MANILA – Environment Secretary Jose 'Lito' Atienza will get to tangle again with incumbent Manila Alfredo Lim in the coming 2010 elections.
Atienza, who has served as Manila mayor for 3 terms, said he is confident that he will again defeat Lim just like what happened in the 2001 mayoralty race.
Atienza claimed the people of Manila are clamoring for him to run again as the city's economy allegedly went downhill under Lim’s rule.
Atienza added that most of his projects were “dismantled” when Lim took over as Manila mayor.
Joseph Estrada’s Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) will back Atienza as a “guest candidate." Atienza is a leader of a Liberal Party (LP) faction (LP-Atienza wing) that has not been recognized by the Supreme Court.
Atienza said he is grateful for the political support from Estrada, who has remained a close friend despite his ties with President Arroyo.
He said he will leave his post as environment chief as soon as the campaign period for local candidates stars.
The campaign period for local elections begins in March 26, 2010.
Lim, meanwhile, said he is unfazed by Atienza’s plan to “retake” Manila.
The incumbent mayor said his track record as the city’s administrator speaks for itself.
Lim said that unlike his opponent, he has prioritized education and health, having constructed more schools and hospitals for the Manileños.
Lim also claimed that his loss to Atienza in 2001 was a result of electoral fraud.
He has pursued his complaint before the Commission on Election but was forced to abandon it after deciding to run for senator in 2004.
Atienza used to serve as Lim’s vice mayor in Manila until the latter decided to run for president in 1998. Lim lost.
Unlike the 2001 race, however, the 2010 mayoralty elections will be much more interesting with the entrance of former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Avelino Razon as one of the contenders. With a report from Sheryl Mundo, ABS-CBN News