RE-ELECTIONIST Governor Amado Espino Jr. of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) will be up against outgoing Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza of the Liberal Party in the race for the province’s top post in the May 2013 election.
Mum on his political plans up until his filing of certificate of candidacy at 4 p.m. Friday, Braganza, whose three terms as mayor is up, is running with former Philippine National Police Chief Arturo Lomibao as his vice governor.
Braganza said his candidacy for governor is a collective decision of the party with the blessing of President Benigno Aquino III and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, LP president.
“It is an honor to offer Pangasinan a maka-Pangasinan leadership and not a maka-sariling leadership in our province,” he said.
Braganza promised a friendly fight and assured that the LP in Pangasinan will cooperate in ensuring an honest and peaceful election.
Espino, meanwhile, filed his COC last Wednesday along with fellow re-electionist Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Calimlim and all their candidates for board members in the six districts of Pangasinan. (See related story on page 1)
Lomibao replaces former Governor Victor Agbayani, who was initially being eyed by LP as Braganza’s running mate.
Agbayani will instead serve as the campaign manager of the Braganza-Lomibao team
Lomibao admitted that he was offered to run for vice governor near the deadline for filing and was surprised about it, but he nonetheless could not refuse the offer.
He told newsmen that he joined Braganza because he believes in the kind of leadership that he will introduce in Pangasinan, saying, “It is this kind of leadership that we need in our province.”
“After this filing, I assure you that we are going to deliver what you had been waiting and longing for,” Lomibao said.
Lomibao is a “mistah” of Espino in the Philippine Military Academy, both belonging to PMA Class 1972.
Meanwhile, LP’s bet for congressman in the second district is former partylist representative Kim Loquin of Labrador, who will stage a return bout with incumbent Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil of the NPC.
Braganza said aside from Loquin, the LP has candidates in all the districts of Pangasinan, citing 3rd District Rep. Rachel Arenas, who is unopposed, and Atty. Butch Pulido, son of former Anda Mayors Nestor and Alice Pulido.
Braganza’s son Lian is running for mayor of Alaminos City.
Braganza said the LP will have candidates in many parts of Pangasinan and while the party is not fielding candidates in some cities and municipalities, the incumbent mayors in these areas are their “friends”.