Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ecija gov tells political foes on b-day : “Sorry that I have hurt you”

PALAYAN CITY – Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali on Friday celebrated his birthday by apologizing to his political opponents who he may have hurt in his past speeches.

          Speaking at the jampacked Palayan City Convention Center here on the occasion of his 49th birthday celebration , Umali issued an impassioned appeal to politicians from his rival camp, saying they should forgive and forget and become friends, even though they may not necessarily become  allies eventually.

          “I can always say sorry to those whom I have hurt with what I have said. But even if you are a political opponent, we can both forgive each other although we may not become allies,” he said.

          He said that whatever the past is between them, there is always the future to look up to where he and the others can be friends.

          Umali’s birthday bash was attended by mayors and other politicians identified with the Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija of the Josons who he unseated from the Capitol in 2007 with his landslide victory, ending their 48-year reign.

          Among the Balane-allied Mayors were Nerivi Santos-Martinez of Talavera, Francis Steven Dizon of Guimba and Froilan Nagaño Jr. of San Leonardo.   

          During his speech, Umali turned to Board Member Mark Anthony Esquivel and asked him to convey his best wishes to the latter’s father, former Jaen mayor Antonio Prospero Esquivel.

The elder Esquivel is a staunch ally of Umali’s political rival, former vice governor Mariano Cristino Joson who he defeated in 2007.    

          Looking dapper in a long-sleeved navy blue polo and jeans, the governor - who is on his last term as provincial chief executive - then said he is turning over the Capitol “to the one who owns my  heart,” referring to gubernatorial aspirant, outgoing third district Rep. Czarina Umali.

          The event looked every bit like a mini-concert of sorts with the popular Side A band and Rico J. Puno entertaining the crowd  with a variety of songs.

          The governor and his wife then sang a duet of the song “Tell Me” as if renewing their marital ties, with someone from the audience hollering: “Mabuhay ang Bagong Kasal (Long Live the Newly Wedded Couple).” He also  sang with Czarina’s running mate, Vice Gov. Jose Gay Padiernos.

          Aside from Czarina, joining the governor in the event were his mother Isabelita, daughters Gabrielle Lois, Patricia Marie, Alexandra Maxene and Ayka Mikaela, brothers Raymond and Emmanuel Umali, a former board member, former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office director Jose Taruc V among others. (Manny Galvez)

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