LINGAYEN—A former Bureau of Customs examiner is aiming for a seat in the provincial board of Pangasinan to introduce reforms and innovations in local legislation and boost the administration’s anti- corruption campaign.
Reform-oriented Roberto “Butch” A. Merrera, who was part of the team that instilled graft-free procedures at Customs under the watch of Commissioner Napoleon Morales, urged incumbent members of the Pangasinan board to give up their SUVs and other expensive perks of the office in the name of Daang Matuwid policy.
The son of the late Mayor Roberto Merrera Sr. of Binmaley rallied the local media at the President Hotel Breakfast Club to fight graft and corruption, which remains prevalent among certain officials who unashamedly place private interest obscenely over and above public interest, undermining public trust.
In his rounds of Pangasinan, Merrera observed that some board members have acquired negative reputations due to reports that “they are using their office as an opportunity to enrich themselves, earning public dismay and contempt.”
Merrera belongs to a family of public servants including his father, a former mayor, and younger brother, Vice Mayor Pete Merrera who is running for mayor of Binmaley town.
Meanwhile, Board Member Alfonso Bince Jr. said the board members’ acquiring Ford Everest cars is a necessity, not a luxury.
“Of course, we expected some would raise a howl against this but they must also understand our plight,” Bince said.
Bince said they were thankful to Gov. Amado Espino Jr. for the vehicles, adding that in his more than 20 years in service as a board member, “this is the first time we were given a government-owned vehicle.”
He said this happened because of the Espino administration’s “judicious management of funds.”
Bince said the board members would have to turn over the vehicles to their successors, including Merrera if he wins and the incumbents’ term ends.