Pangasinan governor cries harassment over graft case

>> Friday, February 26, 2016

By Eva Visperas

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Gov. Amado Espino Jr. said his political rivals were behind his indictment for graft over black sand mining in the province. 
“The issue here is no longer about black sand mining,” Espino said during a press conference last week, noting that even concerned government agencies found no black sand mining operations in the province.
“What they want is for me and my son not to run so that Mr. (Mark) Cojuangco will be unopposed in the coming polls,” he said.
Cojuangco is running against Espino’s son, Amado III, for governor of Pangasinan. Espino is running against Cojuangco’s wife, Kimi, who is seeking reelection as congresswoman in the fifth district of Pangasinan.
Espino said he was wondering why the Office of the Ombudsman released its ruling affirming his indictment less than 90 days before the elections.
He said Abono party-list chairman Rosendo So, a staunch supporter of the Cojuangcos, was behind it.
In a press conference on Tuesday, So said Espino should not blame other people over the ombudsman ruling.
”This is not politically motivated…We don’t want black sand mining here,“ So said.
No one can influence the ombudsman on its decisions, he added.
On Espino’s allegation that his group wants Cojuangco to run unopposed, So said the governor could not just pass the gubernatorial post to his children.
“This is not like royalty where the king or queen passes the throne to the children,” he said. 


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