Preview of political battles in 2019
By Leonardo Micua
TWO weeks before the start of filing of certificates of candidacy by aspirants for elective positions in the May elections, my hunch is Alaminos City Mayor Arthur Celeste will square off with reelectionist Governor Amado Espino III come May 2019 elections.
And the word from the grapevine is Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) will field Mayor Celeste, and will likely pick either Abono party-list Rep. Conrado Estrella III or graduating 6th District Rep. Marlyn Agabas as his runningmate.
His post will likely be filled up by his brother 1st District Rep. Jesus Celeste who reportedly is not keen on running for reelection. There is a probability that former Alaminos City Mayor Nani Braganza will stage a comeback in politics to reclaim his old post.
Then there are also reports that Department of Transportation Undersecretary Thomas Orbos will run in the First District, a post once held by his elder brother Oscar before he became governor of Pangasinan.
Gov. Pogi will, of course, be the candidate of the ruling PDP Laban with 2nd District Rep. Pol Bataoil as his possible runningmate. His father, 5th District Rep. Amado Espino Jr., the PDP provincial chairman, is reportedly set to run for reelection but there is also possibility that he will change his mind and instead opt to switch places with Gov. Pogi.
The elder Espino may be challenged by former Congressman Mark Cojuangco, if he is not gunning for the top post of the province anew, just like he did three years ago and was beaten by a wide margin by Gov. Pogi.
In the 2nd District , former Governor Victor Agbayani is reportedly eyeing the post to be vacated soon by Congressman Bataoil. However, another Espino in the person of Jumel, mayor of Bugallon, may frustrate Agbayani in his return to politics after a six-year hiatus.
In the 4th District, incumbent Congressman Christopher de Venecia confirmed to newsmen he is staying put with the Liberal Party in his reelection bid. This may be expected too among all incumbent mayors of the 4th District, particularly Mayor Belen Fernandez of Dagupan who is eyeing a third and final term of office.
Our source says Cong. Toff may again run unopposed, unless Celia Lim or any of the Lims decides to run.
Our source says that as long as his father and mother are still there, no one can beat the De Venecias in their turf.
If Mayor Belen will remain in the LP, she may be challenged finally by Vice Mayor Brian Lim who may run under PDP Laban flag. But there is still a possibility, his mother Celia will again eye the top post of the city with Brian as her runningmate.
If there will be another mother-son tandem, Belen might pick Barangay Kapitan prexy Bryan Kua as her runningmate or may resurrect the old Fernandez-Fernandez tandem by picking Councilor Maybelyn to pair with her in the polls.
There is a probability too that Vice Mayor Lim may pick former Councilor Alfie Fernandez or Councilor Red Erfe Mejia as his runningmate.
A Brian-Alfie ticket may not sit well with Maybelyn as she refuses to clash with a cousin-in-law so Belen will likely keep Kap Bryan.
Councilor Jose Netu Tamayo will still seek reelection, so will Councilors Dennis Canto and Marvin Fabia, all of course will be running with Mayor Belen. There are speculations that Councilors Luis Samson Jr., Nicanor Aquino and Guillermo Vallejos will run for reelection but this time with Mayor Belen. Others expected to run with her are former Councilors Karlos Reyna and former Councilor Michael Fernandez (husband of Maybelyn).
In San Carlos City, the Resuellos will still hold sway.
In Urdaneta City, what’s this report that Congressman Espino already reunited and rekindled his friendship with the politically powerful Perez family, led by the head of the clan, former Mayor Amadito? If this is true, then Mark Cojuangco and his wife Kimi just lost Urdaneta as their political bailiwick.
In the 5th district, it may either be Tayug Mayor Tyrone Agabas or Abono party-list Congressman Conrad Estrella or his brother Robert Eskimo Estrella gunning for congressman.
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Speaking of the scheduled filing of certificates of candidacy, I hope no politician or group will adopt the old trick of persuading a namesake of expected rival to file, so the votes for either will not be counted.
This dirty trick was employed before the 2013 election in Dagupan. Recall that somebody coaxed a namesake of then Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez to file her certificate of candidacy for mayor after promising her house and lot and a motorcycle for her son.
This vile attempt to mislead the voters in Dagupan City was soon discovered and in less than 12 hours, the whereabouts of Mayor Belen’s namesake was traced.
She revealed that after she agreed to the proposition, she was brought to the house of the then official where she was made to sign election document. Then she was escorted to a notary public and accompanied to the City Comelec to finally file the document.
The election officer did not do anything to question the attempt knowing that Mayor Belen had already filed her certificate earlier.
Will they do it again to Mayor Belen?
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