Espino says suspension is matter of legal procedure

Espino says suspension is matter of legal procedure

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — Pangasinan Fifth district Representative Amado T. Espino, Jr. said the preventive suspension order issued on him by the Sandiganbayan sixth division on Sept. 7 was bound to happen as a matter of legal procedure due to the alleged blacksand mining issue hurled against him during his stint as governor of Pangasinan.

“The suspension is not penal in character but merely a preventive measure before final judgment,” Rep. Espino clarified in the press statement he released at noontime on Friday. He was preventively suspended for 90 days.

Citing the ministerial duty of the court to issue a preventive suspension order, Espino stressed in his official statement that the filing of blacksand mining issue was purely a fabricated and politically-motivated harassment case purposely designed to influence the results of his re-election bid for gubernatorial post in May 2013 against Liberal Party (LP) bet Hernani Braganza, and when he ran against National People’s Coalition (NPC) candidate Kimi Cojuangco for the 5th district congressional race last May this year.

The black sand mining issue, which now snags the development of the eco-tourism zone and golf course project of the provincial government, was raised as an issue to malign the integrity of former governor Espino to prop up the candidacies of his opponents in the May 2013 gubernatorial polls and in the May 2016 5th congressional district race, respectively.

Espino won against separate opponents in both elections.

“The people of Pangasinan who are living witnesses to the truth, and as a proof of their independence and maturity, have consistently refused to be swayed by the dirty hand of politics, gave me and my son, who is now Pangasinan Governor Amado ‘Pogi’ I. Espino III, overwhelming votes of confidence for me in May 2013,and for both of us in May 2016,” Rep. Espino said.

Rep. Espino likewise cited that a fabricated murder case was filed against him in 2012 – immediately before the May 2013 election.

The murder case, which tagged him along with 1st district Representative Jesus “Boying” Celeste as perpetrators to the murder of late Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez, was finally dismissed by the Department of Justice in August 2015 after lone witness, Jestin Aquino, who was then a 16-year-old minor, confessed thru an affidavit that it was former Alaminos City Mayor Braganza and Atty. Bodie Pulido who weaved the murder story.

Meanwhile, the original 13 complainants of the blacksand mining issue have also confessed that they were used by Espino’s political opponents during the May 2013 election.

Vicente Oliquino, a barangay kagawad at Sabangan, Lingayen, and his fellow complainants in the association AROMAS and other concerned citizens of Pangasinan, have appealed to editors and management of national dailies not to be unwittingly used by newspapers as sources of false reports disguised as news, and to discipline their reporters who allegedly “keep on peddling lies and who are viciously violating the tenets and basic principles of journalism.”

It can be recalled that in January 2013, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for the golf course project which means that the project complies with the existing environmental laws and regulations.

DENR’s issuance of ECC for the golf course project has eventually swayed 13 original complainants of the blacksand mining to support the eco-tourism zone development project which seeks to bring investment and job opportunities for Pangasinenses. PNA/