The Lazatins, Nepomucenos and Pinedas

SunStar Sangil
SunStar Sangil

People above sixty will remember this. The millenials and the GEN Z if they will read the hereunder article will be taken back in time, ala H.G.Wells. This is about the politics of yesterday. It’s because once upon a generation, Pampanga politics was always a toss up between two rich families. They were the Nepomucenos and the Lazatins. And then came the Pinedas of Lubao.

The Nepomucenos were represented by husband and wife Francisco and Juanita. Francisco aka Cong Quitong started as a municipal councilor of Angeles town, became a provincial board member, a one term congressman before serving as governor for many years. Juanita Lumanlan was an outstanding member of congress and also served as governor. Their two sons,Robin became a vice governor while Francis aka Blue Boy was Angeles City Vice Mayor, three term congressman and his last posting was city mayor. A grand kid of the Nepos, lawyer Bryan Nepomuceno was elected councilor and vice mayor. He made an unsuccessful run for the mayorship vs. Carmelo Lazatin Jr. aka Pogi.

The question now if the Nepomucenos are done with politics. Early on Bryan was still in the radar and with a good promise that he may reclaim the lost glory. His sorry loss against Pogi Lazatin consigned him to retirement and seemingly happy being a practicing lawyer and member of the Board of Directors of the Clark Development Corporation. His uncle, the once popular vice mayor who trashed Mayor Ed Pamintuan in the 1998 congressional race seemingly is retired. Is he really? His checkered political career is as colorful as his late father. He is still popular with the masses. I know a lot of people are still egging him for another shot.

Rafael Lazatin adamantly started his political career in 1947 when he was drafted by the Nacionalista party to run for mayor in Angeles town. He believed then that politics was not his life. He preferred instead the idyllic farm life. He was a ward of Urbano Dizon, the provincial governor after the war. The latter coaxed him to challenge the incumbent Governor Jose B. Lingad of Lubao in 1951. Lazatin won. After a long service as a public servant he thought of retirement. He convinced his only son, Carmelo aka Tarzan to succeed him. Wanting not to disappoint his old man, he became a reluctant candidate for mayor in the 1980 elections.Tarzan was badly beaten in his first try. But not in the suceeding elections. He only suffered his second lost to Ed Pamintuan in 2013 mayoral contest. Tarzan's junior, Carmelo aka Pogi got elected in that elections as member of the city council.

In the 1988 mayoral contest in Angeles City, Apung Feleng feeling that he was not yet ready to retire from politics he attempted once more in a three cornered fight and placed poor third and his political nemesis, Cong Quitong was runner up to Antonio Abad Santos. There was not much disappointment in him, since his son Tarzan won in a congressional race a year before.

Unlike the Nepomucenos and the Lazatins, Lilia Pineda was not born to riches. She hails from a modest family in Lubao. She started as a mayor of Lubao, home of two presidents, Diosdado Macapagal and daughter Gloria. It's also the hometown of movie icon Rogelio De La Rosa. She identified herself with the poor, and she truly cared for them, that's why she earned the monicker 'Nanay Baby'. She is the Mother Theresa of Pampanga. She cared and spend time with the sick. Her popularity grew by the day and almost all local officials of the province gravitate around her. Nanay’s lifetime partner, husband Rodolfo, a sportsman and businessman shared her passion in helping those who deserved to be helped. The siblings, Dennis is governor. Mylin was former mayor and presently a member of the provincial board and Esmer is Lubao mayor.

In many political exercises, the Pinedas' home in Lubao and the provincial capitol became a Mecca for politicians to seek blessings. And once anointed, they can be considered in contention. Each generation has its political giants who presided the fate of communities. The Lazatins and the Nepomucenos are still very much around. In the meantime it's the Pinedas. And by the looks of it, they will be there for more years. And who in the horizon are coming in years to come, only time will tell.


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