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


  • Ukraine FM: We are ready to fight Russia
  • Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  • 2 contractors fined P25,000 for delays in Edsa rehab
  • Luisita beneficiaries take over renters
  • 5 years of hard work pay off for top UP grad
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • A brand for life
  • Wear a rainbow on your wrist
  • Wearing Kate Moss
  • Sail into summer
  • Life lessons from the Ultimate Warrior
  • Entertainment

  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • OMB exec’s assurance: We work 24/7
  • Business

  • Gaming stocks gain, PSEi eases on profit-taking
  • Cebu Pacific flew 3.74M passengers as of March
  • Corporate bonds sweeteners
  • Professionals in the family business
  • Foreign funds flowed out in Q1, says BSP
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  • US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • Marketplace