GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 15 Oct) – Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao’s local political party, People’s Champ Movement (PCM), fielded his sister-in-law Lorelei on Monday as candidate for vice mayor here.
Lorelei, who represents the Liga ng mga Barangay in the city council, filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) at the Commission on Elections here past 9 a.m., along with reelectionist City Mayor Ronnel Rivera and their city council slate.
Currently on her third straight term as chair of Barangay Labangal, Lorelei was earlier reported to be the Senator Pacquiao’s choice as running mate of Mayor Rivera.
She is the wife of the senator’s brother Roberto, an incumbent city councilor.
The senator led a party caucus and the proclamation on Sunday night of the official candidates of PCM, which is allied with the ruling PDP-Laban.
“It’s a party decision. A consensus decision of party members,” Rivera told reporters after filing his candidacy.
The mayor said they considered several names for the post within the party but eventually chose Lorelei as their official candidate.
He said they mainly based their decision on “her heart to render the right service to the people.”
“She has already proven that in (Barangay) Labangal,” Rivera said.
Lorelei will be facing the mayor’s elder brother, Ryan, who filed his candidacy last Friday under the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.
Ryan, who was backed by PCM in his losing bid in 2016 for the first congressional district seat of South Cotabato, had hoped to get the support of his brother and the PCM.
The mayor said he respects his brother’s decision to seek the vice mayoral post and the latter’s capacity as a candidate.
“Public service is not a family affair. I stand by my party and believe on its ideals,” he said.
“(But) I wish good luck and he has my prayers actually as a candidate,” the mayor added.
PCM’s 12 aspirants for the city council, who wore identical polo shirts designed with the party’s blue and yellow colors, also filed their COCs.
They were led by incumbent councilors Rosalita Nunez, Lourdes Casabuena, Shandee Llido-Pestano, Jose Edmar Yumang, Dominador Lagare Jr., Ramon Milleza, Brix Tan, Vandyke Congson and Franklin Gacal Jr.
The other candidates are Cirilo Forones, Jonathan Blando and Rodolfo Ladrera.
Casabuena and Forones were former stalwarts of the Achievers with Integrity Movement (AIM), a party founded by former mayor and South Cotabato Rep. Adelbert Antonino.
Roberto Pacquiao, who landed second in the city council race in 2016, opted to forego reelection after being named as the top nominee of the OFW Family partylist group.
He was joined as the group’s nominee by third-term Councilor Elizabeth Bagonoc, also a former AIM stalwart.
Vice Mayor Shirlyn Banas-Nograles, who is on her third term, filed her COC for representative of South Cotabato’s first district under the PCM. (MindaNews)