CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – Like the proverbial aged battered boxer rising at the sound of a bell if only to shadowbox, six former multi-term mayors of Pampanga who had long screamed their last hurrahs are in a quest anew to regain their lost electoral glory.
At the top of the pack is Marino “Boking” Morales, once dubbed the “forever mayor of Mabalacat City” for sheer longevity in terms of office from 1995 – all of 22 years, broken only by a six-month suspension from the Ombudsman – until finally ordered to vacate the office in 2017, his proclamation as winner in 2016 nullified ab initio for overstepping the term limits.
Notwithstanding his epic loss in the 2019 vice mayoralty contest to his nephew, VM Geld Pineda Aquino, Morales filed a COC anew for the mayorship, competing with his former factotum Diosdado “Deng” Pangilinan to unseat incumbent Mayor Crisostomo Garbo.
“Asenso Mexico!” reverberates again as its purveyor Ernesto Punsalan seeks to wrest the mayoralty he last held at the turn of the millennium from the grip of incumbent Mayor Teddy Tumang – the man who thoroughly tenderized “Tigas” in the 2004 and 2007 elections.
In Arayat, Luis “Chito” Espino, the three-termer who lost in his first comeback bid in 2016 against “mortal enemy” Mayor Emmanuel “Bon” Alejandrino is raring to contest the mayorship again, this time against Alejandrino’s wife Madeth and two other aspirants.
The “Cinderella of Pampanga politics,” a title she earned in the feature of her rags-to-riches story in ABS-CBN’s Maala-ala Mo Kaya with the beautiful Bea Alonzo title-roling for her, tries a third comeback – two previous tries failing – to be chief executive of Sasmuan. Three-term mayor Catalina Bagasina also served for a term at the Lower House as ALE Partylist representative.
Namesake of the late World Wrestling Federation Latino legend, and just as tough, Eddie Guerrero won the Floridablanca mayoralty successively in 2007, 2010, and 2013, propping up his daughter Dr. Leck Guerrero in his place in 2016 but lost to Darwin Manalansan.
Guerrero himself made an unsuccessful run for vice mayor in 2016. His first comeback bid in 2019 also ended in failure against Manalansan with whom he would cross path anew in 2022.
A three-year break from his nine years as Porac mayor only whetted the appetite of Condralito “Carling” De la Cruz to return to the post, this time teaming up with former archrival Mike Tapang as his vice mayor.