ANGELES CITY – "I am happy. I will have a worthy opponent."

This was the statement of Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan during a chance interview at the opening of the Kuya J restaurant at SM City Pampanga here on Monday.

The mayor was asked to comment on the announcement of Senator Manuel "Lito" Lapid that the two-term senator would run for mayor and challenge him.

"I know it already a long time ago but now it’s final and official. He was a former senator and Pampanga governor – a worthy opponent, indeed,” said Pamintuan.

"But I was with him (Lapid) when he had problems," added the two-term mayor.

Pamintuan disclosed that their line-ups for the 2016 elections are "98 percent" complete from local city officials down to the barangay levels.

"We are just filling up some positions for barangay captains. Our line-up for city councilors is filled up," he added.

Pamintuan said Councilor Bryan Matthew Nepomuceno "is our vice mayor" under the Partido Abe Kapampangan.

He said their party associated with Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda will meet and decide on which national party it will support for the 2016 presidential and local elections.

Former Carmelo "Tarzan" Lazatin, during his birthday celebration in Barangay Malabanias on Sunday, endorsed Lapid before thousands of Angelenos who attended the party.

Former Councilor Willie Rivera and other potential candidates for councilor under Lapid's slate attended Lazatin's birthday party.

Lapid reiterated his plan to seek the city's top post in next year's polls.

(Joey Pavia, contributor)