Goco: No turning back on ‘crusade’

- Eva Visperas () - April 17, 2004 - 12:00am
STA. BARBARA, Pangasinan — "Pangasinan needs a full-time governor."

Thus said Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) gubernatorial candidate Marietta Primicias-Goco who is waging what she described as a "crusade" against a seemingly invincible opponent, re-electionist Gov. Victor Agbayani.

With her elder brother, former governor Cipriano "Tito" Primicias Jr., Goco called for a press conference at her residence here last Wednesday to rally support for her crusade.

"I consider this a crusade because Pangasinan has been overtaken. We need a full-time governor. Full time for a full commitment. Pangasinan is such a big, big province. We were the premier province once upon a time," she said.

Goco, daughter of former Senate Majority Floor Leader Cipriano Primicias of Alcala town, admitted that she is putting up a very difficult fight, slugging it out one-on-one with Agbayani who is now seeking his third and last term. However, she said the May 10 polls show that "at least for Pangasinan, democracy is alive."

Goco said that as a challenger, she is coming from behind because Agbayani has well-entrenched political machinery.

Goco was a co-convenor of the social reform council under the administration of former President Fidel Ramos, chairman of the Presidential Commission to Fight Poverty and the national program director of Ramos’ Moral Recovery Program.

For his part, Primicias found it rather surprising that for such a big province as Pangasinan with so many able politicians, nobody, except for his sister, surfaced to fight Agbayani.

"Why is it that nobody has the daring to stand up against Agbayani? Why, is he the best governor Pangasinan has ever had?" he asked.

Primicias said they did not want Agbayani to run unopposed because his administration "is not the ideal type of administration."

He said Agbayani is only a part-time governor who goes to the Urduja House, the official seat of power and residence of the Pangasinan governor, only once a week.

"...Pangasinan deserves more than that. You are probably wondering why he has a nonchalant or uncaring attitude," Primicias said.

He said Agbayani inherited the network of his late father, former governor Aguedo Agbayani, but was not born in Pangasinan, does not have his own home in the province up to now, and his family does not live in Pangasinan.

According to Primicias, the elder Agbayani, who died only last year, served Pangasinan as governor for the longest period.

The young Agbayani stays in his father’s residence in Barangay Pangapisan, Lingayen town, whenever he comes to the province once a week.

Agbayani, however, said he is always out of the province to look for funding for his projects. He has repeatedly likened himself to a father who has to work outside the home so he could provide for the needs of his family.

Goco though is optimistic that she has a chance in the coming polls. She said that in Philippine history, many elections had been won not by machinery and money but by people making good decisions.

"I’m not going to withdraw," she said.

She said she is banking on the people’s wise choice. "I think the people of Pangasinan are not only intelligent but know how to choose the best candidate," she said.

Primicias lost to Agbayani in the 1998 elections.

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