2022 Philippine Elections

Four-cornered fight for Zamboanga’s mayorship looms

Frencie Carreon

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Four-cornered fight for Zamboanga’s mayorship looms

From left: Celso Lobregat, Vice Mayor Rommel ‘Meng’ Agan, Congressman Cesar ‘Jawo’ Jimenez, and Councilor John Dalipe.

A congressman, a former mayor, a councilor, and the city's vice mayor are bidding to succeed Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco

A four-cornered fight for Zamboanga City’s leadership in the 2022 elections is looming – and three of the hopefuls are sons of former city mayors.

A congressman, a former mayor, a councilor, and the city’s vice-mayor announced on separate occasions this week their bids to succeed Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco next year.

Climaco, who is serving her third and final office term, has set her eyes on the congressional seat of the city’s 1st District.

The position is being held by first-term Representative Cesar Jimenez Jr., who announced on Tuesday, September 7, that he would run for mayor under Climaco’s Partido Prosperidad y Amor para na Zamboanga (PPAZ).

Vice Mayor Rommel Agan, whose late father Vitaliano was Zamboanga mayor, also announced on Wednesday, September 8, that he would run for the city’s top post under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

Following Agan’s announcement, former congressman and mayor Celso Lobregat on Thursday, September 9, said he was “definitely running for mayor because I want to help mi ciudad de Zamboanga (my city of Zamboanga).”

Lobregat, head of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), was the first one to declare his intention on Monday, September 6, a ticket against Climaco’s party.

But Lobregat’s first announcement was short of naming a mayoral candidate, saying the standard-bearer of his Team Colorao alliance would be identified next week.

Like Agan, Lobregat too is a son of a former Zamboanga mayor, Maria Clara Lobregat.

A fourth group led by Councilor John Dalipe, whose brother Manuel Jose is the representative of the city’s 2nd District 2, has been open about his plan to run for mayor even on social media.

Former councilor Melchor Sadain, Dalipe’s running mate, confirmed that they too were organizing their own 2022 ticket, and they would go public with their list of candidates on September 20.

Dalipe’s aging father Manuel also served as a Zamboanga mayor.

Representative Jimenez has picked another Climaco ally, Councilor Josephine Pareja, as his running mate, while Lobregat earlier announced that his Team Colorao would field Councilor Benjamin Guingona IV as a candidate for vice-mayor.

Vice Mayor Agan, a relatively young lawyer whose father was a well-loved Zamboanga mayor that a coliseum was named after him, said Councilor Elbert Atilano would be his running mate. (30)

Frencie Carreon is a Mindanao-based journalist and is an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship

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