By JOEL J. JABAL
The Mindoro Post
Mayor Leandro “Kuya Dodjie” Panganiban has called on his constituents to rally behind his administration to transform the sleepy town of Pola into a more progressive town.
“Thank God, all of us can now move forward and put behind this election protest. I am grateful that the court upheld my victory and dismissed the election protest of my rival,” said the 42-year old Panganiban, a first-termer (not reelected as previously reported).
Panganiban was referring to the December 29, 2010 decision of the Regional Trian Court of Pinamalayan, Branch 42, which dismissed “for lack of merit” the election protest filed by former movie actress Ina Alegre . The 11-page decision, penned by Judge Recto A. Calabocal, presiding judge of RTC Branch 42, dismissing the election protest of Alegre (Jennifer M. Cruz in real life) of the Liberal Party was promulgated on January 11.
Prior to the court decision, he said there were talks that “I could not sit as Mayor of Pola and that I would not last as Mayor of Pola. The court decision has proven them wrong.”
Panganiban said he is not that worried anymore even if Alegre files a motion for reconsideration.
“All that I wanted to do now is concentrate all my energies as mayor in bringing development to Pola,” said Panganiban, who won as mayor in the May 2010 elections after an unsuccessful bid in 2007.
He garnered 5,088 votes against Alegre’s 4,979 to win his second term as mayor of Pola, hometown of broadcast personality and former Vice-President and Senator Noli De Castro.
“My mantra has always been: I am mayor of the people of Pola, whether they voted for me or not. I am calling on my people and all the politicians to help me in bringing more development to Pola,” he said.
Responding to Panganiban’s call, Pola Vice-Mayor Raul Pagkaliwagan and members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Pola, including those belonging to the Liberal Party, have pledged support for Panganiban. Pagkaliwagan and his councilors joined Panganiban in his press conference at Hong Kong Restaurant in Pinamalayan.
Panganiban said that among his priority projects would be the improvement of the public market, construction of more farm-to-market roads, health and education and providing livelihood and job opportunities for Pola residents.
Ivy de Castro, Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer of Pola, said that the conclusion of the election protest has given Pola residents a “feeling of relief and hope”.
“We are happy that the election case is over. We hope the politicians can unite and work together for a more progressive Pola,” de Castro said.