AMONG the Liberal Party's leading senatorial bets, former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was the first to rally Kapampangan support to her cause. This early bird has been catching the proverbial worm as evidenced by some local executives who are helping her candidacy.
Today Atty de Lima is the special guest of 1st District political leader and businessman Irineo Alvaro, Jr. who is presenting the candidate to the press. Dr. Bong, former Angeles City Administrator and now President-CEO of a giant technology firm and the world class Midori Hotel and Resort at Clark has a large and powerful clout in vote procurement.
Foremost of Alvaro's friends and support groups are several leaders of the legal profession, leading lights of commerce and industry, and human rights activists. Earlier she had visited City Mayor Ed Pamintuan and was given a warm Kuliat welcome. EdPam expressed to her his concern of justice and compassion for former President Arroyo.
Sec. De Lima has been going around the nation's capital towns and cities where she was well received. In all these places she was remembered for her stand against the death penalty.
Her stiff position on the issue runs counter to, while serving as counterfoil, against presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte's pro death advocacy.
The former secretary and the Davao city mayor are still locked in silent dislike of each other as the former had stepped on the sensitive toes of the mayor known for human right violations.
Duterte's loathing of the lady lawyer led him to declare that he will quit as presidential candidate if the LPs drop Mrs. de Lima from their Senate line-up. Tila certain winner si Madam sa tingin ni Duterte.
To halt the fast rising Digong in the contest, Mrs. de Lima will carry the fight in behalf of Mar Roxas. She is expected to harp on the colorful mayor's record which included a series of extra judicial killings in his city.
She, among the line-up, spearheads Roxas's campaign in promoting justice and the rule of law, one of the central issues of the presidency.
"Her strong image as fighter of corruption is instilled in the people's mind even as the nation commends her achievements in championing human rights," according to Dr. Alvaro who has turned down repeated offers for him to run for congressman.
Pampanga press club president-elect Diosdado Pangilinan said Mrs. de Lima has a heavy visitation schedule in the province consisting mostly of private groups, NGOs, and community leaders.
"Local politicians owe allegiance to Nanay Baby who is expected to draw her list of candidates in due time," he explained. "The Gov traditionally was not a Liberal Party supporter."
Pangilinan believed that it will be the private sectors' support that will help the former secretary get votes in the province, and not the assistance of Gov. Pineda's Kambilan-affiliated local executives.
The highest hurdle in Mrs. de Lima's obstacle course in Mekeni region is her role in preventing the flight to the US of beleaguered former President Arroyo. GMA she has been languishing in hospital detention.
Many people have approved of her action, although the belief was that she was only acting under superior orders. The Pampangos - over 1.2 million registered voters- may change their perception of Mrs. de Lima as 'persecutor' of Mrs. Arroyo if the ex-Justice secretary lays down the cards and justifies her official action on the case.
Mrs. de Lima and the local media interact in a meeting this morning at the Alvaro residence. I hope she will tell it as it was- the concept behind the arrest and continued detention of the former president. Does she object to a house arrest for PGMA or will the future senator agree to the grant of bail for the Kapampangan icon?
Dr. Bong is optimistic that Ms. de Lima will land in the "Magic 12" in the Central Luzon region.