collections is huge. He claims that the collections have been huge since the time of the Lapids but that it does not show in the records of the Capitol becuase the collections goes to somebody else's office or pockets. If this is really true as he claims, how come he did not do anything about it when he was a board member or even after? How come he did not initiate actions to recall then Governors Lito and Mark Lapid like he did to Panlilio this year? How come he is initiating Recall actions against Panlilio for Loss of Confidence when he never had any confidence on Panlilio ever since, since he (Henson) was the Campaign Manager of then candidate former Board Member Lilia Pineda? How come he can initiate Recall actions against Governor Panlilio for petty reasons and yet DID NOT INITIATE RECALL ACTIONS AGAINST THE LAPIDS TO WHAT SEEM TO BE CLEAR CASES OF CORRUPTION? WHY?
Why is it that no other official in Pampanga other than governor Panlilio, is speaking out against illegal gambling in the province specially JUETENG when it is open secret to all Kapampangans that JUETENG operate three times a day?
WHY? WHY? WHY?
Maybe it is true what some people are saying that the "usual sources af additional revenues" of the Board Members were cut-off by the "good governance" of Governor Panlilio. Maybe it is also true what some people are saying that the whole SP was "mobilized" by some powers that be because the Governor is an embarrasment to them as a proponent of good governance and responsible citizenship. Maybe it is also true as what some people say that the President herself is mad at Governor Panlilio because he exposed the Php500,000 PAYOLA in Malacanang and the former was so embarrassed that the governor from her own province will do the expose. Maybe it is also true as what some people say that it is the alleged gambling lords themselves who are executing these actions against the Governor because he is a staunch proponent against illegal gambling.
MAYBE ALL OF THE ABOVE ARE TRUE!
The Kapampangans have proven in the May 2007 National ELections that the proud Kapampangan race will rise to the occassion when called upon. We have failed to discern correctly, at times, in the past. But when the going get tough, we get going.
We hope and pray that the Kapampangans will not be blinded, and bought, and scared by the Guns, Goons, and Golds of traditional and dirty politicians. We hope and pray that we make those politicians who put personal matters over and above the sacred service to our Kabalens, pay for their misdeeds in future elections.