Inside out

Random musings in and outside the news

Pampanga gov willing to talk to critics, holds no grudge

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 25, 2008

‘Issue is jueteng, not governance’–supporter

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 13:40:00 08/25/2008

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio said he holds no grudge against those seeking his ouster and is even willing to dialogue with them.

“I am more than willing to hold a dialogue with them,” Panlilio said, speaking before media on Monday.

On August 21, the group Kapanalig at Kambilan ning Memalen Pampanga Inc. (Kambilan) launched a recall petition, hoping to gather the signatures of at least 100,000 of the province’s residents to oust Panlilio.

“The province had 997,000 registered voters in the 2007 elections so we need that number of signatures to muster the 10 percent required by the law,” said Engineer Rosve Henson, Kambilan president.

Henson said Panlilio allegedly violated the Civil Service Law, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

The recall movement stemmed from Panlilio’s decision to retain provincial administrator Vivian Dabug despite the clamor of civil society groups to sack her.

But Panlilio, a Catholic priest, called the recall petition “baseless” and “without merit.”

“The issues raised are not valid on meritorious grounds. To say that the people of Pampanga lost their trust and confidence in me…The civil society groups in Pampanga are one with me in pushing for responsible governance,” he said.

Panlilio defended his decision to retain Dabug saying, “I may have a difference of position with some civil society groups in my insistence to retain Atty. Vivian Dabug as the provincial administrator. But this is prompted by valid and justifiable reasons. She is incorruptible, hardworking, and confident.”

Panlilio also urged contending groups to stop the “mudslinging and destructive criticism.”

Panlilio said is not disheartened by the recall petition,.

“Yes, hindi ako marunong maglaro ng pulitika [I do not know how to play politics] especially with power play, misuse of funds…but I love where I am now. There is God’s hand in the work that I am doing,” he said.

Lawyer Ernesto Francisco, who professed to be knowledgeable about Panlilio’s situation, claimed the main motive behind the recall petition is the illegal numbers game jueteng.

“The issue here is jueteng and not governance. If it’s governance, you can easily hold a dialogue,” he said.

A Pampanga civil society group, Kapampangang Marangal Incorporated (KMI), expressed support for Panlilio.

In a statement, KMI said the recall petition would only “open unhealed wounds and undermine Pampanga’s progress.”

“We say no to recall,” the group said.

But KMI also demanded that Panlilio promote checks and balances, create a multi-sectoral advisory council, and implement good governance through economic empowerment


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