By NITZ ARANCON
FORMER Agriculture undersecretary Jose Gabriel La Viña yesterday asserted that it was ex-mayor Vicente Emano and ex-congressman Rufus Rodriguez who pleaded and talked him into running for mayor under the Padayon Pilipino-Centrist Democratic Party coalition.
La Viña said this as he responded to Partido Federal ng Pilipinas mayoral candidate Ma. Lourdes Darimbang who blamed him for the supposed collapse of coalition negotiations between her group and the Emano-Rodriguez group.
He said he did not ask to run for mayor under the Padayon Pilipino-CDP. Rather, he said, it was Emano and Rodriguez who pleaded and kept on calling him in an effort to convince him to challenge Mayor Oscar Moreno’s reelection bid.
“Wala man ko mosulod, ila (Emano and Rodriguez) man kong gi-imbitar. Kapila sila naghangyo sa ako, hangtud nga misugot ko,” said La Viña, adding that there was no truth in Darimbang’s claim that he came out of the blue and spoiled the coalition talks between her and the Emano-Rodriguez group.
It was unclear why neither Emano nor Rodriguez no longer wanted to challenge the reelection bid of Moreno themselves the way they did in 2016.
La Viña said neither did he ask Darimbang to run for congresswoman in the 1st District of Cagayan de Oro. He said it was the Padayon Pilipino-CDP that offered to support her in the event she decided to challenge the reelection bid of Rep. Rolando Uy.
Based on La Viña’s revelation, the coalition’s candidate for 1st District congressman, ex-vice mayor Caesar Ian Acenas, is merely the second choice.
La Viña said he had no problems with Darimbang as the coalition’s candidate for congresswoman and he was even confident that she could win in 2019 based on her good showing in the 2016 elections.
“Sure winner unta siya (Darimbang) kay amo gyud unya siyang tabangan, ug makatabang usab siya sa amo,” La Viña said.
Darimbang earlier said she did not want to run for congresswoman and that her plan has always been to run for mayor or vice mayor.
La Viña also revealed that he was given the final say on his choice of Emano as his running mate. But he also said Emano and Rodriguez agreed on the former mayor becoming his running mate.
“Sila (Emano and Rodriguez) man ang nag-ingon kanako nga ako ang magbo-ot kinsay akong vice mayor kay ma-o man daw kini ang political tradition,” he said.
La Viña said his first choice was Emano’s daughter Nadya Elipe, a councilor, and not Darimbang. Councilor Elipe decided not to run.
“Wala nako masayod unsay ilang gisabutan ni Mayor Emano ug Nadya pero alang kanako, mas maayo sab nga si Dongkoy akong vice mayor,” he said.