Real or reel?

Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan and long-time confidante cum campaign strategist Alex Cauguiran, president of Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC), are breaking apart!

Their friendship and political alliance of about 36 years is now in the drain.

Cauguiran announced his intent to run for mayor of Angeles City but Pamintuan openly endorses Vice Mayor Bryan Nepomuceno for the 2019 mayoralty bid.

“I am running with or without Mayor Ed Pamintuan,” Cauguiran said during an interview with the Pampanga Press Club at the Park Inn Hotel in Clark.

Cauguiran expressed disappointment against Pamintuan for ditching him despite their “pledge” to provide equal opportunity for the “common” Angelenos to join the political scene and run the city. “I am sad. Isinara na naman niya ang pinto sa mga pangkaraniwang tao.”

A natural consequence of their falling-out is the disintegration of the Abe Kapampangan party, the political machinery used by Pamintuan during the last elections.

The group has endorsed Cauguiran during their recent assembly. The party claimed that their combined efforts catapulted Pamintuan to the city hall in 2013 and 2016. Abe Kapampangan was founded by Cauguiran. He claimed that their current number is about 30,000.

But the Pamintuan camp was reported to call for another general assembly, possibly to be attended by the mayor’s “loyalists.” With the situation getting worse, Abe Kapampangan is reported to have been divided into factions.

Their political allies are also starting to break-up. Former Councilor Maricel “Marang” Morales and Councilor Jae Flores are supporting Cauguiran. The rest of the Pamintuan group along with his son Councilor Edu Pamintuan, are expected to join Nepomuceno.

Cauguiran is quite unfazed though. He said he believes that the Angelenos will always “open a window” for Angelenos should a door shuts.

Donning a campaign tag of “I am Alex,” a persuasive message urging the common Angelenos to identify themselves with him, the CIAC chief executive is rallying for “a strong managerial leadership” for the city.

“It is no longer enough that the city mayor merely exercises political and administrative control and supervision over his territorial jurisdiction. He must be able to effectively and decisively use his powers, and efficiently use available resources to respond to internal and external challenges. In short, he must have management competence,” Cauguiran said.

As of January 15, 2016, there are 175, 432 registered voters in Angeles City. During the last national and local elections, at least 77 percent or 135, 114 went out to cast their votes. And out of this number, 76,198 are under the age range of 18 to 34.

I give it to the Cauguiran team for trying to get the “millennial” votes by putting much weight on their social media campaign. These are “market votes” for all the candidates. Being a veteran campaign manager and strategist, Cauguiran knows that he needs more than 30,000 votes to win the upcoming elections.

Using the figures during the last elections, in a three-way fight a candidate must secure more than 46,000 votes to win.

Councilor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin, also running for mayor, has 14 barangays on his belt with his father Balibago Chair Tarzan Lazatin holding the biggest barangay in Angeles. He is also backed up by the next largest barangay, Chairman Rey Gueco of Malabanias.

Meanwhile, The Nepomucenos’ stronghold is Barangay Cut-cut, the third largest barangay in the city. Both the Lazatin and Nepomuceno camps have “command votes” or “loyalists.” These people, no matter what intellectuals say, will definitely support, vote and even campaign for their bets. No amount of social media publicity will change their minds.

And on top of this, if the votes of the Angelenos will be split into three into nearly equal proportions, then the deciding votes will come from the most-coveted INC votes. The last count on their number is about 15,000.

Just do the math.

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