Monday, October 05, 2009

Ex-mayor, prominent lawyer primed for Lakas mayor in Davao City

Lawyer Karlo Nograles, son and chief of staff of House Speaker Prospero Nograles, addresses a huge crowd of supporters in Davao City in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examimer Photo / Geo Solmerano)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines - Former Davao City mayor Benjamin de Guzman and a prominent lawyer and son of one of the country’s most respected leader Karlo Nograles have loomed as the top choices of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats for the mayoralty draft in the 2010 elections.

The scenario developed as local party stalwarts fell short of getting a commitment from Speaker Prospero Nograles to consider the mayoralty nomination during the Davao City forays of the House chief Thursday until yesterday.

Party leaders have been asking Nograles to accept the Lakas-Kampi-CMD mayoralty draft amid mounting clamors from around the three districts of the city. Nograles has taken the position of staying in the national level than delve into local politics.

In his Saturday radio program “Kalamboan Dala Tanan,” the young Nograles said the final selection process for mayor and other local positions in the city will begin as soon as the massive recruitment of Lakas members is completed.

“Applications for Lakas-CMD membership in Davao City have accelerated since the Commission on Elections ruled in favor of its merger with (President Gloria Arroyo’s) Kampi party after a challenge about its legality,” the young Nograles, who is also the Speaker’s chief of staff, said.

The lawyer said his father sits as vice chairman to Lakas-Kampi chairperson President Arroyo while he acts as interim leader of the party in Davao City.

“After we have sworn-in all the new Lakas-Kampi-CMD members in the city, we will immediately proceed to the final selection process,” explained Karlo in his radio program aired at dxAB, which had De Guzman and youth leader Jo Anne Bonguyan as guest panelists.

De Guzman has confirmed that he is into talks to join Lakas-Kampi-CMD. A leader of Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino in Davao, De Guzman made a surprise appearance at the groundbreaking of the Nograles-initiated sports dome project at the University of Southeastern Philippines last Thursday in which he made the revelation on his political future.

On the other hand, Bonguyan, a niece of former Davao City vice mayor Luis Bonguyan, joined Team Nograles last month.

The young Nograles said the Lakas-Kampi-CMD membership in Davao City will be given the opportunity to voice out their choices on who could be their candidate for mayor next year. “If the members choose Mayor De Guzman to run for the top local position, then he must accept it or leave the party,” he said.

De Guzman said while he welcomes a possible mayoral draft from Lakas, “the bigger clamor is still for Speaker Nograles to run for mayor.”

“In my sorties, people are clamoring, hoping and even praying that Speaker Nograles become their mayor,” De Guzman said. “My personal desire is for local government to change.”

Bonguyan, for her part, agreed that people are really calling on the Speaker to run for Davao City mayor. “The First District where Speaker Nograles is congressman has become the model of responsive governance because its progress and concerns for livelihood, education and heath. They want Nograles to run.”

Team Nograles spokesman Mario Tamayo said: “Even if the Speaker would be out of the mayoral picture, Lakas will have a formidable candidate for mayor next year either with Karlo Nograles or De Guzman.”

But Tamayo said there is also overwhelming call for the young Nograles to run for congressman and replace his father who is on his third and last term. “With Karlo taking over District 1, people know they will not be left out in their share of national funds so that we will continue to have development.”

“About Mayor De Guzman, he will certainly be a bigger force when the massive organization and resources of Lakas-Kampi-CMD are mobilized for his possible mayoral candidacy,” Tamayo said. “Besides, we don’t see a strong opponent from the other side with Mayor Rodrigo Duterte ineligible to run for another term.”

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