Delay in Cabanatuan HUC plebiscite blamed on Nueva Ecija governor

This refers to the news item “Polls for higher Cabanatuan City status postponed” (Inquirer, 11/29/12).

Indeed, through legal machinations, Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali has succeeded in blocking, nay, delaying, the implementation of the measure that will convert Cabanatuan City into a highly urbanized city (HUC) and make it more progressive.

Cabanatuan is a 62-year-old component city of Nueva Ecija. With a total population of 259,267 in 2007 and an annual income of P734.73 million in 2010, the city is more than qualified to be an HUC. Governor Umali, however, strongly opposes the move to convert Cabanatuan into an HUC, saying that the city is not yet ready to stand on its own and that the city government still needs the support of the provincial government.

On July 4, 2012, President Aquino proclaimed Cabanatuan an HUC, stating that “it is the declared policy of the government to support local government’s initiative to attain their fullest development and make them effective partners in the attainment of national goals.” The proclamation, which shall take effect only upon its ratification in a plebiscite by qualified voters, was favorably endorsed by noted political figures like Vice President Jojo Binay, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senators Chiz Escudero, Antonio Trillanes and Bong Revilla, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, and former Sen. Nene Pimentel.

Pursuant to the proclamation, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) scheduled the required plebiscite on Dec. 1 this year. But due to, among other reasons, a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by a regional trial court and a petition for “Certiorari and Prohibition” filed in the Supreme Court by HUC opposers led by Governor Umali, the plebiscite was postponed and reset to an unspecified date after next year’s May 13 elections. The postponement was promulgated on Nov. 27, or four days before the scheduled plebiscite.

The abrupt postponement of the Dec. 1, 2012, plebiscite by the Comelec was denounced and repudiated by a dismayed city official, saying that the city government had already prepared and spent for the political exercise. President Aquino, on his part, had declared Dec. 1, 2012, as a nonworking holiday for Cabanatuan City to allow its registered voters to actively participate in the plebiscite. The President had also deputized law enforcement agencies to ensure the peaceful and honest conduct of the referendum. In fine, the city’s and national government’s efforts and expenses in the preparation for and for the holding of the plebiscite went to waste.

The postponement was pure and simple a travesty of justice for Cabanatuan City and it drew the ire of its citizenry, Cabanatuan City Mayor Jay Vergara said. Vergara expressed hope that this would not happen to other qualified local government units similarly aspiring to become an HUC in order to be more progressive.

Let not the tyranny of power hold sway again.—GERTRUDEZ M. DULLE, former punong barangay, MS Garcia, Cabanatuan City

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=42417

Tags: Cabanatuan City , highly urbanized city (HUC) , Philippines – Regions , plebiscite , politics

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Boko Haram leader claims Nigeria capital bombing
  • Russia promises support to ending Ukraine crisis
  • Busted valve delays water interruption
  • Cardinal Tagle decries human ‘commercialization’
  • Religion builds bridges in ethnically split Cyprus
  • Sports

  • Vettel hoping for resurgence at Chinese GP
  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • PH boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare
  • Canadians back PH plea to take back waste
  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
  • Marketplace