Classic David versus Goliath duel witnessed in Pangasinan

LINGAYEN , Pangasinan, May 14 (PNA)- Almost a week after the election, the people of Pangasinan are still stunned and musing over the easy victory of the Espinos against the seemingly invincible Cojuangcos last May 9, despite the latter’s well-oiled political machinery under the National People’s Coalition (NPC), the support of 38 of 47 incumbent mayors of Pangasinan and the seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of resources of the elder Eduardo Cojuangco, one of the country’s top business tycoons and one of the richest in the Philippines today.

But don’t ever doubt about this. The results of the voting in each town and district of Pangasinan readily tell the story that the Cojuangcos, despite their deep bench as in basketball, were roundly beaten by the Espinos.

As compared to the Cojuangcos, the Espinos ran under the Aksyon Demokratiko, a political party founded by the late Senator Raul Roco and under the new local party Partido na Pangasinan (PnP) which is yet to be accredited by the Commission on Elections.

The Cojuangcos were being blamed for blocking the entry of the Espinos to other political parties, including the National Union of Parties (NUP) and the Liberal Party after they deserted their original party, Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

But despite the many big pluses of the Cojuangcos in the just concluded election, not to mention their national influence, Board Member Amado “Pogi” I. Espino, III, incumbent barangay captain of Poblacion in Bautista town, went on to defeat former Congressman Mark Cojuangco, garnering 736,909 votes against Cojuangco’s 513,897 votes, or a difference of 223,012 votes, which will go down as one of the biggest political upsets ever recorded in the political history of the province.

Their classic battle, according to political observers. may yet be compared to the biblical duel between David and Goliath as Espino III prevailed over the more seasoned Mark Cojuangco, his wedding godfather.

Meanwhile, outgoing Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. who got 133,381 votes defeated his opponent, Congressman Kimi Cojuangco, who amassed 92,943 votes in the congressional race in the fifth district, known bailiwick of the Cojuangcos.

The son and namesake of Gov. Espino, an ex-officio provincial board member being the president of the Liga ng Barangay provincial federation, won convincingly in all the congressional districts of Pangasinan–except in the first district, proving that the support of 38 of 47 mayors on Mark Cojuangco hardly mattered.

In the second district, Espino III clobbered Cojuangco by more than 60,910 votes after he posted 136,767 votes, while Cojuangco amassed only 75,857 votes. The young Espino won in all towns of the second district, except in Binmaley.

In the third district, Espino III led Cojuangco by 81,635 votes and another 29,692 in the fourth district.

Espino III again clobbered Cojuangco in the fifth district, amassing 129, 257 votes against his rival’s 71,520 votes or a difference of 57,737 votes. In the sixth district, the young Espino received 114,412 votes over Cojuangco’s 93,079 or a difference of 21,333 votes.

Based on election results, Espino III also won in the hometown of Cojuangco’s running mate, Mark Roy Macanlalay, Calasiao, where he garnered 27,286 votes beating Cojuangco with only 16, 640 votes.

In San Carlos City, the young Espino garnered 54,514 against Cojuangco who only got 21,473 votes, leading the latter by 33,041 votes. Cojuangco lost in San Carlos City despite the support of the Resuello brothers, Julier and Joseres whose family had been in power for the last 18 years.

Meanwhile in the fifth congressional race, Gov. Espino ended Rep. Cojuangco’s six-year reign when he garnered 133,381 votes against Cojuangco’s 92,943 votes, or a difference of 40,438 votes, winning in all towns except in Sison and Sto. Tomas.

In Sison, where the Cojuangcos made home for many years now after coming from Tarlac, they even failed to save their closest ally in the person of Mayor Mina Joy Pangasinan, who was beaten by Fifth District Board Member Danilo Uy.

Surprisingly, in Urdaneta City, a supposed bailiwick of the Cojuangcos ruled by the family of Manila Economic Cooperation Overseas chairman Amadeo Perez Jr., the Cojuangco couple were also beaten by the Espino son- father tandem.

The elder Espino got 33,763 votes in Urdaneta City against only 20,972 votes for Mrs. Cojuangco or a difference of 12,791 votes . In that vote-rich city, Espino III had 33,227 votes as compared to 20,612 votes for Mark Cojuangco or a difference of 12,615 votes.

With the Espinos able to extend their reign for another three years. the newly reelected and elected mayors of Pangasinan may gravitate towards the victors, leaving the future of existing political parties in the province in limbo for a while, till perhaps in 2019. Leonardo Micua/PNA/