(A Reprint from the Sunday Punch)
… I was seated next to Danding during the historic lunch and, aside from basketball and Brown, Danding and I had touched on Pangasinan politics, as well.
“I heard your son, Mark, is interested in becoming governor of Pangasinan?”
“Of course, not,” Danding said. “Espines should continue the good work he’s been doing in your province. I heard he’s been really doing well. Someone told me Espines is the best governor Pangasinan has ever had.”
I mentioned Nani Braganza, the mayor of Alaminos.
“Oh, he will be no match against Espines,” Danding said. “At this stage, I believe Espines is unbeatable.”
And he next turned to me.
“How about you, when are you running for Congressman in your district?” Danding asked.
In 1992, when Danding ran for President, he egged me on – together with the great Tio Condring Estrella – to run for that post.
“I will support you all the way,” he said to me then.
I politely declined.
“How about next year?” he said. “Just tell me when you are ready, OK?”
I just smiled, and said to him, “Thank you, Boss. I’ll keep that in mind.”