Of the five candidates running for this city’s top post, at least three claimed to have political links to President Rodrigo Duterte and the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
Incumbent Mayor Oscar Moreno, who is now under PDP-Laban after leaving the Liberal Party, is facing a challenge from former cabinet member Jose Gabriel “Pompee” La Viña, who surprised the local political scene when he became the standard bearer of the local party, Padayon Pilipino (Padayon).
Padayon, founded by former mayor Vicente Emano, who is now La Viña’s running mate, has an alliance with Hugpong ng Pagbabago, a regional party led by Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Z. Duterte.
Another candidate who claimed that she has Duterte’s support is former City Councilor Lourdes Candy Darimbang, who is running under the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas. Darimbang lost the congressional race in the city’s 1st District in 2016.
Other unaffiliated mayoral candidates are Benjamin Tiu Contreras and Felix Borres.
Another mayoral candidate, Nixon Baban, filed his certificate of candidacy on Tuesday but withdrew it on the same day. He said he is now supporting La Viña.
A neophyte politician, La Viña was once a commissioner of the Social Security System, whose stint abruptly ended when Duterte did not renew his appointment early this year.
After the SSS stint, he became an undersecretary of the Department of Tourism in April. However, when Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat took the helm in May, she ordered the agency’s previous appointees to resign, and La Viña was one of them.
In June, La Viña was appointed undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture. (PNA)