EdSa remains LP stalwart, Oca shelves mayoral run

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Former Third District Rep. Oscar Rodriguez and incumbent Mayor Edwin Santiago of this city are not into a political collission course after all.

After the bell for last minute of candidates’ substitution sounded yesterday, Rodriguez has ended speculations that he’ll be running against Santiago for the mayoral position of Pampanga’s capital.

Rodriguez, in a luncheon meeting with media on Monday, said he was awaiting Liberal Party decision on whether he’ll file his candidacy for mayor.

Reports have it that Santiago, who filed his candidacy under local party Kambilan, had been in talks with LP bigwigs to iron out a “miscommunication” that almost cost the mayor his slot under the opposition party’s umbrella.

In several elections, including the 2016 local polls, Santiago and Rodriguez were LP’s official candidates for mayor and congressman, respectively.

Santiago won the election while Rodriguez was dethroned by a former rival for the congressional seat of Pampanga’s Third District.
When the Commission of Elections opened the filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 2019 polls, Santiago secured a certificate of nomination (Cona) from Kambilan, and not from LP.

Rodriguez, on the other hand, was torn between acceding to family request not to run for a public post and LP’s prodding to reclaim the top seat at the city hall.

With no clear candidate to run for mayor, LP drafted Eugene Diaz to be their standard bearer fanning speculations that Roriguez will be eventually fielded in as a substitute candidate.

While Rodriguez was already poised to declare he will no longer run, Liberal Party leaders called him to defer definitive announcements.

It was learned that Santiago and the LP had been in talks for the party to still consider the mayor as its candidate in the city.

“This morning (November 29), at around 10:30, [Santiago] called me up, telling me of his talk with Sen. [and LP president Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan], insisting that he never left the party and told me that three stalwarts of the LP will soon meet us. I then told Mayor Edsa that, with this development, am finally acceding to the request of my children not to run and make a substitution,” Rodriguez reportedly said.