The other side on VP Leni’s Antique rally

By Herbert Vego

MAYOR Elmer Untaran was rumored to have been one of the mayors prevented by Rep. Loren Legarda from gracing the political rally of Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan Wednesday last week (Feb. 16).

“Not true,” he told this writer on the phone yesterday. “In fact, I had received no invitation letter to join them.  It was only on Monday or two days before the event that a man and two women, claiming to be their advance party, sought me for permit to hold the rally at the Evelio B. Javier Freedom Park. I granted the permission and vowed to mobilize traffic and security arrangements from the airport to the venue. I also requested them to include in the duo’s itinerary a courtesy call at the municipal hall but was turned down because it had already been finalized.

“Therefore, I opted to be in Iloilo City on the date of their visit for an emergency [unspecified], knowing that Vice Governor Edgar Denosta had been tasked to welcome them.

“I was not expected to be on the rally stage.  It’s because I have a different presidential candidate, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.”

What about the mayors of the 17 other towns of the province?  They, too, were absent from the Leni-Kiko rally.

“I have no idea,” Untaran quipped.

I promised the mayor “nothing less, nothing more” than what he told me in our Kinaray-a dialect.

If I heard it right, however, he fears no opponent in his re-election bid; he has none.


That is the question asked and answered by Eric C. Otayde – former head of the media office of the Antique provincial government, part-time political science professor at Central Philippine University (CPU) and administrative/supply officer at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) regional office – as regards the insinuation that Rep. Loren Legarda instigated the “boycott” by incumbent local politicians of the political rally of Vice-President Leni Robredo in San Jose on February 16, 2022.

The alleged “power play” also resulted in the non-inclusion of congressional candidate Abdiel Dan “Ade” Fajardo – past president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines — from the program.

In his opinion piece forwarded to this writer, Nonoy Eric begged to disagree:

“Assuming for the sake of argument that the rumor is true (the assumption is even misplaced), what would Loren get or benefit from it? Why this kind of spin, when the same is so farfetched, illogical and even crudely planned, crafted and designed in a way that never actually lent credence and legitimacy if only to achieve the purpose of undermining Loren’s leadership and venerable reputation as a stateswoman?

“Consider this: She is in the top three nationwide senatorial surveys and has maintained that position since the latter part of last year (2021) until a week ago. She is a guest senatorial candidate of almost all presidential candidates except of VP Leni. If it is for this reason that the spin on her snubbing the Vice President began, then surely that would be a huge insult to the intelligence and level headedness of her kasimanwas.

“I used to lecture to my students that the ‘spin’ is a form of propaganda that provides biased interpretation of an event to influence public opinion about an organization or a public figure. It uses disingenuous, deceptive and manipulative tactics.

“Due to Loren’s stature as an iconic national leader and legislator, she really is fair game to her political detractors. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have time to respond, explain or clarify the issue as she is just too busy and preoccupied with her national campaign sorties.

“What really happened was, first, VP Leni’s first campaign sortie in Antique was poorly organized. There was no official invitation from her office for the incumbent local officials to attend. It was the Kakampinks, the thousands of Leni volunteers, who transformed themselves into a movement that organized the campaign event.

“Second, protocol-conscious as she is, Deputy Speaker Loren saw to it that VP Leni’s visit is well appreciated by sending her a gift through Miss Rhoda Pon-an.”

If I got Noy Eric right, he expects the two ladies to talk and enlighten each other one day soon.



EACH time there is power brownout in Iloilo City, the power-distribution utility bears the brunt of public criticism.  As far as Iloilo City is concerned, it’s MORE Power on the receiving end.

The truth of the matter, however, is that, since the company merely distributes energy, the cause of power failure may also be traced to malfunctions of the power generator or the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) that transmits energy from any of the generating utilities to the distribution utility.

This corner makes this clarification in view of the scheduled 12-hour power interruptions on Saturday (Feb. 26) from 6 a.m. to 6 pm. The NGCP would be doing corrective maintenance of its 50-MVA power transformer.  There is therefore a need to shut down its Sta. Barbara Power Barge 69-KV line during the rehab work.

As far as MORE Power is concerned, the 12-hour power interruption would affect the areas covered by the Lapaz Substation, City Proper Feeder 2, a portion of the City Proper feeder 1, the entire Jaro substation, Mandurriao substation, and Megaworld substation.

A shorter 8-hour would affect the Molo Substation, City Proper Feeders 3 and 4, a portion of the City Proper Feeder 1 due to line configuration.

MORE Power’s President Roel Z. Castro would not take it sitting down.  He has already instructed his technical men to conduct parallel line works, as in replacement of old poles with new ones and upgrading of the feeder lines.

The aforesaid are among the essential activities aimed at keeping MORE Power customers fully empowered during the forthcoming summer and the May 9 elections, which would entail bigger demand for electricity.

It would take MORE no more than five years to completely modernize its distribution facilities.

The company is also in the process of safeguarding such facilities.  This is being done through consistent monitoring of power lines, which has led to arrests of power pilferers caught in the act of installing “jumpers”.

It is in the interest of power consumers to keep the lines free from overloading, which could lead to fire accidents. Three such fires razed homes at Burgos-Mabini, La Paz district and Fatima Subdivision within four hours last Tuesday.

It is ironic, considering that the next month of March is celebrated as the Fire Prevention Month, and that it is in this month when fires usually occur.