DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A Catholic priest in Davao City in the southern Philippines has openly called on his parishioners to pray that House Speaker Prospero Nograles will be guided by the “Holy Spirit” and decide to lead the people in 2010, referring to the forthcoming national elections, a report by the local Daily Mirror said Wednesday.
It said Father Pete Lamata made the call Sunday during his homily which elicited a loud applause in an otherwise solemn ceremony at the St. Mary’s church in Buhangin District.
Nograles, who has kept a 3-year stance to remain in the national level despite swelling clamor for him to run for mayor next year, belongs to Davao City’s 1st District.
His son and chief of staff, lawyer Karlo Nograles, has said that the solon always been praying for divine guidance when making important decisions. “Speaker Nograles comes from a very religious family and was brought up a religious man,” the young Nograles said. “He will, on his own, seek divine guidance.”
The young lawyer who is also the acting head of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats in Davao City, said the political party is stepping up preparations for the 2010 elections despite the Speaker’s stance to stay away from local politics.
“Of course we are also listening to the clamor for the Speaker to run for mayor,” the 33-year old lawyer said.
“We can assure everyone that Lakas will be fielding a complete slate in Davao City, from mayor down to the last councilor,” the young Nograles, who himself is also being pushed to run for mayor or congressman in District 1.
The other mayoral wannabe of Lakas is ex-Mayor Benjamin de Guzman who admitted last week that he has been holding talks with the Nograles party.
De Guzman, who heads the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) political party in Davao City, said he could easily attract 20-percent of the electorate towards the side of Lakas while Speaker Nograles has a conservative hold on 40-percent of the votes.
“At 60-percent you can say that we are already winners and it will now depend on the campaign in which I personally feel that Lakas even owns the advantage,” said De Guzman, who admitted he is open to a possible mayoral draft but insisted that “the overwhelming clamor is for Speaker Nograles to run for mayor.”
De Guzman said people are looking for change in the style of governance in Davao City.
Youth leader Jo Anne Bonguyan, said the widening plea for Speaker Nograles to take a shot at the mayoralty. “The women and the youth sectors in the city believe that the programs of Nograles are what the people really need,” she said.
Bonguyan also revealed that a party-list “who used to support the other side” has asked for a meeting with Nograles for a possible shift in allegiance. “They have realized what is best for Davao City,” the 24-year old niece of ex-Vice Mayor Luis Bonguyan said.
She said the party-list will come out in the open as soon as talks with Lakas are finalized.