Today's Punto
Today's Punto
In the running
By Bong Lacson

Mar 22, 2018

CANCEL OUT former mayor, former 1st District Rep. Francis “Blueboy” Nepomuceno in your list of prospective candidates for the Angeles City mayoralty.

Fresh from the reversal of his conviction by the Sandiganbayan for “unlawfully donating” a motor vehicle to an NGO in 2010, Mister Blue categorically stated he had neither the inclination nor the intention to make a political comeback. Notwithstanding the strong clamor of his supporters.

“I enjoy stress-free living as plain private citizen now,” he said at the News@Hues forum of the Pampanga Press Club at Park Inn by Radisson Clark on Tuesday.

And absolutely no political vendetta on the perpetrators of the charges hurled against him.

“I have been vindicated, my name is cleared of any wrongdoing, I forgive my detractors,” Mister Blue said. “As it is written, ‘the truth shall set you free.’ Praise God.” Thanking “all those who supported me and believed in my innocence.”

So, that’s one less formidable rival for Punto’s Man of the Year Alexander Cauguiran, who earlier virtually announced his desire to be successor to his comrade Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan.

But then, another Nepomuceno – Vice Mayor Bryan – is as good as it gets for a claim to the city mayorship, being but a proverbial breath away from it.

“Should he decide to go for it, I – and the whole clan – will definitely go all out for him,” said Mister Blue.

And where a Nepomuceno goes in politics, can a Lazatin be ever far behind?

No, former mayor, former 1st District Rep. Carmelo “Tarzan” Lazatin emphatically said – in the same News@Hues forum of a year ago – that he would not even think of running for mayor against Cauguiran.

Three times the intrepid Tonette Orejas of the Philippine Daily Inquirer asked him if he was serious. Three times Cong Tarzan answered “Yes,” and even before Tonette could ask why, simply, if cryptically, said: “Masyadu yang magaling y Mister Alex.”

So, he won’t run for mayor, eyeing instead the chairmanship of Barangay Balibago. But he did not say that no Lazatin would contest the mayorship.

Fresh from the sale of Hotel Stotsenberg for a princely – aye, a kingly – sum, so it is being bruited about, Cong Tarzan’s enormous war chest got a tremendous replenishment.

So, with Rep. Carmelo “Jonjon” Lazatin Jr. well ensconced in the 1st District, the Cong is left with City Councilor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin Jr. to groom for the mayorship. The ready giveaway – no pun intended now – the birthday cakes every barangay chairman, every kagawad, virtually any political leader of whatever clout, get from Pogi, duly posted and shared in Facebook. And they’re full size cakes, not muffins like some other politicos send, said a happy birthday celebrator.

By no means though should former senator, former Pampanga governor Lito Lapid be taken out of the city mayoralty equation.

The Bida is far from laos as moviestar or political has-been as he still has a mass following, buttressed by his all-too-long appearance in the immensely popular FPJ’s Ang Probinsiyano.

Now, in a field of five candidates, Lapid’s number of votes in his 2016 losing bid against incumbent Edgardo Pamintuan would be more than enough to warrant a victory. So, goes the mathematical probability of the Pinuno running anew in 2019.

Some flawed equation there of Lapid’s 2016 votes staying intact three years later though. Unfactored there the support he got from both the Nepomuceno and Lazatin camps, who now stand to become his separate rivals. Simple arithmetic here: 3 – 2 = 1.

No subtraction but a multiplication of factors obtains in, unarguably, the most feasible candidacy for the AC mayoralty at this time that is that of Dr. Irineo “Bong” Alvaro.

That there is now an ongoing Inter-Barangay Amateur – IBA, the initials are too-telling – Basketball Tournament in the city, sponsored by you-know-who bespeaks of the seriousness, if not immensity, of the man’s aspiration for his city. If not the means he has in his grasp as president-CEO of BBI that owns beyond-starrating Midori Hotelk and Casino, world-class Aqua Planet, and Eaglesky, among others.

Why, BBI is better known as Bong’s Billions In-stock, than whatever it actually stands for.

A concern though – as much for Alvaro as for Cauguiran – their long-standing friendship, and common political principles found manifest in both parliament of the streets and the city council where they once made the formidable “Bruise Brothers” of the opposition. Can they afford to run against each other?

And for Alvaro who hailed from Concepcion, Tarlac: No non-native Angeleno has ever triumphed in the quest for the city mayorship. No, not the unbeatable VM Ric Zalamea. Not the redoubtable Kapitan Tony Mamac. Not the General Orling Macaspac. Not even the highly popular Lito Lapid.

So, observed the erudite Max Sangil, himself, Porac-born, failing in his 1998 try, after he took over as mayor by operation of law – the mayor EdPam and his vice Blueboy aspiring for Congress, a higher position, that then required the ceding of their incumbent posts.

What challenge – degla, as it is called – my tocayo Dr. Bong is up against in this quest.

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