Malacanang Orders Mayor Cataquiz to Vacate Post

mayor calixto cataquizWith a little over a month to go before the May 2013 elections and just days after the proclamation of San Pedro’s cityhood, Malacañang has order San Pedro Mayor Calixto R. Cataquiz to step down from office after the Supreme Court has found him guilty of graft during his stint as general manager of Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA).

The order, signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., read “Respondent (Cataquiz) is hereby removed as mayor of the municipality of San Pedro, Laguna. Accordingly, he is ordered to vacate his office immediately”

For those who are not aware, Cataquiz was dismissed as general manager of LLDA “on the grounds of corrupt and unprofessional behavior and management incompetence.”

Ochoa has directed DILG Secretary Mar Roxas to enforce the ruling of the Supreme Court and remove Cataquiz  from office.  As part of his penalty,  Cataquiz is  disqualified from reemployment in the government service and he will not receive his retirement benefits.”


You can read more details leading to Cataquiz’ downfall in the following news articles:

Convicted San Pedro, Laguna Mayor Calixto Cataquiz told: You lost moral ground

Mayor’s graft conviction final, says SC

Palace tells Laguna town mayor to vacate office


San Pedronian vs. San Pedrense, Part 2

San Pedronian vs. San PedrenseMore than three months ago, I received permission from Mr. Pepe Alas to publish his letter to Mayor Calixto R. Cataquiz about using San Pedrense instead of San Pedronian to refer to the people of San Pedro, Laguna.  He gave a historic and compelling argument that made me change the title and header image of this blog.

Now, I received another letter in response to Alas’ own. It was sent to my email by a reader who wants to remain anonymous. Again, I am publishing the letter in its entirety, unedited. I hope it sparks conversation among us, the people of San Pedro.

Hello Veronica,

Thank God I chanced to re-visit your site! Your blog about who we are – San Pedronian or San Pedrense – has been so insightful you needed to arrive at a wise decision to change the name of your blog and its header image.

Wait. I’m afraid my premise differs from that of the historian-letter sender. I wouldn’t be surprised if nothing has been done officially endorsing San Pedrense in a dire attempt to “correct the old mistake.”

Considering the utter lack of importance of this matter of speech involving practically all people of San Pedro, Laguna (its overseas people included), any jumping into conclusion bears nothing at all. Yet add my two cents I must, to avoid being accused of mocking my place’s identity and dishonoring its history because I also believe in the Filipino saying, “Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan.”

Let me tell you two points:

  1. Both San Pedrense and San Pedronian are correct.
  2. San Pedrense isn’t popularly used in San Pedro, Laguna so let’s promote it.

The letter-writer’s noble intention and his interest for a correction are very laudable. But when he agreed that San Franciscan is one who resides in San Francisco, he couldn’t have said San Pedronian is a wrong that needs to be rectified. Assuming that people of the USA are forever allowed to say it since San Franciscans are people of San Francisco, California, USA following his argument, allowing USA-based members of a San Pedronians club to say that they are San Pedronians forever are simply out of the question. And we are forever allowed to also follow American influences as much as we have some unobjectionable Spanish dictates.

The Philippines had 50 years in Hollywood and 300 years in the convent, so why not simply and unperturbedly view San Pedronian and San Pedrense as correct on all accounts?

Linguistically and from a socio-cultural standpoint, San Pedronian is a big mistake, according to the letter sender. Never. In fact, we cannot afford to lose that demonym just because San Pedro is Spanish that has San Pedrense as the equivalent Spanish demonym. Spanish is promoted only on an optional and voluntary basis but our official languages are Filipino and, unless provided by law, English (not Spanish). It follows, therefore, that the San Pedronian demonym is here to stay.

One need not be a language expert or require him to take advanced courses from Spanish to English and from legal writing to creative writing for him to appreciate the correctness of San Pedronian. He only knows San Pedronian as a proper noun, that’s it. We have private aspirations to let a resident know he is a San Pedrense, let’s all feel free to inform and educate him about it. But at the end of the day, the public has the right to decide for or against our private aspirations.

Veronica, mga San Pedrense tayo (Veronica, we are San Pedronians). We truly are, we would feel relaxed and unperturbed on such usage. BTW, I have used San Pedrense more than San Pedronian in my entire life. I also use “taga-San Pedro” and “tubong San Pedro” as compared to the letter sender’s “taal…”

How the letter-writer can argue with the English proper noun’s typical evolution is unfortunate. San Pedrense versus San Pedronian is just like Italyano/Italiano versus Italian, Amerikano/Americano versus American, Pilipino versus Filipino, Indiyano/Indiano versus Indian, Kastila/Spaniard versus Spanish, Israelita versus Israelite/Israeli, Mehikano/Mexicano versus Mexican, Aprikano/Africano versus African, Tsino/Intsik/Tsinoy/Chino versus Chinese, Koreyano/Koreano versus Korean, Romano versus Roman and many more, we don’t have right or wrong choices. That’s it.

Let nouns evolve (of course, with some restrictions). Let proper nouns evolve as well. But with a demonym, which is a mere sample of an upshot of evolution of words, gradually becoming an object of major queries would have consequences far more than simply academic. I would rather side with those agents of academic success; I consider the need to correct San Pedronian, Manilan, and the rest, as moot anyway.

When the late artist Francis Magalona said in part “Ako’y Manileño, taga-Mandaluyong” in one of his hit rap-songs, we allowed ourselves to be under Mga Kababayan’s leverage. That’s it. Need I say more on the relaxed feeling when we keep on singing this rap-song? Nobody cared to check where he was from, either Manila or Mandaluyong.

Contrary to the letter sender’s research, San Pedronian is accepted in its English form by people in the United States and other countries based on my Internet research. I even asked some of my American friends about it and they all verbally confirmed its correctness though, interestingly, one pronounced it as “San-Paydro-nian” and the two “San-Peedro-nian.” Also, “Pedronians” in the search engine entries could be treated as “San Pedronians” after sorting out such entries with reference to the demonym for the people of San Pedro.

How about questioning the letter sender’s being a Filipino with his spelling of “alcalde” and his phrases “dito sa Filipinas” and “tayong mga Filipino” and many other Spanish words he mentioned despite their being popularly spelled the Filipino way to follow his logic? I tell you, “mayor” hasn’t been popularly spelled as “alcalde” in one of its Filipino versions since the 1987 Philippine constitution, and same cases with his two three-word phrases. Check with average grade-schoolers, chances are they would have the guts to say that these were wrong and should have been spelled as “dito sa Pilipinas,” “tayong mga Pilipino” and “alkalde.”

San Pedrense versus San Pedronian? It’s a non-issue to the people of San Pedro, Laguna in particular and the Filipino people in the Philippines and abroad in general.


When the Local Gov’t Screws You Over

Some time in July of this year, I approached the local Public Affairs & Information Office (PAIO) to get some basic info about the town of San Pedro, Laguna. I was after general facts and trivia that I couldn’t seem to find on the net. I am building a WordPress site for the town — on my own time and expense– and I wanted to get my facts straight. The PAIO seems to be the best way to go about getting the right information.


I was lucky because I was able to speak directly to the head of the PAIO that afternoon. She was young and understands the concept of blogging. She confided in me that she’s got all the info for the web site on data disks but she is having a difficult time working with the people who designed the town’s web site. It appears that they were only paid to design the web site and not maintain it. Thus, she cannot get them to upload new content on the site.


She asked me what I planned to do about the site. I told her that I am planning to build a blogazine about the town since the official web site was not up to my standards. I told her that instead of Flash or Joomla, I’d be using WordPress because it is easier to manage and fits perfectly with what I wanted to do. I showed her my blogs, Nica’s Day Out and The Virtual Assistant, to prove to her that I know what I am doing. I even showed her a Blogger blog for Nothern Allen, Samar which I built for a friend.


You’d think that with all the chatting we’ve done, I’d walk away with the information I wanted. Right? Well, I didn’t. She wanted me to submit a proposal about my site, including the CMS I am going to use and an overview of the content. She explained that she is just cautious with releasing information. Others have come before me asking for such info and used it against the local government. In my mind I was thinking how could general facts be used for bad publicity, but hey I don’t mind doing the proposal. In fact, I thought it was a  good idea. You should always have a plan in hand.


I submitted the proposal in printed format a week after. I was hoping to talk to her but she was cloistered in an meeting so I just left the proposal with one of her assistants. I texted her the same day informing her that I already dropped off the plan. She replied that she got it and promised she’d get back to me next week for her decision.
After three weeks and still no word from her, I followed up by text message. She said that the higher ups haven’t decided what to do yet and that she’d let me know once they have made the decision. This confounded me even further. I did not send her the proposal to get their permission to build my blogazine. I just needed information that I can use for my web site. I smell something fishy going on.


As a graduate of Public Administration from the University of the Philippines and a former municipal scholar under the administration of then Mayor Fely Vierneza (thanks to Shie for pointing my earlier error), I know red tape and bureaucratic shit when I see one. This is one of those of moments. My gut was telling me that I shouldn’t have given them my proposal but I did that in goodwill. But whatever goodwill I wanted to cultivate was lost in the sneaky manner by which they came up with a new web site.


san pedro laguna


Fast forward to four months since I went to the local PAIO — San Pedro has got a new web site, which by the way is STILL under construction. It was done in a layout similar to what I intended my blogazine to be. It even bears an uncanny resemblance to the menus I was planning to put up there. So this was the spoiled fish I was smelled. My ears are getting red.


But then I realized, it’s partly my fault. I shouldn’t have given them that proposal. I shouldn’t have trusted the head of PAIO, who’s probably out looking for herself. So I won’t get mad. I will just proceed with what I planned four months ago– a blogazine for San Pedro. But unlike my original plan, I’d do this on a free platform and not even buy a domain name — for now.