PAMPANGA

Sangil: Oca and Edpam and their politics

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THEY are the two most interesting local politicos I was able to meet, became friends with them, sat down for hours and took us time discussing various subjects. Oscar Rodriguez and Edgardo Pamintuan have so many things in common. Most striking is their love for our country. In their youth they joined several struggles to correct injustices. Both plunged into politics armed with high ideals. They both became mayor of their beloved city. Oca in the City of San Fernando and Edpam in Angeles City. Meanwhile, both are at SBMA (Sa Bahay Muna Ako). They both achieved which they can tell proudly to their grandkids. They are also victims of missteps. The question is will they be out of mainstream politics for good? Search me, I really don't know. I haven't talk with them for several years now. What I know is what I hear from grassroots. I am too careful because it is so difficult to separate the chaff from the grain. It was never my style to inform my readers of raw information much more mislead them.

Chances are politicians are thinking and planning his early. The slates must be completed by next year and ready to troop to the Commission on Elections in filing their certificates of candidacy in early October. Talks are spreading like wildfire that former Mayor Oscar Rodriguez is giving a deep thought about making a comeback since the incumbent Edwin Santiago is "graduating" after completing the three terms. To recall, Rodriguez was the incumbent mayor and was eligible for reelection but preferred to oppose his inaanak (godson) Aurelio "Dong" Gonzales Jr. in a congressional race. Unfortunately, to his much surprise Gonzales won. Rodriguez was forced to take a garden leave. He maybe now in his seventies but he is still healthy. Spritely healthy.

The most talked about candidacy is that of Vilma Caluag, president of the Association of Barangay Captains. When she faced in the last local elections Mayor Edwin Santiago she garnered more than fifty thousand votes and may become the front runner in 2022. Also being whispered is he big possibility that Provincial Board Member Rosve Henson may join the mayoral race. He once made a run in one race sometime ago but Dr. Rey Aquino led the pack.

Incumbent Vice Mayor Jimmy Lazatin may also join the race. Observers are saying Lazatin is typecasted as a second man just like the late Tiger Lagman. He is only good for vice mayor and no more. (I remember the late Angeles City Vice Mayor Ric Zalamea and former Mabalacat Vice Mayor Pros Lagman and how they failed in their quest for mayorship). It is still more than a year for the elections and too early to make serious discussion about it. Not true though. Anyone who's an astute politician, next January this coming year is just the correct time to mend political fences.

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Ed Pamintuan, like Rodriguez, is being wooed by followers to take another crack and face incumbent Mayor Carmelo "Pogi" Lazatin. The young Lazatin is proving that he is a worthy chief executive of the city with the pandemic as his baptism of fire. His number of followers including that of his brother Congressman Jonjon grew in unprecedented numbers since he assumed the seat at city hall. Few sources I have but are impeachable are saying Edpam maybe convinced. But at this time I think he wanted nothing more than in his life but retire and enjoy his books and music records in his old jukebox. But he is an old warrior, according to his loyalists. He has still time to think of better options. He chalked many political victories and failed in some but the tale to the tape will prove that he is not someone whom you can brush aside and sneeze at. And in any case Edpam decides for a last round in his long political career that started in 1998, we will soon know. He is just maybe putting his cards closer to his chest in the meanwhile while making an assessment.


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