Clash of political heavyweights looms in Zambales

Randy Datu
Clash of political heavyweights looms in Zambales
For the Zambales governorship, it will be a rematch between incumbent Amor Deloso and the man he unseated, Hermogenes Ebdane

ZAMBALES, Philippines – At the close of the filing of cetificates of candidacies Wednesday, October 17, a clash of political heavyweights looms in this province as re-electionists, comebacking politicians and new aspirants seek positions come the May 13, 2019 elections.

Re-electionist governor Amor Deloso is seeking his second term as chief executive of the Zambales and standing on his way is a familiar political foe: former governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., the same man he unseated in the 2016 elections.

Ebdane had built a powerful political clan during the two terms he held sway in the provincial capitol. He, however, lost in 2016 as Deloso joined forces with a former staunch political rival, Vicente Magsaysay, to the snatch the gubernatorial post from him.

Deloso, 80, teamed up with the former governor’s daughter, Angel Magsaysay-Cheng in 2016 and again this coming election for their second term.

This time, Ebdane formed an alliance with another political clan in the south to boost his chances of returning to power.  

The 69-year-old Ebdane convinced three-termer Subic town Mayor Jay Khonghun to be his vice governor in a much-anticipated face off with the Deloso-Magsaysay tandem.

Ebdane, the former chief of the Philippines National Police and secretary of the Department of Defense and Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways, won as Zambales governor in 2010 and 2013.

Deloso won as governor on 2007 but was unseated by Ebdane ni 2010.

The race for the 1st congressional district just became very interesting as incumbent Representative Jeffrey Khonghun, father of Jay Khonghun and gunning for his third term, faces a formidable foe in former governor Vicente Magsaysay.

Magsaysay, or more known as Govic, jumped out of retirement to rejoin provincial politics.

Magsaysay first served as governor of Zambales in 1968 until 1986. He again won in 1998 and got re-elected in 2001 and 2004.

In the battle for the 2nd congressional district, incumbent representative Cheryl Deloso-Montalla is pitted against AJun Pangan, a three-term provincial board member.

In the capitol town of Iba, it’s another Deloso-versus-Ebdane affair with incumbent Rundstedt Ebdane, son of the former governor, being challenged again by Ad Hebert Deloso, the son of the incumbent governor.

In Botolan town, Deloso’s daughter Izelle Deloso makes her first foray into politics as candidate for mayor.

In San Antonio, Deloso’s sister, Estela Deloso-Antipolo, is a shoo-in for re-election as reports said she was running unopposed.

A heated battle is also expected in the city of Olongapo as the Gordon political clan tries anew to get back in power.  Anne Gordon, wife of former mayor James Bong Gordon Jr. faces off with the popular incumbent Rolen Paulino.

Paulino is under suspension for 6 months, but political observers here say no one can beat him at this time. Paulino has defeated the Gordons twice, in 2013 and 2016, and is now seeking his third and last term as mayor.

Three candidates for vice mayor – re-electionist vice mayor Aquiino Jong Cortez, Jr, councilor Noel Atienza and political newcomer Jack Gordon – have picked Paulino as their candidate for mayor while acting Vice Mayor Edic Piano has sided with Anne Gordon.

Roberto Bobby Flores, a labor leader and a veteran politician in the city also filed his candidacy as vice mayor.  

There are 79 aspirants for councilors. among them: Vic Vic Magsaysay, a grandson of Vicente Magsaysay, running under Paulino’s ticket; Tata Paulino, the incumbent mayor’s daughter; and Jimuel Khonghun, grandson of the 1st district congressman, who is also running under the ticket of Paulino. –

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