ANGELES CITY -- Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan has allegedly ordered the arrest of 10 individuals distributing flyers of a joint affidavit of village officials hitting the mayor for the job order employees issue here.
Pamintuan denied, however, such move, saying the camp of his rival, Representative Carmelo Lazatin, is becoming so desperate that it is resorting to all sorts of tactics to boost their “sagging image.”
Reports said that Pamintuan’s directive came in a form of a text message and was intercepted by Lazatin’s supporters.
"Marlon, nung makapag-mobilize kayung pareng Jessie tao na mag-monitor Santo Rosario Church ampo Balibago Church bukas maranun ampo palengke San Nicolas ampo Pampang, para mandakap at mangompiskang manyalbag at magdistribute black propagand. Tinext kuna la naman reng advance security na mag-obra pisamban bukas. Thank you. Cc: Jessie, Ato, John, Boy, Barok, Amro, Art. All market guards, traffic enforcers and task force must be on full alert (Marlon, if you and Jessie can mobilize personnel to monitor Santo Rosario Church, Balibago Church, San Nicolas Market, and Pampang Market tomorrow morning to arrest individuals distributing black propaganda and confiscate propaganda materials. Thank you. I also texted the advance security stationed at the church tomorrow. Cc: Jessie, Ato, John, Boy, Barok, Amro, Art. All market guards, traffic enforcers and task force must be on full alert)," the text read.
Barangay Lourdes Northwest councilman William David said the text came from Pamintuan's mobile number, 09178112642.
The text message circulated on the evening of February 2 and found its way into the phone of one of David's friends at the Pampang Public Market.
"Yesterday morning (February 3), all market guards were in full alert and stationed at Santo Rosario Church. How can they say that Mayor Pamintuan did not issue an order?" David said, adding: "Mayor Pamintuan is lying through his teeth in his denial."
Around midday of February 3, reports regarding the arrest of 10 individuals distributing flyers along Barangay Balibago, two of whom are minors, surfaced.
According to David, the “Marlon” in the text message refers to Marlon Enriquez, head of San Nicolas Public Market; “Jessie” refers to Jessie Eres, director of Angeles City Entertainment Promotion Office (ACEPO); “Barok” refers to Jaime Dizon, part of Pamintuan's close security detail; “Amro” refers to Amro Razul, head of the Angeles City Night Market; and “Art” refers to Art Non, head of Pampang Public Market.
But Mayor Pamintuan said he did not order the arrest of distributors of “black propaganda” materials.
City Administrator Dennis Albert Pamintuan said: "I checked with him (Mayor Pamintuan), and he said he does not recall ever sending a text message to that effect."
"Kagawad David is a rabid Lazatin supporter and along with a few others, they have been trying to draw attention in favor of their sponsor by coming out with all sorts of allegations," the city administration added.
"They have been seeing ghosts, and must be hearing voices," he also said.
The administrator said Lazatin has actually manufactured and distributed black propaganda materials the moment he announced his intention to run for mayor against incumbent Mayor Pamintuan, recalling flyers and stickers with illustrations of the likeness of the mayor trashed in a trash can that were distributed and posted as early as July last year.
"At the very beginning they have conducted their campaign at very low levels, resorting immediately to black propaganda and smear campaign, and they are still at it until now, which is an indication that they have nothing good to say to the people about how Lazatin would run city hall," he added.
Several supporters of Lazatin were arrested and charged by the police over the weekend for distributing black propaganda flyers against Mayor Pamintuan even in churches as masses were being held.
Those arrested later claimed they were "physically harassed and threatened" allegedly by men of Jesse Eres, who immediately denied the allegations.
"We call on Congressman Lazatin not to entrust his campaign to low-life characters who only know low-life tactics. We call on him to go out and woo the voters with positive messages, like what Mayor Pamintuan is doing, and not to resort to black propaganda and simply paying off people," the city administrator said.
"Only sick people resort to sick tactics," he added.