MAGANES: Pangasinan’s political race nears ‘finish line’

April 29, 2019 at 8:44 am Leave a comment

Political pundits in Pangasinan are on the guessing game on who will likely emerge victorious among the local candidates in the May 13 elections.

The gubernatorial race between Alaminos City Mayor Art Celeste and incumbent Governor Amado “Pogi” Espino III is worth waiting for. Celeste challenged Espino amid speculations that he has no money to boast of, and is a new name in the political landscape in Pangasinan except in District I where he was congressman for many years.


However, Celeste threw his into the the gubernatorial fray,  supported by big names in Pangasinan politics, including big political parties. He is supported by Nacionalista Party, Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC), Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) and Abono Partylist with big names such as Senator Cynthia Villar, Eduardo Cojuangco, former President Fidel Valdez Ramos, former House Speaker Jose De Venecia Jr., former Governor Victor Agbayani, Rep. Conrad Estrella and the kingmaker Engr. Rosendo So.

Governor Espino has the backing of his father 5th District Rep. Amado T. Espino Jr., the PDP-Laban Party of President Rodrigo Duterte and the programs and projects he initiated and completed during his administration. A political pundit said that Espino’s backings are pale in comparison with that of his rival Celeste, considering the big names in Pangasinan politics. He said that Celeste knows his drill in Pangasinan politics and might snatch the governorship from Pogi Espino.

The vice gubernatorial race between Mark Lambino and former 3rd District Board Member Angel Baniqued seems to be in favor of the former. Lambino is young and could gel with the millennial. He has also ample educational background and public service as aces on his sleeves. The young Lambino has also the backing of his father lawyer Raul Lambino who is the Political Adviser of President Duterte for Northern Luzon. Baniqued, although a seasoned politician and a former provincial lawmaker, has still to win the support of the millennial or the young voters in Pangasinan. Basically, Baniqued is not a well known political personality in the entire province except in the 3rd District.

Let’s go to the congressional races.

In the 1st District, political observers say that Bolinao Mayor Arnold “Noli” Celeste will edge out his rival Thomas “Tim” Orbos for the congressional position. Celeste has the full backing of his brother, outgoing Congressman Jesus “Boying” Celeste. Aside from that, Celeste has the full support of three big towns/city- Anda, Bolinao and Alaminos City whose total voters are more than enough of the combined voters of the other towns in the District.

Orbos, whose family name is not new in Pangasinan politics, has still to endear himself to the people and voters of District 1. Although he hails from Bani, his perennial absence in the District’s political activities will not push him into political heights. He was once a registered voter of the 6th District where his wife, the daughter of former Governor Rafael Colet, hails. Tim has yet to prove himself as a public servant in the District.

The second District for congressional race is a toss up between Board Member Raul Sison, a seasoned politician in the District, and Bugallon Mayor Jumel Espino, the son of 5th District Cong. Amado T. Espino Jr. and the brother of the incumbent Governor Amado “Pogi” Espino III. Sison, an erstwhile ally of the Espino, is seen to have more advantage over the young Espino. Sison’s severed ties with the Espinos’ will even give him more of the advantage because he could speak on what transpired during their times of being allies. The big question, will Jumel’s father and brother catapult him to the congressional position in May 13 elections.

For the 3rd District, incumbent Cong. Rosemarie “Baby” Arenas is already assured of victory as her challengers are not popularly known in the District.

The congressional race in the 4th District is between incumbent Congressman Christopher “Topz” De Venecia and lawyer Alvin Fernandez. De Venecia has the full backing of his parents, former Speaker of the House Jose De Venecia Jr. and former Cong. Manay Gina De Venecia, who is now running under the Inang Mahal Partylist.  But who knows, Fernandez might snatch the congressional position from the young De Venecia considering that he’s a lawyer by profession?

Binalonan Mayor Ramon “Monmon” Guico III is seen to be a formidable political opponent of incumbent 5th District Cong. Amado T. Espino Jr. Guico is young and a dynamic leader who could gel with the millennial. He has proven himself as an excellent administrator of his town by introducing unconventional programs and projects. He is popular among the leaders in the 5th District.

Espino who is eyeing for his second term has to work double time to catch up with the campaign of Guico. While he is strongly campaigning for his son Jumel in the 2nd District, Espino should devote more time in his District where he is perceived to have not given more time during his incumbency. Between Guico nd Espino, political pundits in the District opined that Guico might win the congressional race.

In the 6th District, Tayug Mayor Tyrone Agabas will work doubly hard against his opponent Dr. Myrna Custodio for the congressional race. While Agabas has the advantage being the husband of outgoing Cong. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, he could not take for granted the strength of Custodio who is gaining more support from the grassroots in the District.

These are early speculations from our political observers. Let’s wait until May 13 and compare whether the results will jibe with their speculations.

(For comments and suggestions, email me at or at Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at Read the online edition of Northern Watch at Listen to my radio program “ Kapartner sa DWIZ” aired over DWIZ 89.3 FM Dagupan City at 11:00 to 12:00 noon, Mondays to Saturdays)

Entry filed under: News.

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