The old faces in Pampanga politics

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Once upon a generation, Pampanga politics was always a toss up between two rich families. They were the Nepomucenos and the Lazatins. Now it is the time of the Pinedas of Lubao. And then there is Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the present congresswoman representing the second congressional district of Pampanga.

More than a week ago I visited the former president in her residence in Lubao and had few hours having discussions with several issues. I asked her point blank. ‘What’s next after congress?Is the governorship an option? She tersely replied: ‘No way. Never crossed my mind.’

As they say, only fools don’t change their minds.GMA has the privilege to change her mind. Remember when she once said in an interview that that she’s not going to run for president? Well, well.

It might be recalled that once upon a time the Nepomucenos were represented by husband and wife Francisco and Juanita in Pampanga politics. Francisco aka Cong Quitong started as a municipal councilor of Angeles town, became a provincial board member, a one term congressman before serving as governor for many years. Juanita Lumanlan was an outstanding member of congress and also served as governor. Their only two sons,Robin became a vice governor while Francis aka Blue Boy was Angeles City Vice Mayor, three term congressman and his last posting was city mayor. A grand kid of the Nepos, lawyer Bryan Nepomuceno is presently a member of the Angeles City council.

The Nepos are not done yet with Bryan still in the radar and with a good promise that he may reclaim the lost glory.

Rafael Lazatin adamantly started his political career in 1947 when he was drafted by the Nacionalista party to run for mayor in Angeles town. He believed then that politics was not his life. He preferred instead the idyllic farm life. He was a ward of then Governnor Urbano Dizon and the latter coaxed him to challenge the incumbent Governor Jose B. Lingad of Lubao in 1951. Lazatin won. After a long service as a public servant he thought of retirement. He convinced his only son, Carmelo aka Tarzan to succeed him. Wanting not to disappoint his old man, he became a reluctant candidate for mayor in the 1980 elections.Tarzan was badly beaten in his first try. But not in the suceeding elections. He only suffered his second lost to Ed Pamintuan in 2013 mayoral contest. Tarzan’s junior, Carmelo aka Pogi got elected in that elections as member of the city council.

In the 1988 mayoral contest in Angeles City, Apung Feleng feeling that he was not yet ready to retire from politics he attempted once more in a three cornered fight and placed poor third and his political nemesis, Cong Quitong was runner up to Antonio Abad Santos. There was not much disappointment in him, since his son Tarzan won in a congressional race a year before.

Like the Nepos, the Lazatins are not done yet. Father and son, Tarzan, Jonjon and Pogi are still in mainstream. Jonjon winning a congressional seat and the other junior will remain in the city council.

Unlike the Nepomucenos and the Lazatins, Lilia Pineda was not born to riches. She hails from a modest family in Lubao. She started as a mayor of Lubao, home of two presidents, Diosdado Macapagal and daughter Gloria. It’s also the hometown of movie icon Rogelio De La Rosa.

She identified herself with the poor, and she truly cared for them, that’s why she earned the monicker ‘Nanay Baby’. She is Mother Theresa of Pampanga. She cared and spend time with the sick. Her popularity grew by the day and almost all local officials of the province gravitate around her. Her lifetime partner, husband Rodolfo, a sportsman and businessman shared her passion in helping those who deserved to be helped.

Each generation has its political giants who will preside the fate of communities. The Lazatins and the Nepomucenos are staging comebacks, but in the meantime it’s the turn of the Pinedas and by the looks of it, they will be there for more years. And who in the horizon are coming in years to come, only time will tell.