“AFTER MUCH thought, I have decided to help shape the future of Angeles City by running for mayor in 2019.”
So, announced over the weekend Alexander Sangalang Cauguiran before barangay leaders and supporters gathered at his home in Carmenville Subdivision, Barangay Cutcut.
In effect, the current president-CEO of the Clark International Airport Corp. merely reamplifi ed his political intent earlier declared – in mid-March this year – at the Balitaan forum of the Capampangans In Media, Inc., dutifully bannered in this paper thus: “Clark airport prexy eyes AC mayoralty.”
And prompting us to churn out here “AC 2019” – the letters standing as much for Angeles City as for Alexander Cauguiran.
“Among mayoralty aspirants, so far, Cauguiran’s name is consistently mentioned as the most qualifi ed to replace Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan, who is serving his third and last term as the city’s chief executive.” So, read the press release attendant to the latest announcement.
We did one better with our Zona piece that: “Whatever, only Cauguiran appears to hold the moral ascendancy to Pamintuan’s anointment.”
If only for “…engineering the spectacular victories of his comrade Ed Pamintuan in the battles for the Angeles City mayoralty against the long-established 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.”
Concluding: “No mean feat there, as much for Pamintuan as for Cauguiran. Mayhaps, even much more for the latter.” Indeed, given Cauguiran’s exceptional skills in organizing, leading, energizing, and mobilizing the 30,000-strong, grassroots-grounded, Comelecaccredited Partido Abe Kapampangan that catapulted Pamintuan to electoral triumph.
Cauguiran can easily – and rightly – invoke party dynamics as AbeKa president, if not time-tested and -tried comradeship, to claim Pamintuan’s anointment. Still, he would not, and rather that: “I will greatly appreciate and will be most grateful for the endorsement of Mayor Pamintuan.”
But will Pamintuan oblige Cauguiran?
My guess can only be as wild as yours. A heartbeat away from the mayorship is VM Bryan Matthew Nepomuceno, twice Pamintuan’s running-mate, and therefore deemed his “successor.”
If we go by recent history though, as we have noted in our AC 2019 column.
“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.”
That Pamintuan intends to run for the first district congressional seat further compounds the already complex process of choosing his successor between Nepomuceno and Cauguiran. Not to mention another probable contender, Irineo “Bong” Alvaro, currently one of Clark Freeport’s biggest moguls and Pamintuan’s friend too.
Dismiss all thoughts of a 1998 redux going Pamintuan’s way in 2019 anew. This Nepomuceno appears apparently fixed on the city rather than on the district. Still, it is far from a walk in the park for him. What with incumbent Rep. Carmelo “Jonjon” Lazatin and comebacking ex-cong Yeng Guiao to contend with.
Pamintuan would need the support of all allies, the rivals Cauguiran, Nepomuceno, and Alvaro most ardently.
But there’s no way that Pamintuan can have his cake and eat it too, so to speak – that is, anoint one as his successor and still expect the discarded two for their full support.
It will not be easy for Pamintuan. And even less so for his loyal comrade Cauguiran. For in Philippine political praxis, expediency takes primacy over moral ascendancy.
Cauguiran knows this only too well: “… whether or not I get the endorsement, I have crossed already the Rubicon and there is no turning back. I shall carry on wherever this journey leads me.”
Here, I am reminded of the closing part of my AC 2019 column, to wit:
“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 socalled X-factor, whispered here as the blessing of some benevolent god.