THERE WERE just 10 hours left to 2006, and practically everyone around the country was preparing to welcome the New Year. But in Lubao, Pampanga — the hometown of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo — more than 7,000 leaders and residents of nearby Porac were busy preparing for a showdown to take place in May 2007. And when the main speaker finally took to the stage at the rally held at the Lubao gym, he turned out to be Rodolfo ‘Bong’ Pineda, who may have spent the last two decades dodging the public eye, but is nevertheless acknowledged to be a major political kingmaker.
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