ANGELES CITY- Allies of Sen. Lito Lapid have confirmed he is running for either mayor of this city or congressman in Pampanga’s first district, but that it is more likely he will slug it out with incumbent Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan.
Lawyer Willie Rivera, who claims to have already been anointed by the moviestar- turned-senator as his vice mayoral running mate should he run for mayor in 2016, said Lapid’s registration with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for a change of residential address definitely indicated the three-term senator’s political plans.
Lapid bought earlier this year a P16-million mansion at Friendship Plaza subdivision in Barangay Pampang in this city. “He will not run for governor,” said the former city councilor and congressional loser Rivera, in a press conference during the launching of his program on two local radio stations apparently timed for his political comeback.
It is widely speculated that Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda would anoint her son Vice Gov. Dennis Pineda as gubernatorial candidate in 2016. Rivera had been a three-term councilor of Angeles and is known as a protege of former Pampanga 1st Rep. Carmelo Lazatin who lost to Pamintuan in the city mayoralty race in 2013.
Lazatin himself earlier also confirmed Lapid would run for mayor and that he would support Lapid. Rivera also said that apart from Lazatin, who belongs to a politically influential clan in this city, the Nepomucenos are also likely to throw their support for Lapid.
The Lazatins and Nepomucenos had been perceived as political rivals which have long dominated local politics.
Incumbent Mayor Pamintuan, however, has been perceived as being formidable re-electionist, amid major projects now sweeping this city in preparation for the hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) here from January to February next year.
Close to P500 million worth of infrastructure and other projects have either been completed or are being rushed in various parts of Angeles. Pamintuan has also earned public admiration for founding the City College of Angeles and the expansion of the facilities, buildings and services of the Ospital ning Angeles and the Plaza Angel at the city’s heritage district and the rehabilitation of the dilapidated PNR station into a people’s park.