DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines — A mock election conducted by students and faculty members of the University of Pangasinan (U of P) before the start of campaign period for local candidates for those running for governor of Pangasinan was won by Amado “Pogi” Espino III by a wide margin against his lone opponent, Mark Cojuangco.
Espino, an ex-officio member of the provincial board, being incumbent president of the Association of Barangay Councils Federation, is the son and namesake of Governor Amado Espino Jr.
Cojuangco is a former three-term congressman in the fifth district of Pangasinan and is husband of the incumbent congresswoman Kimi Cojuangco.
The result of the voting showed that the younger Espino garnered 73 percent of the 1,463 votes cast and Cojuangco, the remaining 27 percent.
Apparently, the young Espino was the hands down choice of U of P students and faculty members, apparently owing much to his being a true-blue Pangasinense.
Cojuangco, although living in the eastern Pangasinan town of Sison, was regarded by many as a stranger in Pangasinan, having come from Tarlac.
Many said the result of the mock polls could be indicative of how majority of Pangasinenses will vote in the gubernatorial contest on May 9.
“Pangasinenses, like the genuine Ilocanos of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, are clannish in nature in that they will cast their votes in favor of one identified with them, one who talks in the local dialect,” a political analyst and a U of P professor, pointed out.
The young Espino was raised in the rustic neighborhood in his parents’ hometown of Bautista, Pangasinan, an agricultural community of mixed Pangasinenses-Ilocanos. He studied in Baguio City where he finished a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurial management.
The UP-based political analyst observed that the favors for the young Espino were drawn much from the achievements his father, the incumbent governor, made over the past eight years.
The achievement record, obtained from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), showed that Pangasinan regained its title as “food basket of Northern Luzon,” bagging the hall of fame award from the Department of Agriculture as “top rice producer” and two-time “top corn producer” in the country.
Pangasinan, under Espino’s stewardship, also was recognized as a “model in health care program” with its hospital services that meet international standards, thus earning ISO-certified accreditation. PNA/northboundasia.com