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Monday, October 25, 2021
PAMPANGA

Sangil: The politicians of San Fernando

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THE people of the City of San Fernando have spoken. They wanted Edwin Santiago aka "Boy Tsinelas" and "EdSa" to complete the three terms. I don't know how he will be remembered by his town mates after his service. I rather not speculate. In the meanwhile, the two women who could be mayor and vice mayor in the near future, namely, Vilma Caluag and Angie Hizon, will have their own time. Time is flying so swiftly. Before you know it, it is already October 2021, and candidates will start filing their COCs.

No one stays on top forever. I remember those many political leaders who in their years carved their own niches. There was the controversial Armando P. Biliwang. The late Dondoy, that's how friends and kin called him. He was mayor during the so-called dark days. The dissident movement in Pampanga was at its height. Earlier than Biliwang's time, there was the late Dr. Jose Quiwa who presided over the growth of the town.

There were other outstanding men who served the Capitol town with their own brand of public service. Among them Levi Panlilio, Col. Amante Bueno, Vic Macalino, Virgilio Sanchez, Pat Guevarra and Rey Aquino. Methinks legacy wise, one who really endeared himself to the Fernandinos is none other than Oscar Rodriguez, a former congressman too.

Let me recall, it was boring in Congress. Important issues like the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Anti-Dynasty Law and Freedom of Information Act (FOI) bills on calendar can't be passed because, in most cases, due to lack of quorum. Representing the 3rd District of Pampanga, Rodriguez was dutifully doing his job as a member of the House. He doesn't leave the session hall after the roll call, but most members after their names were called either go to their offices to meet constituents and others just leave.

Rodriguez was shaking his head on the practices of his colleagues, and possibly also in many times he must be bored himself listening to a privilege speech from a colleague coming from the Visayan region and was murdering the English language. He had a colorful stint in Congress capped by being one of the prosecutors in the impeachment trial against then President Joseph Estrada. He was chairman of the House Committee on Justice. He filed numerous bills. His stay in Congress was remarkable.

Though a native of Sta. Ana town, he elected to establish residence in St. Jude Subdivision in the capitol town. He practiced law. Worked under then Court of First Instance Judge Ceferino Gaddi. Later he was also appointed then by the late Pampanga Governor Bren Z. Guiao as provincial administrator. Then he got involved in active politics. He became a congressman, suffered a defeat from Andrea Domingo but made a comeback and trounced Domingo in the second face-off. And after his stint in the House of Representatives, he made a run in the mayoral contest and succeeded.

Almost all sectors supported his administration when he was mayor. A political blunder he committed was when he wanted to close tightly the political door in order to frustrate the comeback of former Congressman Aurelio "Dong" Gonzales. Second, he was the political patron of Edwin "EdSa" Santiago, and abhor the day when he will confront the latter and are adversaries in the mayoral race. Gonzales won that race and the rest was history.


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