CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- “I have nothing but respect for former Congressman and Mayor Oscar Rodriguez, and in whatever decision he will make.”
Thus, said Mayor Edwin Santiago when sought for reaction about the possible entry of Rodriguez in the tussle for the local chief executive post in this capital city in the coming 2019 polls.
Rodriguez is being urged by opposition Liberal Party and some of his longtime friends and supporters to reconsider his decision of retiring from politics and instead join the mayoralty race as substitute to party-mate Eugene Diaz.
Santiago, who is seeking his final term, asserted that he has a long standing relationship and alliance with Rodriguez being his predecessor and ally in the Liberal Party.
“I have known him and have been with him (Rodriguez) for a long time and as of now, I believe he is still in the process of studying the situation. But whatever decision he will come by with, we will respect it,” Santiago said.
Santiago also acknowledged the kind of governance implemented by Rodriguez during his term as city mayor which, he said, he also sustained and improved under his current administration.
“He has been part of San Fernando and has once became a mayor so he knows that I was with him during the length of his administration. And for my part, I know that I have sustained whatever programs that needs to be sustained,” he said.
Meanwhile, Santiago also asserted that he did not leave the Liberal Party contrary to claims that he has withdrawn his membership without prior notice, which led to the group’s decision to urge Rodriguez to seek a comeback.
“I talked to our leaders in the Liberal Party. I told them about the call of the leaders in Pampanga, led by Governor Lilia Pineda and Vice-Governor Dennis Pineda, to form a coalition under our local Kambilan party. It is a coalition, whatever affiliation in the national is welcome but we have to be united in the local level,” he explained.
“But I told them that I will not leave and will remain a member of the Liberal Party whatever happens. I also said the same to Senator Bam Aquino when he came here recently,” he stressed.
In the end, Santiago said he would welcome whatever development in the city’s political landscape, including his challengers in the leadership of San Fernando.
“Everything is welcome as long as San Fernando will remain the peaceful and developed city that it is today. Besides, this is a free city and election is a process so anybody who wants to apply for the same position is welcome,” he said.