PAMPANGA, Philippines – The race is on for this province’s top executive post as Governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda and Danilo Baylon kicked off their respective campaigns on Friday, March 25.
Pineda held his opening salvo in his hometown in Lubao via motorcade with his sister Esmie, the town’s re-electionist, unopposed mayor.
Their mother, former governor and incumbent vice governor “Nanay” Lilia Pineda, also unopposed, did not join the caravan.
The clan’s “showboats” displayed the Uniteam banners of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard bearer Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and running mate Sara Duterte, mayor of Davao City.
Duterte is running under Lakas-CMD, the political party of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a close ally of the Pinedas.
Arroyo, who brokered the Marcos-Duterte tandem, is running unopposed as representative of the province’s 2nd district. She served for three terms from 2010 to 2019, after which President Rodrigo Duterte appointed her as his adviser on Clark Flagship Programs and Projects.
Baylon, former Candaba Mayor and an engineer by profession, started his motorcade in his hometown up to the City of San Fernando where he held a rally.
He is running under the Liberal Party, supporting Vice President Leni Robredo’s presidential candidacy.
Baylon lost in his 2019 reelection bid to re-electionist mayor Rene Maglanque, whom he defeated in the 2016 race. Baylon’s wife Aniway is challenging Maglanque, who belongs with the Pineda’s Kambilan party.
In an interview with Rappler on March 21, the governor said he would not force his political views and choices on the people.
“Yung sa mga showboats nakalagay sila (Uniteam), umiikot, pag postering, yun na muna initial na ginagawa natin. Respetuhan tayo ng desisyon kung sino iboboto natin,” he said. (The showboats show Uniteam and they go around and are used in postering; those are our initial activities. Let’s respect each other’s choices.)
Pineda said his camp is also scheduling a grand rally but did not give a date.
Pampanga is among the country’s top 10 vote-rich provinces. It has 1.58 million voters, but the 205,822 voters of Angeles City do not vote for the governor. – Rappler.com
Joann Manabat is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.