Mercado: Mamac’s Predicament

THERE is no argument that the incumbent elective official is always the person to beat. Take the case of Angeles City Vice Mayor Vicky, her four rivals concentrate their fire power on her.

Early surveys indicated that her closest competitor is Balibago chairman Tony Mamac whose head start in the race was due to his candidacy for mayor in 2010.

While the other candidates, including outgoing councilors Alfie Bonifacio, Jay Sangil, and former city administrator Mark Allen Sison were yet in the process of incubation, Mamac has been crisscrossing the city barangays and making noise for his ambition.

Of the four aspirants, the barangay captain has created a solid image as “fiscaliszer” to the present administration. This role had boosted his image as opposition leader in Angeles City.

In December 2011, Mamac survived a city hall attempt to have him suspended for 45 days for alleged administration liability of abuse of authority and misconduct in office.

If he had not been successful in his defense, the 40-day suspension would have precipitated his untimely political demise.

Mamac’s leaders pointed a suspicious finger at City Councilor Willie Rivera as the legal brains behind the harassment on their leader. Rivera is an outgoing councilor and a favorite lawyer-friend of Rep. Lazatin. He is reportedly being groomed to dethrone Mamac in taking over the revenue-rich tourist center that is Balibago.

--oo0oo--

When the Liberal Party was reorganizing three years ago, the LP discovered Mamac’s potential to head the party in Angeles. The former police officer had his shining moment when he mobilized a huge welcoming party for then presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino. The tremendous turnout of Aquino supporters in Angeles impressed Mar Roxas. From there Mamac began to surface in LP meetings. Ultimately, he was sworn in as LP Chapter head for Angeles.

A large credit for Mamac’s phenomenal rise in city politics goes to his chief adviser and “drum beater” Barangay Chairman Valentino “Val”Lagman. Val’s occupation as veteran promoter of big time cockfight derbies in Pampanga, has made him a popular figure in the cockfight circuit. He has developed a sort of loyal following among the rural folks.

Lagman’s precious role in Mamac’s campaign was his radio broadcast that bordered on rabble rousing and demolition job. He was only second to radio block timer Medardo David in virulence and calumny.

--oo0oo--

At a luncheon meeting recently, Lagman and Mamac discussed -- and at times argued -- the issue of Mamac’s choice of candidate for city mayor.
Val Lagman advised his friend to throw Balibago and his whole forces to Rep. Tarzan.

Chairman Mamac, in keeping with his nature as Constabulary-Police intelligence officer, was mum. He was non-committal and appeared undecided.

Between Mayor Edpam and the Cong, who can do the worst damage to his career in the event he loses?

Pamintuan has no known serious stakeholders for barangay chairman. If Edpam wins, Tony faces little or a token candidate. “I used to beat candidates put up by Tarzan and Edpam,” he proudly stressed.

In case he loses in May, Mamac can still continue in office until the next barangay elections in November. He knows he will be facing the popular Willie Rivera who will most likely be the anointed candidate of Lazatin should he win as mayor.

Twenty thousand swing votes from Balibago that will likely go to Mamac will decide the outcome of the Pamintuan-Lazatin contest, his leaders predicted.

If he does not make it as vice mayor, Balibago would see an exciting match between Mamac and Rivera. Under a Lazatin administration, Balibago’s chairmanship may change hands, “a fearsome predicament threatening the Kapitan,” his advisers told me. They mentioned the name of Tarzan’s trusted aide Rey Pineda. Entrepreneur and known organizer of niteclub-bar operators, Pineda was an influential power figure in Balibago during the terms of Tarzan, they added.

Several kagawds repoted that if there is one thing that will make Mamac swing his support to Lazatin is for Atty. Rivera to announce disinterest, declines and renounces his plan to contest Mamac’s position in the next barangay polls.
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