Race for De Oro local posts heats up

Pimentel’s party, Partido Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP), and Emano’s Padayon Pilipino are already finalizing their candidates for mayor, vice mayor and the 12-seat city council.

“We are finalizing our line-up and it will be Mayor Emano who will decide who will run or not,” Cagayan de Oro Rep. Constantino Jaraula (Padayon Pilipino) told MindaNews.

Emano, who is a third termer and ineligible to run for mayor, is eyeing several candidates who can ensure a win and continue his programs, according to Jaraula.

He declined to give the names of the candidates of Padayon Pilipino. Jaraula, who is also a third termer, is also ineligible for reelection.

Reports said Emano is favoring Councilor Benjamin Benaldo to run for the lone congressional district of Cagayan de Oro. Benaldo is a close friend of presidential son and Pampanga Gov. Mikey Arroyo.

Also top favorites in the Padayon Pilipino are councilors Edgardo Cabanlas and Maria Enteria Chaves.

Pimentel will not to be outdone. The senator is eyeing to field former Mayor Pablo Magtajas to regain the mayoralty position. Magtajas has already confirmed to MindaNews that he will be running.

“I am definitely seeking my old position again,” Magtajas said.

Magtajas also declined to name the other candidates of the PDP, saying they are still undecided whom to field against their formidable opponent.

Reports said the top three contenders for the lone district and mayoralty position are former Vice Mayor Antonio Soriano, DXCC RMN station manager and councilor Zaldy Ocon, and Lawyer Rufus Rodriguez, lawyer of former President Joseph Estrada.

Emano and Pimentel have been at odds since 2003 after the senator’s son, Koko, ran for mayor.

Jaraula said he does not believe Pimentel will aggressively support the PDP candidates in the coming May 15 elections.

“Koko will be running for the Senate. I am sure the senator will not risk antagonizing all local candidates opposed to him. He needs all the votes for Koko,” Jaraula said.

Magtajas said this is not true. He said Pimentel is bent on retaking the political influence in Cagayan de Oro. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)