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3 PMA alumni announce candidacies at homecoming

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 01:47pm (Mla time) 02/17/2007

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Tight security prevented the entry of campaign paraphernalia into the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) grounds, but three of its alumni provided political color to the homecoming rites on Saturday by announcing their plans to seek local posts in the May mid-term elections.

Retired police director Eduardo Matillano (in photo below) said he would seek the mayoralty of Puerto Princesa City, challenging incumbent Edward Hagedorn, who is allied with the administration Lakas party.

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Matillano’s classmate or “mistah” from the PMA Class 1971, retired police Deputy Director General Reynaldo Velasco (in photo below), said he would run for mayor in his hometown in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan province.dsc01256.jpg

Army Colonel Abraham Purugganan said he would run for congressman in La Union province. As one of the founders of the Young Officers Union (YOU), Purugganan led the 1989 coup d’etat, the bloodiest attempt to overthrow the Aquino administration. He left the military after being granted amnesty in the mid-1990s.

Purugganan’s adopted “mistah” and co-founder of the YOU, Brigadier General Danilo Lim, is one of 28 officers facing court martial over the failed coup d’etat in late February 2006.

Reelectionist Senator Panfilo Lacson, a “mistah” of Matillano and Velasco, was a no-show during the homecoming celebrations in Fort Del Pilar here.

Two other alumni, who are seeking Senate posts, are in detention while on trial for coup d’etat: former senator Gregorio Honasan and Navy Lieutenant Senior Grade Antonio Trillanes IV.

Former national police chief Arturo Lomibao, who is reportedly running for governor in Pangasinan province, was also a no-show.

Matillano said he would solve political killings if elected. He cited the case of radio commentator Fernando “Dong” Batul, whose case, he said, has not been solved.

The retired general said he was not intimidated by Hagedorn, saying a survey showed him with a 60-percent “approval rating” compared to Hagedorn’s 32 percent.

“The President does not make mayors. It’s the people who will vote,” Matillano said, when asked about Hagedorn’s close ties to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Matillano said he was still looking for a political party, but he has “signified intention” to join Arroyo’s Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) party, which is under the administration coalition like Hagedorn’s Lakas.

Velasco, for his part, said: “You will see, in three years, Sta. Barbara will be on the map.”

“We will prove that what they [incumbent officials] did in nine years, we can do in one year,” he said, referring to the three successive three-year terms that local officials are allowed to hold under law.

Velasco also took the cudgels for Lacson and Honasan, saying: “You can see what they are fighting for, reforms.”

“Come to think of it, it will be easier to just take care of grandchildren [after retirement]…They can say we are troublemakers but all we want are reforms,” he said.

The PMA tightened security for the homecoming after the military leadership declared all camps off limits to political campaigns. Officials have threatened to court martial those who will campaign inside camp and vowed to confiscate election materials.

The 1971 class wore suits topped off with cowboy hats, a common accessory for the other batches that marched on Borromeo field.

Members of Class 1970, including defense secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., and his undersecretary, Ernesto Carolina, wore suits with identical purple ties and hats that bore their class logo.

Class 1974, whose “mistah” include Military Chief General Hermogenes Esperon, and all the commanders of the major services, wore cotton barongs.

Others went casual, wearing jeans and shirts, including Classes 1989, 1976, 1995, 2005, and 2006.

Trillanes’s “mistahs” at Class 1995, who wore identical white shirts with blue stripes, refused to comment on his candidacy. Welcome banners for the class were also in blue, not the red which is Trillanes’s campaign color.

Red is also the color of the flag that bore the insignia of Trillanes’s Magdalo group, which staged the short-lived Oakwood mutiny on July 27, 2003.

The ladies also wore matching outfits. Many were in handwoven tops. The wives of Class 1967 stood up and cheered as their husbands marched in front of the Borromeo field grandstand.

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Written by joelguinto

SatUTC2007-02-17T07:05:11+00:00UTC02bUTCSat, 17 Feb 2007 07:05:11 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am02

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