Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno is positioning for his likely bid for Misamis Oriental’s top post in next year’s elections as he confirmed on Wednesday, April 21, that he has registered again as a resident and voter in his birthplace in the province.
Pressed for confirmation by reporters, Moreno told an online news conference livestreamed on Facebook that he registered Balingasag town as his place of residence “without fanfare” on March 4. The move qualifies him to run for public office in the province again.
Moreno and city hall’s health officials have been holding daily online press conferences since March last year to discuss concerns, answer questions, and update residents about the local situation pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first time he answered a question unrelated to the pandemic during an online news conference on COVID-19.
Moreno’s revelation was short of announcing he would run for governor again, a position he held for 9 years until his election as Cagayan de Oro mayor in 2013. Before he became governor, he served as a Misamis Oriental congressman for 2 consecutive office terms.
He is serving his third and final office term as Cagayan de Oro’s chief executive, a position he cannot seek again in 2021 because of a constitutional ban.
Moreno said, “I was born in Balingasag; I am a Balingasagnon. Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental are one and the same.”
Cagayan de Oro was known as the municipality of Cagayan de Misamis during the Spanish colonial period, and until the early part of the 20th century. It was a part of the much larger Misamis territory before the area was split into several Mindanao provinces. The city was chartered, and named Cagayan de Oro in 1950.
Asked if he was already announcing his gubernatorial bid, Moreno told Rappler via SMS: “I’ll do it at the proper time. Too early to do it now.”
If he runs for governor again, Moreno, 70, would likely go against Representative Juliette Uy of Misamis Oriental’s 2nd District, and Gingoog City Vice Mayor Pedro Unabia. Gingoog is a component city of Misamis Oriental.
Both Uy and Unabia, a former congressman from Misamis Oriental’s 1st District, are also positioning in the 2021 race for the province’s top post.
The incumbent governor is Yevgeny Vincente Emano, also in his last term like Moreno.
Governor Emano’s political plans remained unclear at this time. Talk has it that he would either run for Cagayan de Oro mayor or attempt to reclaim his old position as Misamis Oriental’s 2nd District representative. The congressional post would be vacated next year by Representative Uy.
Emano and Moreno are estranged political allies. They became bitter political enemies when Moreno ran for Cagayan de Oro mayor and unseated Emano’s father Vicente, who dominated local politics in the ’90s until 2013.
The elder Emano subsquently challenged Moreno’s reelection bid and lost in 2016, and died while running for Cagayan de Oro vice mayor in the 2019 midterm elections. – Rappler.com