AT THIS early, or is it late already that those who will compete in the 2022 elections must now have an idea who are in their slates. The lineups must be taking shape by now because the filing of certificates of candidacy will be early October this year. It is too late to play coy. As it is commonly said, early bird catches the worms.
What we gathered from the grapevine: Talks are spreading like wildfire that former Mabalacat Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales is suiting up and will take another crack at the mayorship vs incumbent Mayor Cris Garbo. Morales is now in his seventies but he is still healthy. Spritely healthy as he regularly plays golf at the Beverly Golf Course in San Fernando. And this is the surprise news whispered to me by a colleague. In any case Morales will have a change of heart, our very own Diosdado “Deng” Pangilinan will be in the mayoral race. Well why not? Dreaming is strictly non-revenue.
The most talked about candidacy is that of businesswoman Vilma Caluag, who sits as a member of the city council by virtue of her being president of the Association of Barangay Captains. In the last local elections of 2019, she gave a chill to reelectionist Mayor Edwin Santiago as she garnered more than fifty thousand votes. In the forthcoming elections, Caluag will face a stiff competition from Provincial Board Member Rosve Henson, who will join the mayoral race. Incumbent Vice Mayor Jimmy Lazatin may also be joining 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). Political observers are saying Lazatin will suffer the same fate.
In Angeles City, former mayor Ed Pamintuan, who is currently Clark Development Corporation chairman, is being wooed by followers to take another crack and face incumbent Mayor Carmelo “Pogi’ Lazatin. I remember what I wrote about earlier. I said then and I am saying it now that Pogi Lazatin is proving that he is a worthy chief executive of the city. The way he handled the pandemic was his baptism of fire. He is being given a high grade in how he is handling the crisis. His number of followers including that of his brother Congressman Jonjon grew in unprecedented numbers since he assumed the seat at city hall. There is no one in sight to contest Jonjon in the first district congressional race. Early on, former Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde thought of plunging but apparently developed a cold feet.
Few sources I have but are impeachable are saying Edpam maybe convinced. But as I said some time ago, at this time, he wanted nothing more than in his life but retire and enjoy his books and music records in his old jukebox. But he can still be convinced by his Abeka group. 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. In any case, Pamintuan will just contend himself in his retirement and enjoy the company of wife Miniang, then Councilor Amos Rivera according to my source will be in the mayoral race. Abangan.