In Huddle

Romasanta reaction

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Why was I not surprised to get a reaction call last Sunday morning, the same day my column on the POC election situation came out?

I had predicted and told Abap secretary general Manny Lopez, who is running for first vice president, that his statement was going to be explosive, especially when he said “(MVP’s) ascension to the (POC) presidency is soon to come.”

When Joey Romasanta, Manny’s rival for the post, called last Sunday, I had to review the entire statement of Manny. I wondered why Joey had reacted to the item since there was no personal attack on him.

I asked Manny for his group’s stand on presidential candidate Go Teng Kok and he  said they had none yet. He added that GTK’s group and his  share a common goal and that  they are both agents for reforms and change in the present leadership, which Joey has served for more than four decades.

* * *

Joey, whom I had known since his Gintong Alay days back in the ’80s, said he just called “to set the record straight.”

“This is no longer about the POC election,” he said. “It’s about my friendship with Manny Pangilinan and Ricky Vargas, which I value.”

Joey said he goes back a long way with MVP, who was in the same batch with him in San Beda.

“In fact, I went to his office a few months back to personally offer him the POC chairmanship. I’d like to think we established some rapport during that brief meeting,” Joey said.

He added he was also at Ricky’s Maynilad office in Diliman after the long All Saints Day weekend. One purpose of the visit, he said, was to present Ricky with a report of the election committee.

“This report will bear out the fact that I had stated that  the POC executive board or the general assembly might be willing to accept Mr. Manny Pangilinan as chair or president of the POC,” said Joey.

“The reply of Manny Lopez to my statement was also in the same report. He said it contravenes a provision in the POC bylaws which requires that to be president, one must have been active in the General Assembly for at least two years.”

Joey offered to send me a copy of the report to authenticate his claim. We must have talked on the phone for more than 30 minutes or even close to an hour. After our talk, I realized that he had not straightened out any record—which was the purpose of his call.

If at all, what he had set out to do was discredit Manny Lopez to MVP and Ricky Vargas.

But he had already given Ricky a copy of this report during his post-All Saints Day visit and Ricky must have thrown the document in the trash bin after reading it because his ties with Manny Lopez’s group remained solid.

Still, I had to confront Manny with the Romasanta accusation. He offered to e-mail the latest minutes of the POC executive committee meeting held last Nov. 14.

“I hope that will clear everything. No amount of black propaganda and lies can twist reality. The truth will always come out and prevail,” Manny said.

* * *

Actually, there was a lengthy discussion on the word “contravene” in the Nov. 14 meeting  where minutes of the previous (Sept. 12 ) meeting were scrutinized for approval. Manny Lopez said he never uttered the word “contravene” and it was proven that he never did. In the transcript, Manny Lopez was quoted to have said:  “It states clearly that a President cannot run if he has not been active in the POC General Assembly for the last two years.”

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