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AC 2019

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NOT THE die, but a misty eye, Alexander Sangalang Cauguiran has cast on the Angeles City mayorship.

“I believe I can serve better in local governance.” So was Cauguiran quoted as saying at the Balitaan forum of the Capampangans In Media, Inc. last week which prompted our Friday banner story “Clark airport prexy eyes AC mayoralty.”

With that virtual declaration of faith, AC in 2019 has turned out as much for Angeles City as for Alexander Cauguiran.

Indubitable testament to his corporate spunk – for lack of a better word – are the leaps and bounds in the aviation industry the Clark International Airport has taken since his assumption of its presidency less than two years ago, amply discussed and aptly celebrated in Punto’s choice of him as Man of the Year.

Yeah, no other CIAC president has brought to the Clark airport as much flights to both domestic and international destinations as Cauguiran. Even if one were to sum up all the flights all his predecessors brought in, the total will only assume but a fourth of Cauguiran’s.

Still, Cauguiran remains a political thoroughbred, forged as he was in the fi re of the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship, graduating from the parliament of the streets – with all the appurtenant perils thereto – rising to a mastery of the local political domain from his stints at the city council where he gave the opposition not only its defiant face but moreso, its reasoned, if booming, voice. And ultimately engineering the spectacular victories of his comrade Ed Pamintuan in the battles for the Angeles City mayoralty against the longestablished aristocratic political dynasts that were Francis “Blueboy” Nepomuceno and Carmelo “Tarzan” Lazatin, ex-mayors and excongressmen both, and the putative hero of the masses that was former Pampanga governor and former senator of the Republic, Manuel “Lito” Lapid.

No mean feat there, as much for Pamintuan as for Cauguiran. Mayhaps, even much more for the latter.

With Pamintuan in his last and final term as hizzoner, comes now Cauguiran – tried, tested and truly most loyal lieutenant – as more rightful inheritor than his vice mayor Bryan Nepomuceno, who, in the first place is blood kin to Pamintuan’s partner in 1995 turned nemesis in 1998 that was Mister Blue.

So, shall the sin of the uncle be borne by the nephew? Too far out, in terms moral, but not in the political. There is something about Pamintuan’s vice mayors that is striking – striking always against him, that is. As with Mr. Blue who defeated him in the first district congressional race of 1998, so it was with Vicky Vega-Cabigting that fought him for the mayorship in 2016. Ms. Vicky, in effect, going the way of “the unbeatable vice” Dr. Ric Zalamea in his own war with Pamintuan in 1995 – epic failure, in the end. So, the current Nepomuceno vice is in no way a political threat to Pamintuan? Not, unless he opts to subscribe to his Uncle Blue’s template, and the World’s Best Mayor 8th placer decides to run for the 1st district congressional seat, as he is now being rumored to? A 1995 redux is no impossibility, different results a distinct probability though: what with incumbent Carmelo “Jonjon” Lazatin Jr. holding forth, and former Cong Joseller “Yeng” Guiao raring to come back.

Whatever, only Cauguiran appears to hold the moral ascendancy to Pamintuan’s anointment.

Alas, where and when political expediency sets in, moral ascendancy is the first to go.

In the current scheme of city politics, much as a prize to seek, Pamintuan’s anointment makes not the priciest for Cauguiran – and all other candidates –to gain: first, to secure a formidable front as candidate; second, to secure for himself more than an even chance at victory.

No mere political mortal hereabouts stands any chance of winning – either elected at the polls or Comelected via protest – without the so-called X-factor, whispered here as the “blessing” of some benevolent god.

You have no business talking, much less engaging, in politics if you do not know this all too convenient truth. And Cauguiran not only knows this too well. Why, in 2016 he had a full measure of this.

Only after the god has spoken shall I ever expect Cauguiran crossing his Rubicon, casting the die on his crusade for the city mayoralty.

And then comes the easier part of winning.

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