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Pangasinan politics: Espino's spell prevails over Agbayani 'magic'

By Danny O Sagun

Dagupan City (11 May) -- There was no'Agbayani magic' this time.

Unofficial and partial returns showed re-electionist Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. trouncing comebacking Victor E. Agbayani with his 613,292 votes over the latter's 223,043 or a margin of some 390,000.

Agbayani, who is incumbent second district congressman, used to prevail over his rivals in his previous gubernatorial fights although he played the role of an underdog. In his first attempt in 1998, he won convincingly over then Senator Leticia R. Shahani, who enjoyed the backing of her elder brother, then President Fidel V. Ramos.

He repeated the feat three years later when he won by a huge margin over the rising Teodoro Cruz, then second district solon. In 2004, he practically ran unopposed.

The congressman obviously benefitted or inherited the popularity of his father, the late Gov. Aguedo F. Agbayani, whose reign was only interrupted by the 1986 revolution. The elder Agbayani returned in 1992 after losing by a mere 356 votes in a controversial gubernatorial derby in 1988.

The young Agbayani ran for congressman in the second district in the last elections having been on his third and last term as governor. He fielded his wife, Jamie, against Espino. She lost by a small margin.

This time, he wanted to recapture his old seat and banked on his popularity with the masses.

Espino, who previously had two terms as congressman in the same district, apparently knew how to defeat him. And the partial results showed.

Meanwhile, comebacking Dagupan City Mayor Benjamin S. Lim is enjoying a lead of some 2,000 votes over re-electionist Mayor Alipio F. Fernandez, Jr. in about 80 percent of unofficial returns.

Counting of votes in the city was delayed due to the eight precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that malfunctioned. Similar incidents happened in some towns so that on Tuesday, only the election result from the small town of Sto. Tomas reached the provincial board of canvassers.

Provincial election supervisor Reddy Balarbar said compact flash cards were due for delivery Tuesday afternoon. He expressed hope that by Wednesday, all results from the 47 towns including three cities would have reached the PBC and the winners proclaimed by then.

In the vice-gubernatorial race, Mapandan Mayor Ferdinand Calimlim was leading over rival former Vice-Gov. Oscar Lambino in partial unofficial returns.

In the congressional fights, former Bolinao Mayor Jesus Celeste was winning over his closest rival former TV journalist Maki Pulido in the first district. Retired police general Leopoldo Bataoil was also leading in the second district over closest rival Kim Lokin. It was true also for re-electionist Congresswoman Rachel Arenas over rival lawyer Galant Soriano in the third district.

Outgoing fourth district Congressman Jose de Venecia, Jr. is going to see his wife, Georgina, succeed him as she leads by a wide margin over rival businesswoman Celia Lim. The fifth district will go to Sison town Mayor Carmen Cojuangco, who enjoys a big margin over lawyer Demetrio Demetria.

In the sixth district, Vice-Gov. Marlyn Agabas proved she had what it takes to win a political fight over rival former Secretary Hermogenes Esperon of the presidential management staff.

Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza is on his way for his third term. Re-electionist San Carlos City Mayor Julier Resuello enjoys a huge lead over rival Generoso Tulagan, a former congressman. The son of Urdaneta City Mayor Amadeo Perez, Jr., Bobom, is also winning over Vice-Mayor Julio Parayno. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]

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