SINCE late 2009, Edgardo Pamintuan, Secretary of External Affairs and also a columnist in “Punto” had written a series of articles on black propaganda.

Political observers believed it was the Sec’s advance defense, much like a vaccine versus a virus, in case of an all out word war against City Mayor Blueboy Nepomuceno who is not inexperienced in fighting tactics.

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Mayor Blueboy felt he is being subjected to damaging disinformation campaign coming from the direction of his rival in the Angeles City mayoralty according to reports reaching me.

Cited among the poison rumors against the mayor were those about the proposed City Sports Center, the lease by the City Government of the upper floor of the San Nicolas market and other city projects from which opposition city councilors now Pamintuan allies, did not get their “share”, whatever.

Of the disinformation drive against Nepomuceno, the most politically hurting was the rumor that he was going to be suspended from office anytime soon. I have heard of the canard since November last year and the unconfirmed news was disturbing to the leaders of the mayor.

The suspension rumor takes on half a credibility because the Sec is a power figure in the outgoing Arroyo administration, and he has right connection to pull strings with.

Apparently the Nepomuceno camp, which has had similar propaganda battle against Rep. Carmelo Lazatin in the last polls, enjoys exchanges of nasty blows. Blueboy, as a young man who grew up in hostile political environs has been taught well by his late father, former governor then city mayor Francisco Nepomuceno how to take it and dish it out in a slugfest.

Last week, I received by mail downloaded print materials from the Internet. The items included a factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation with focus on the Philippines, including names involved in celebrated case while being in government service.

The figures of Filipinas being trafficked yearly into prostitution are astounding. It is the stark reality that our women are being sold as commodities to night club operators, later as sex slaves in Japan, Hong Kong, Taipei, Malaysia, several African countries; as well as mail order brides to Australia and Scandinavian countries.

Owing to the economic crisis, Filipino women are vulnerable to trafficking, and the disgrace is softened by calling sex workers as cultural entertainers, the report stated.

I quote a part of the report:

Official Corruption & Collaboration

“Many police officers and government officials have sexually assaulted or exploited girls in the Philippines. Congressman Romeo Jalosjos raped a 12-year-old girl. Binan Mayor Bayani Alonte was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl. Former Quezon Representative Manolet Lavides was involved in the prostituting of four high school students of Novaliches High School.

Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan was involved in the case of a 16-year-old model being prostituted by a talent manager, Jojo Veloso. Five policemen in San Fabian, Pangasinan were accused of raping an 11-year-old girl inside police barracks. Four policemen on duty were implicated in the rape of a 17-year-old girl inside the police station in Luneta.

SPO2 Roel Waga, police investigator in Barangay Puerto, Cagayan City was involved in the sexual harassment of a 13-year-old girl. (Gabriela, Statistics and the State of the Philippines, 24 July 1997).”

In the past, I have heard of the former mayor’s name mentioned alongside that of Jojo Veloso. The issue has resurfaced again in time for the battle now just getting heated up. It could be the secretary’s political Achilles heel.

It would do well for the aspiring mayor, Sec. Pamintuan, to clear his name once and for all, and get this gossip buried for keeps.

Perhaps the real Jojo Veloso can make himself visible and disclaim being the identified “bugao”, and give the Sec a clean bill of health by refuting his acquaintanceship with the former mayor.

The term “involved” is not really a ground of guilt but the Secretary should exert all available means to have his name cleared for total closure.

Until then, the dirty item may take on a life of its own and keep going the rounds like a H1N1 virus.

Contacted for comment on the issue, Joven Esteban, Nepomuceno’s spokesman texted: “The mayor has no beef with Mr. Pamintuan’s choice of company. It was a private matter between him (Sec) and Jojo Veloso. We are concerned with our ongoing moral regeneration program for our city personnel and the mayor is active in the campaign against prostitution.”

It was almost like a hero’s burial -- the mammoth crowd, grandiose necrological rites, and massive public sympathy for the late Board Member Ceferino “Pinong” Laus. Pampanga business leader Levy P. Laus is now the heir to a legacy of life in honor, integrity, and public service left by his father. May it be well with the widow Monz, and the rest of the clan, including the deceased’s favorite granddaughter, Carisa Laus-Manalili. I saw Tang Pinong last during Aisa’s thanksgiving party in December for her successful graduate studies in London (MBA).