Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mercado denies pa’s mayoral bid, reaffirms support to Cuevas

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija – Vice Mayor Florante Mercado has denied reports that his father, former Makati City vice mayor Nestor Mercado is gunning for mayor in this city to challenge the reelection bid of Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas even as he reaffirmed his and the Sangguniang Panglungsod’s support to the executive agenda and programs of the local chief executive.
          Speaking during an out-of-town meeting with Cuevas, city councilors and barangay chairmen in Baler, Aurora, Mercado dismissed as sheer speculations that his father would make a political comeback by seeking the mayorship in this provincial capital.
          “This issue of my father running for mayor of Palayan is farthest from the truth. He no longer want to re-enter politics,” he said.
          The younger Mercado issued his statement after word spread that the elder Mercado is planning a comeback after his aborted mayoral run in Makati City against Junjun Binay.
Cuevas and the younger Mercado belong to rival political parties. Cuevas is a partymate of Gov. Aurelio Umali at the Liberal Party and its local party Unang Sigaw Partido ng Pagbabago while Mercado ran for vice mayor under the Nationalist People’s Coalition and the local party Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija of the Josons.
Both won by landslides in last May’s elections. Cuevas defeated former three-term congressman Pacifico Fajardo by some 4,500 votes  while Mercado clobbered Cuevas’ running mate, former three-term mayor Romeo Capinpin by 2,900 votes.
          Nestor was once a staunch ally of Binay’s father, Vice President Jejomar Binay. He was his running mate for three terms.
          When the elder Binay’s term as mayor was to expire in 2010 due to the three-term limit, Nestor started to campaign for mayor but Jejomar suddenly fielded his son.
          The younger Mercado said his father was already committed so he went on with his mayoral bid out of principles.
          In his case, the younger Mercado said he will never fight Cuevas and that for as long as the latter remains as mayor, the position he will be seeking is that of vice mayor.
          “I will never fight you. It’s because I have never seen anything wrong in what you are telling us to do,” he said of Cuevas as political leaders and city hall personnel cheered. Also in the audience was Cuevas’ husband, Bong.
          Mercado told the audience to disabuse their minds of the thought that he and his camp is planning to contest the city’s top post. He said he and Cuevas have no disagreements, real or imagined.
          He recalled that before he entered City Hall after they won last year, he told Cuevas “You are the mayor, You are the one to be  followed,” he said.
          He also said that his absence in certain official functions of Cuevas was no indication that he was distancing himself from her. “The truth of the matter was that I was tending to my business so I was not able to go with her,” he said.
          Mercado also defended himself and the SP from criticisms and complaints that they are blocking certain requests forwarded for approval, particularly by some barangay chairmen.
          “Some say I was blocking all requests forwarded to the SP. I have no right to do that. As a presiding officer, I just bang the gavel. So it’s not true that there are pending requests in our office,” he said.
          Mercado said some of the requests take some time before they get approved because the SP deliberate on them. “We have a process to be followed. We are just doing our job. We have to do it because it will be subject for review by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan,” he explained.             
          Mercado reiterated that for him, elections are just one day, saying he will not politicize development.
He said the issue of majority and minority is no longer relevant in the 10-man SP, saying the programs of the sitting mayor deserve the support of everyone, especially if this involves the welfare of majority of Palayanos. – Manny Galvez

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