N. Vizcaya’s political landscape undergoes overhaul
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–This province’s political landscape has undergone a major shakeup that was triggered by feuds among Nueva Vizcaya’s leaders, and is seen to provide interesting match-ups in the coming local elections.
The recent collapse of two of the province’s major political groups, Abante Vizcaya and Arya Vizcaya, and the realignment of forces at the national level, saw many of their local members bolting their old party and forming new alliances, often with their former bitter rivals.
The recent public spat among the province’s top political leaders has caused the once-dominant Abante Vizcaya to split into two factions, each led by Rep. Carlos Padilla and Gov. Luisa Cuaresma, former staunch allies.
Abante Vizcaya is a local political party that has been aligned with the Nationalista Party of Sen. Manuel Villar in the 2010 elections.
On the other hand, Arya Vizcaya also broke up, and has been halved into two groups, each led by retired Police Deputy Director General Thompson Lantion and former Santa Fe town mayor Florante Gerdan.
Arya Vizcaya was formed in 2010 through an alliance of the Liberal Party, Partido ng Masang Pilipino and the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
Cuaresma, Vice Gov. Jose Gambito and other officials have since joined forces with Lantion’s group, to form the Nueva Vizcaya chapter of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
On Sept. 24, Cuaresma, Gambito and about 50 officials took their oath as new PDP Laban members before Vice President Jejomar Binay, party chair, at the Coconut Palace, the vice president’s official residence.
This formalized the group’s alliance, which has since completed their local slate in the coming 2013 polls, from the congressional candidate down to those running for municipal councilor.
Meanwhile, as of press time, the group of Padilla and Gerdan are reportedly in the talks of a possible merger, in line with the coalition between Liberal Party and Nacionalista Party that was being pushed at the national level, according to sources.
Though she has yet to make an official announcement, Cuaresma, who is now on her third term as governor, has been reported to be eyeing this province’s lone congressional seat and is seen to go up against Padilla, her former ally, who is seeking his third term.
Three-term Vice Governor Gambito, meanwhile, has announced his plan to run for governor in the coming elections. He is expected to go head-to-head against Gerdan, the current Poro Point Management Corp. president, who has declared plans of a second bid for the governorship.
Earlier, the Nueva Vizcaya lawmaker was reported to be fielding his wife, former Professional Regulations Commissioner Ruth Padilla, in the gubernatorial race, but a coalition with Liberal Party would likely derail this plan.
In the vice gubernatorial race, lawyer Edgardo Balgos, currently the provincial administrator, will be running for UNA, and will go up against the candidate that has yet to be chosen by a possible LP-NP alliance in the province.