Part 1 of 3
MANILA, Philippines - Luzon looks like the busiest among the country’s three island clusters on May 10, 2010. All presidential aspirants are from Luzon, notably from the central part of the island and Mega Manila.
Central Luzon alone would see two of its illustrious sons fighting for the land’s highest post. Administration bet Gilberto Teodoro and Liberal Party standard bearer Noynoy Aquino will both vote for themselves in Tarlac Province. West of Tarlac Dick Gordon and JC Delos Reyes have Zambales, while south of Manila, Nacionalista Party standard bearer Manny Villar holds fort in Cavite. Evangelist Brother Eddie Villanueva relies on the full support of his town mates in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Other presidential aspirants and most of their running mates are from the National Capital Region, namely former president Joseph Estrada and Nicanor Perlas (certified Manila boys); and vice presidential candidates Loren Legarda (Malabon), Bayani Fernando (San Juan, Manila), and Jejomar Binay (Paco Manila).
Ang Kapatiran’s Dominador Chipeco hails from Pagsanjan, Laguna while Broadcaster and KBL vice presidential bet Jay Sonza is from Macabebe, Pampanga.
The only vice presidential candidates from outside Luzon are Senator Mar Roxas (Roxas City, Capiz), Edu Manzano (Iloilo) and Perfecto Yasay (Kidapawan, North Cotabato).
Regionalism may come into play in Luzon while Visayas and Mindanao voters are ready to swing. Just like in the last presidential elections in 2004 there isn’t a single Visayan presidential candidate the Visayas or Mindanao can support by virtue of birthplace or birth right.
Broken families and other northern delights
The political horizon in Luzon is vibrant from top to bottom. In Ilocos Norte cousins Michael Keon and Imee Marcos face off for the gubernatorial race, as a new page gets written on just how short and non-lasting family alliances can be.
Imee Marcos’ mother, Former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos is running for Congresswoman of Ilocos Norte’s second district, against former Congressman and Vice Governor Mariano Nalupta Jr. Congressman Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos on the other hand, is counting on the Ilocano vote to achieve his senatorial ambition.
Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson will still be slugging it out with arch rival Rambo Rafanan for the gubernatorial seat, in an area (such as Abra in particular) tagged “critical” by Comelec, due to its intensely-violent election past.
Northeastern Luzon politics is characterized by repeat performances of hot (and bitter) races with tandems, Grace Padaca and Congressman Edwin Uy up against Faustino Dy III and Congressman Rodolfo Albano for Isabela governor and vice governor respectively.
In Cagayan Valley, Governor Alvaro Antonio (who has the full support of Cagayan stalwart, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile) will fight Congressman and “disowned” Enrile ally Manuel Mamba for the gubernatorial seat. It would also be interesting to closely watch the senatorial bids of Brigadier General Danny Lim who hails from Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, and former Justice Secretary Silvestre Bello of Ilagan, Isabela.
In La Union, Colonel Ariel Querubin of the “2006 Fort Bonifacio stand-off” fame is taking his chances for a senatorial seat. He will be voting in Bauang La Union against a back drop of intense political rivalry between La Union generational rulers Butch Dumpit and challenger Eufranio Eriguel, both vying for second district congressman.
Piping hot politics in chilly Baguio
In the City of Pines local politics is anything but cold and dreary. Congressman Mauricio Domogan wants to re-seek the mayorship. Domogan’s mayoralty ambition is contested by Attorney Jose Molintas, Councilor Elaine Sembrano (mother of broadcaster Bernadette Sembrano), Ruben Barcelo, Erlinda Busacay Lazo, Mark Go, Guillermo Hernandez, Ramon Labo, Julius Mandapat and Peter Puzon.
Former Baguio City Mayor Bernardo Vergara is hoping for a congressional seat, as are incumbent City Mayor Reinaldo Bautista, Edgar Avila, Dwight Bello, Leandro Yangot, Rocky Balisong, Felipe Ramos and former Mayor Braulio Yaranaon, once RP’s oldest mayor.
Baguio city has the most number of mayor (incumbent and ex) praying for a congressional seat.
Pangasinan’s game of the generals
What began as an official Interpol trip to Russia, former Philippine National Police (PNP) comptroller Eliseo De La Paz became an overnight “Senate inquiry” sensation after his team was accosted by Russian police for carrying 105,000 Euros out of Moscow International Airport, in what was to be an international embarrassment for the Philippines.
Dela Paz (now retired and forgiven) is seeking a congressional seat through ANAK (Angat Ating Kabuhayan Pilipinas Inc) a party-list group composed of active and retired policemen. Fellow “Eurogenerals”, Silverio Alarcio and Ismael Rafanan are also running for mayoralty positions in Laoac and Villasis Pangasinan, respectively.
PMA ‘76 mistah Leopoldo Bataoil sets his sights on a congressional seat in the second district of Pangasinan, while former Armed Forces of the Philippines’ honcho Hermogenes Esperon runs for congressman of Pangasinan’s sixth district. Esperon is a town mate of former president Fidel V. Ramos who hails from Asingan, Pangasinan.
Former PNP Deputy Director General Reynaldo Velasco is seeking re-election as Mayor of Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan.
In Pampanga Father Ed Panlilio grabs a chance to prove he did not cheat in the last elections by running for governor (again) versus political veteran Lilia Pineda (again) who is up to prove she won the last elections against Panlilio whom she accuses of cheating.
Last but nonetheless crucial is President Gloria Arroyo’s bid for a congressional seat in the second district of Pampanga, which son Mikey had already warmed for her.
Star-studded Southern Tagalog
Governor Vilma Santos Recto is seeking reelection as Batangas Governor in the May 2010 elections, and more former and current showbiz personalities dominate Batangas’ and perhaps many of the Southern Tagalog’s races.
Santos-Recto leading man Christopher De Leon for instance, is running for board member in Batangas Province. Action sensation Dan Fernandez wants to be congressman of the first district of Laguna while former TV starlet Angelica Jones is eyeing a seat in Laguna’s provincial board.
Not to be outdone is 90’s heart throb Gary Estrada who is also seeking a seat in the in the Provincial Board of Quezon, where former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera is running for congresswoman.
Even former Department of Interior and Local Government honcho and radio personality Joey Lina’s bid for Laguna governor is challenged by showbiz son, George Estregan. These are over and above the showbiz and television Revillas and Remullas prominent in the Cavite matches.
Gerrymandering and other spicy showdowns in Bicolandia
Presidential son Dato Arroyo is eyeing a virgin seat in the newly-redistricted Camarines Sur, while former budget secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. wants to take on the first district congressional seat. Arroyo grabs the second district despite issues raised on the constitutionality of this great Cam Sur divide.
In Albay, former administration supporter and governor Joey Salceda is seeking reelection while Edcel Lagman aspires for a congressional seat in Albay’s first district.
Masbate is still an area of concern for the Comelec because of repeated violence related to the elections and the ruling political clans in the area, while Sorsogon rests in relative peace.
Where there could have been excitement over a home grown presidential potential last year, Chiz Escudero’s province will most likely see May 10, 2010 come and go, without much ado.