I REMEMBER what I predicted some two years ago that the next mayoral race in Angeles City will be recorded as the most interesting and would go down the wire, so to speak. Politics is now very much in the minds of dopesters, as candidates for the May 14 barangay elections is only few weeks from today. Retro: I had dinner once, and I cannot recall the exact month now with former Congressman/Mayor Carmelo “Tarzan” Lazatin in an Italian restaurant at Marquee and we didn't talk about women (his usual favorite subject) but the more than two hours focused only about politics.
To recall: Lazatin first plunged into politics was in 1980 and joined the mayoral race which the late Francisco G. Nepomuceno won. It was only in 1987 when he tasted his first victory when he bested more than ten runners in that year's congressional race. And the election years that followed, he always emerged the victor, till he suffered his defeat in 2013 from the hands of now incumbent Mayor Edgardo D. Pamintuan.
In all indications he is not yet ready to hang his political gloves despite him already in his eightees. He is still physically strong, his son Councilor Carmelo “Pogi” told me in a chance meeting in a mall. Lazatin has his eyes still moist in retaking city hall, and may use as platform him being chairman of the oversized Barangay Balibago, in case he will win the barangay polls next month.
Another possible contender for the mayoral post is Alex Caugiran who most likely will be filing a certificate of candidacy in October this year. He was recently appointed to head a most challenging job as president of the Clark International Airport Corporation. And he’s doing great in his job. In the 2016 elections, Caugiran planned to run for the Angeles City vice mayoral race but sidelined his dream for party unity. He is now being groomed for the post by some senior members of ABEKA, a local political party with more than 20,000 fanatic followers. Caugiran is their ‘champion and hero’, aside from Mayor Edpam.
The third possible contender will be incumbent Vice Mayor Bryan Nepomuceno. I can surmise he’s now trying to figure out and studying numbers. Followers and financial backing of the very rich Nepomuceno clan are carefully considered. His popularity has risen since he took over as the council’s presiding officer. He instituted the holding of sessions in barangays and directly listening to the common folks problems. Observers are saying that if he will get the support of Mayor Edpam and the Pineda’s of Lubao, he will have a good chance. But without their backings, it will be an uphill battle for the young Nepomuceno.
The fourth contender as can be gleaned from his latest actions is former Angeles City Councilor Irineo “Bong” Alvaro. He became so rich beyond his wildest dream by running on-line gambling operations. He partnered with a Taiwanese business group and established the Midori Hotel Casino and Aqua Planet. He is now much in the money can finance his running for the Angeles City mayoral race. He has been visiting and attending birthday parties of barangay leaders and bring them gifts. He is sponsoring basketball tournaments with covetable prizes. He will bank on the support of the ruling party, the PDP-Laban.
There’s a possible fifth contender in former senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid. It has been his dream to become mayor of Angeles City despite the fact he never spent much part of his life in Angeles but was born and grew to the adjacent town of Porac. His attempt started in 2004 but was aborted when he run for the senate. Some of his ardent supporters are saying if he can poll what he got in his losing battle with Pamintuan in the 2016 mayoral race and there are five runners, he may clinch it. But him being in the mayoral race his doubtful, because he is included among the possible winners on latest surveys in the senatorial runners in the 2019 mid-term elections.