MAGANES: Pangasinan’s political speculations have ended

October 22, 2018 at 11:58 am Leave a comment

The seemingly unending speculations of who among the politicians in Pangasinan will be running against each other have ended. With the five-day schedule set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from October 11 to October 17 (Saturday and Sunday) not included, big names in Pangasinan politics as well as new names have filed their certificates of candidacy (CoCs) and certificates of nomination and acceptance (CONA).


Well at least as of now, we have the unofficial list of candidates in the mid-term elections on May 13, 2019. There is still the November 29, 2018 substitution of candidates, after which the Comelec will have the official list on December 15.

The political atmosphere in Pangasinan is getting hotter as big names in politics will be pitting against each other.

For the gubernatorial post, incumbent Governor Amado “Pogi” Espino III ( PDP-Laban) will lock head with Alaminos City Mayor Arthur F. Celeste (Nacionalista Party). Espino will try for his second term. He is being backed up by his father 5th District Rep. Amado T. Espino Jr., a former Governor of Pangasinan for nine years, and political allies.

Celeste, although not new in the local politics, is well known in the first District of Pangasinan. He has yet to penetrate every corner of the province to boost his candidacy. However, Celeste has many aces. He is being backed up by four big political parties- Nacionalista Party (NP), Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition (NPC), Lakas- Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), and Abono Partylist. He has the majority of the incumbent local officials on his side.

The vice gubernatorial post will be contested by former 3rd District Board Member Angel Baniqued Sr. (PDP-Laban) and former military man Colonel Paterno Orduña (NPC) of Bugallon. Baniqued is well known political figure in the third district and his entry to the vice gubernatorial post is a big challenge on the part of the Espinos. Could they boost a province wide popularity for Baniqued?

Orduña, a former aide of former Governor Espino, will have his first entry in politics. Although his brother former Bugallon Mayor Rodrigo Orduña is a popular political figure in the second District, Orduña has to work double time in the entire province not only to boost his candidacy but to acquire more supporters. There are however speculations that he will be substituted by a bigger  political name on November 29. If that will push through, then another political story will unfold in the province.

The congressional races in the six districts of Pangasinan are even hotter.

In the first District, former Transportation Undersecretary Tim Orbos, who is with the Espino camp, will run against Bolinao Mayor Arnold “Noli” Celeste (NP). Orbos and Celeste are both big names in the District. Orbos is the brother of former Congressman and Governor Oscar Orbos while Celeste is the brother of incumbent Congressman Jesus “Boying” Celeste and gubernatorial aspirant Art Celeste.

The second District congressional seat will be contested by three hopefuls. Board Member Raul P. Sison (NP), who severed ties with the Espinos, will run against Bugallon Mayor Jumel Anthony Espino, the brother of Governor Espino and son of 5th District Rep. Amado T. Espino Jr., and a former Bureau of Customs employee Roberto Merrera (IND). The second District is known to be the bailiwick of the Espinos.

Had it not been of the filing of CoC by media man Jaime Aquino of the Manila Times and former Calasiao Mayor Felipe de Vera, the third congressional seat would be  a walk in the park for incumbent 3rd District Rep. Rosemarie “Baby” Arenas. She could have  been unopposed. Can Aquino rely on his popularity as a media man to topple the reign of Arenas? Arenas has her political machinery in the District while Aquino has yet to court the support of the local officials as well as the voting populace. Of course, de Vera could be supported by his townmates in Calasiao.

It will also be a four-cornered fight for the 4th District congressional seat. Incumbent Rep. Toff De Venecia (Lakas-CMD) is challenged by Dagupan Councilor Alvin Fernandez, Councilor Redford Erfe-Mejia and Gryson De Venecia. Toff has the support of his parents- former House Speaker Jose De Vernecia Jr. and former 4th District Rep. Gina “Manay” De Venecia. Alfie, Red and Gryson have yet to visit the various towns and villages in the 4th District where Toff has already been a household name.

The congressional fight in the 5th District is considered to be an exciting political spectacle in Pangasinan. The congressional seat will be contested by incumbent Rep. Amado T. Espino Jr. (PDP-Laban) and Binalonan Mayor Ramon “Mon-mon” Guico III (LAKAS -CMD). Espino will fight for a second term while Guico, who will end his three term as Binalonan’s local chief executive, will try his luck for the first time. The Guicos are already household names in the 5th District spanning decades of political careers from the patriarch Ramon Guico Sr., to former Binalonan Mayor Ramon “Monching” Guico Jr., and now Mon-mon Guico. They are also related to Speaker of the House of Representatives Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Political pundits in the District said that Guico’s greatest advantage against Espino is his being young and could muster enough support from the millennial voters aside from his savvy as a political leader in Binalonan.

In the sixth District, the congressional seat will be contested by Tayug Mayor Tyrone Agabas and a not so popular lady Myrna Custodio. According to political analysts in the District, Agabas has already won the seat if elections were held today. But here’s the catch. Will Custodio continue her fight or will she be substituted by a bigger name on November 29. That we have to see.

As of this writing, there’s no official list of candidates yet provided by Comelec. Those who filed their CoCs might have some of them withdraw their candidacies or may even be substituted with other candidates.

As of now, we have to wait for the political dramas that will unfold before our eyes in the days to come.

(For comments and suggestions, email me at emperorvirgil@yahoo.comor at Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at Read the online edition of Northern Watch at

Entry filed under: News.

Mencias to run for mayor in Alcala ‘Toff’ runs once more for fourth district seat

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