Vice mayoral races-A A +A
My Palm Notes
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
IT’S 11 months before the next elections and candidates are off early.
No thanks to a Comelec schedule that calls for the deadline of filing of candidacy this October. Political wannabes, has-beens, never-beens, and even the spoil the beans are almost in unison bewailing that the early filing would take more toll – on their pockets especially.
While the horses are not set to gallop until Comelec okays the campaign for next year, a lot of them are already taking the gates and are dead set to sprint and outrun their opponents.
Let’s take a look at interesting developments around the area.
MABALACAT. Never has the race for vice mayor been more interesting than this coming elections. Yes, all eyes are not on the mayorship itself but the second top position in the soon-to-be-city.
All because of the recent declaration of Marjorie Morales-Sambo to seek the vice mayorship. Sliding down to a deputy spot after an unsuccessful if not unglorious bout against her Dad-Mayor in 2010, Marjorie is already making waves this early.
Already, Mayor Marino Morales’ running mate – Councilor Liza Pineda picked by him few months ago – was reported to have backed out of the vice mayoralty race. But a week after the purported withdrawal, Pineda is said to be back in the race again.
As to the exact reasons of the flip-flop, it is generally believed that the withdraw-and-join-again tumble is due to two major reasons – party decision and financial.
Her would-be niece-opponent (yes, Coun. Liza is Marjorie’s aunt through his uncle Emil Pineda, Boking’s cousin) is said to have deep war chest. Add too her charm and name being the eldest daughter of Mayor Boking.
While Pineda is as pretty as her niece, her pockets might not just be too open to pour out some campaign funds. "Kaya ng bulsa pero hindi ng dibdib" (The pocket can afford but the heart can't), says a lot of observers.
That has been Boking’s fears too which his camp is hoping to be quelled now that Pineda has decided to stay as his running mate.
The reported reconciliation between the father-daughter Moraleses should lead Marjorie reaching out to key leaders within Boking’s inner corps of advisers and supporters, if she wants to be assured of a win. But now that Boking’s party decided to stick it out with Pineda given her reconsideration, the incumbent councilor who is seeking the higher post (although still eligible for another term in the Sangguniang Bayan) – on the other hand -- must follow admonitions for her to mind not the costs.
It may take more than offering the once famous Mabiga Island Resort owned by the Pinedas for free use or discounts for Boking’s running mate to easily win. Unless Marjorie realizes that sincere reconciliation with her Dad would be more evident if she gives way and just run for councilor. She will be sure winner there both in votes and in the hearts of many.
The vice mayorship is a step closer to the highest office in the soon Mabalacat City and it’s also a fact that Boking would -- sooner or later -- be no longer eligible to run for mayor due to term limits.
The vice mayoral candidate who realizes this scenario and gets to win by exhausting extra efforts (including spending some more for campaign) will have a leg inside the office of the mayor after the 2013 elections.
Come 2016, the mayoral race will be as interesting as it has been before, given the possibility of ineligibility of Boking by that time and in view of 101 aspirants for mayor who did not and would not want to clash with Mayor Morales.
One of them is incumbent and re-electionist Board Member Cris Garbo who, from way back, has announced his plans to run for mayor by 2016. It would be open season and free zone by then.
I think Boking should be commended here for having party loyalty take precedence over blood relations which could have made her daughter a logical alternative over Pineda. He is carefully, precariously toeing the line as a father -- both to Marjorie and to his partymates. And I think he is showing graciousness, kindness, judiciousness now more than ever.
Marjorie still has remnants among her 2010 supporters that placed her not third (that went to Dr. Victor Tiglao) but second in the mayoral race. If she decides to stay in the vice mayoralty race, she would have to muster if not double her efforts three years ago.
As it is at the moment, it will now be a three-cornered fight between Marjorie, Pineda and incumbent Councilor Christian Halili who himself has a good track record and a name as his late father – Tang Fred -- was one of the longest serving public servants in the town.
Well, that might still change if Christian’s cousin Vice Mayor Noel Castro does not push through with his plan to go head on against Boking. That scenario remains a big possibility as political pundits are saying that the re-electionist mayor will breeze through the 2013 polls. He will be a hands down choice, owing to his long array of accomplishments with the Cityhood accentuating the list.
ANGELES CITY. While the re-election bid of Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan seems to be without road block due to his splendid performance and lack of honest-to-goodness opponent, that cannot be said of the tiff for the city’s deputy chief executive.
As in the rest of incumbents seeking fresh term for the same position, Vice Mayor Vicky Vega may still sleep soundly with elections still being 11 months away. Add to the fact that incumbents are unduly and unintentionally benefitted by government resources within the disposal of their respective offices and powers.
But that slumber may be cut short. She may be awakened by the fact that end-of-termer Councilor Jay Sangil is also maneuvering for a higher office. The recent distribution of tricycles with media coverage made that even more obvious.
And what’s the problem with that? One may ask.
You see Vice Mayor Vicky Vega and Sangil happen to come from the same group under Edpam. One does not need to be a certified political analyst to say that the two are banking on the same votes from the same people and supporters that helped them solidify power in 2010. There lies the problem for the two and there lies a potential headache for Edpam and his camp unless the mayor does a (Tarzan) Lazatin whose son Jonjon fielded two candidates (Vicky Vega and Jericho Aguas) for vice mayor in 2007.
With adversity comes opportunity though for Councilor Alfie Bonifacio who has been slowly spreading his wings for one big soar for the vice mayorship.
Doc Alfie has long been doing the rounds – conducting not just dental missions but also completing his outreaches with medical packages. He has been capitalizing on his forte as an allied medical professional while his performance as a city’s legislator is also beyond the ordinary. He is credited with some vital enactments such as the latest Revenue and Investment Codes of Angeles City.
And the most compelling of all is that this big guy has equally big resources too to put up a decent campaign even if he were to seek the vice mayorship as an independent candidate.
If I must be clear though, both Sangil and Vega are no easy pushovers. Not at all.
In fact, they both have sterling performances both in and out of the session hall of the Sangguniang Panlungsod for several years now.
Sangil, at one time, led city councilors with most number of ordinances and resolutions filed and enacted. He has been endeared to hundreds of Angeleños who sought and kept their jobs, who filled their empty stomachs. His good looks transcends to good deeds, in short.
The vice mayor, of course, the strong-willed lady leader that she is, has been firm on more than just women issues and advocacies. As presiding officer of the City Council, she has always been instrumental in lending support, credence and imprimatur on projects that bring about vital services to the Angeleños.
There is also the possibility that Barangay Balibago Captain Tony Mamac would run as vice mayor too.
SAN FERNANDO. The horses are starting to amass at the gates too. With current vice mayor Edwin Santiago leveling up and former Mayor Rey Aquino firmly gunning for the mayorship come 2013, they are in the thick of things finalizing their respective slates.
For Santiago, he has (or used to have) two leading candidates in Councilors Jimmy Lazatin and Renato Agustin. The former seems to have expressed his surprise if not shock over the apparent decision by Santiago to pick the latter. (That is, if the raising of hands in the recent birthday celebration of the vice mayor was the basis.)
And Lazatin may be justified with his indignation there with so many observers saying that Agustin is the choice of many a kingmakers, including the powers that be in Lubao.
That, even as Santiago is still denying that no one was picked yet to be his vice mayoral candidate. But political pundits are almost in unison thinking aloud that the die has long been cast in favor of the former PBA player who is said to have been long supported by the Pinedas in his basketball and political careers.
Lazatin could now either run as independent candidate or be in the fold of Aquino who is still deciding who to pick for a running mate. The former PhilHealth president could also opt for Beth Gonzales, wife of third district Congressman Dong Gonzales.
Mrs. Gonzales who was also floated to run for mayor not too long ago may settle for the city's second top post. Of course Doc Rey can always field in too Councilor and my namesake Noel Tulabut who has been loyal to him.
Aquino and Tulabut first partnered in 2007 but were both unlucky. Tulabut, by the way, is categorically denying that he is now in the Santiago group, saying that he went to the vice mayor's birthday party in Cutud to meet barangay leaders and not to switch allegiance in a jiffy.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on June 27, 2012.