Wednesday, May 31, 2017

*432. THE MORALESES OF MABALACAT

DON QUINTIN MORALES, was the first of the Moraleses to hold an important office in Mabalacat. he was elected teniente del barrio of Poblacion. His younger brother, Feliciano, is the great-grandfather of Mayor Marino "Boking" Morales". 

Morales is a top-of-mind name associated with the political history of Mabalacat. And of the Moraleses that have served Mabalacat in different capacities through the years, one name stands out,  not so  much for the quality of leadership but for his longevity of tenure—Mayor Marino "Boking" Morales whose 22 years in office makes him the longest-serving mayor of the Philippines.

But before Mayor Boking, there have been a few Morales forebears who have rendered their services to the municipality of Mabalacat, in different capacities. The Morales clan could trace its beginnings to the patriarch, Mariano Morales who married Agustina Tuazon, possibly in the 1830s. The Morales couple, known members of the town principalia,  begat four children, all boys—Quintin (b.1856/d. 31 Oct. 1928), Feliciano, Valentin and Simeon (b. 4 Jul, 1880/d.24 Oct. 1942).

Quintin, the eldest son, married Paula Guzman y Cosme (b.1851/d. 7 Mar 1943,  and during the Spanish times, became a teniente del barrio (or cabeza de barangay) of Poblacion, where he and his wife settled. Quintin is buried somewhere in the sacristy of the Divine Grace Church. Of the couple’s 5 children, the youngest, Atty. Rafael Morales (b. 24 Oct. 1893/d.1967), would also venture into politics—he was elected as consejal (councilor) for two terms, during the Commonwealth years, under the mayoralties of Dr. Jose T. Garcia (1932-35) and Jose Mendoza (1940-41).

Younger brother Valentin Morales was elected teniente mayor of Sapang Bato, also during the Spanish colonial period; the youngest, Simeon, and his descendants, did not seem to show any political ambitions.

Feliciano’s son with Juana Pantig, Miguel Morales, would bring the Morales political family tradition to a higher, more prominent profile. The U.S.T. medical graduate would rise from being a medico de sanidad (department health head) of Apalit to becoming the first elected mayor of Mabalacat after the Liberation (1948-1951). As chief executive, he was responsible for building the wooden Morales Bridge, which provided the vital link between Sta. Ines and Poblacion. Mayor Morales also organized the first hydroelectric power plant, later operated by the Tiglaos. He was at the forefront of a campaign against the rising Huk movement when he was assassinated in 1951.

But it was his grandson, Marino (son of Ignacio), who would set his name on record books for a much different and unusual accomplishment. First elected mayor in June 1995, Morales began his term while Mabalacat was still reeling from the Pinatubo aftermath. He managed to extend his term through legal technicalities, strange twists of luck and with much help from election law wiz, Atty Romulo Macalintal . Amazingly, Morales would be re-elected in 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010 elections.

When Mabalacat became a component city, Morales  filed yet again another certificate of candidacy. He was qualified to run, he said, because the status of Mabalacat had changed from that of a town into a city. Once again, amidst protests, he won the May 2016 elections. But on August 2016,  the disqualification protest filed by losing candidate Pyra Lucas resulted in Comelec First Division’s granting of her petition.  This was finally affirmed on 30 May 2017 by Comelec en banc whch ruled that the First Division’s cancellation of Morales’ certificate of candidacy was valid.

It looks like the incredible political career of Boking Morales---which had withstood charges of corruption, vote-buying and ballot-burning, familial discords, several changes in marital partners, and most recently, inclusion in Duterte’s list of narco-politicians—is finally coming to an end, at least for now. But the pool of Moraleses waiting in the wings to take on his mantle is wide and deep. Possible successors include son Dwight ( a councilor); daughter Marjorie Morales-Sambo (she once declared her bid to unseat her father); and of course, his current wife Nina, whom he initially fielded in the 2016 mayoralty race.

Morales may be down, but not out—not yet. As this article is being written, he can still resort to a few legal remedies--a temporary restraining order is one. Besides, there is still the world-record of Hilmar Moore to beat—the mega-mayor of Richmond, Texas who served his town from 1949 until his death in 2012---an epic run of 63 years! If he does that, Mabalacat may as well be renamed as Morales City, Pampanga. 

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