By PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
It will be a one-on-one battle between reelectionist Governor Amado Espino Jr. under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) versus Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza of the Liberal Party in Pangasinan.
This was firmed up when Braganza filed his certificate of candidacy at 4 p.m. Friday before the Office of the Provincial Elections Supervisor in Dagupan City, along with his runningmate former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Arturo Lomibao.
Espino filed his COC last Wednesday along with Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Calimlim and all their candidates for board members from first to sixth districts of Pangasinan.
Lomibao is the last-minute replacement of former Governor Victor Agbayani as Braganza’s runningmate. Agbayani did not also file his candidacy for congressman in the second district to act as campaign manager of the two throughout the province.
Running for congressman in the second district is former partylist representative Kim Loquin of Labrador who will stage a return bout with Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil.
Braganza said aside from Loquin, the LP has other candidates in all the district of Pangasinan, like Rep. Rachel Arenas of the third district, who is unopposed; Atty. Butch Pulido, son of former Mayors Nestor and Alice Pulido.
He also fielded his own son Lian as candidate for mayor of Alaminos City.
The LP is filing candidates all over Pangasainan with the exception of a few cities and municipalities where the mayors are also their friends, pointing out that the party has candidates in basically 95 percent of Pangasinan.
Braganza said his decision to run for governor of Pangasinan was a collective decision of the party with the blessing of President Benigno Aquino III and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, LP president.
“It is an honor to offer Pangasinan a maka-Pangasinan leadership and not a maka-sariling leadership in our province,” he said.
Braganza promised a friendly fight and assured that the LP in Pangasinan will bid for an honest and peaceful election.
In the case of Lomibao, he candidly admitted that he was offered to run for vice governor near before deadline and was surprised about it, but said this was an offer he cannot refuse.
Lomibao is a “mistah” of Governor Espino in the Philippine Military Academy. They both belong to PMA Class 1972.
He said he joined Braganza because he believes in the kind of leadership that he will introduce in Pangasinan. “It is this kind of leadership that we need in our province,” he added.
“I’m running under the Liberal Party because I fully subscribe to its slogan ‘Sa Daang Matuwid Asensong Walang Patid’,” Lomibao said.