By SHIELA MAE BUTLIG
and LITO RULONA
FORMER agriculture undersecretary* and losing mayoral candidate Jose Gabriel La Viña has declared his bid for the city’s mayoral post in 2022.
La Viña said that while the next election is still three years from now, he would make himself visible in Cagayan de Oro as part of his next mayoral bid.
He said he has allowed his supporters to form an “exploratory and planning committee” for his 2022 mayoral bid.
La Vina said he already has a mass base of some 100 thousand voters based on the result of the May elections.
Asked about Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano’s recent pronouncement that he may run for Cagayan de Oro mayor in 2022, La Viña said he was certain there would be no “Pompee versus Bambi” scenario.
La Viña said the Padayon Pilipino and Centrist Democratic Party would remain united.
“I can assure everybody, I can assure Padayon, nga dili gyud mi magbulag ni Bambi,” said La Vina.
One factor for his loss in the May elections, according to La Viña, was that he needed more time to campaign and introduce himself to voters.
La Viña said one of the things that need to be done is to strengthen the Padayon Pilipino and rename it “Padayon Pilipino Plus.”
He said he has talked to Gov. Emano and Padayon Pilipino president Nadya Elipe about the need to reinvent the party founded by their late father.
La Viña said the Padayon Pilipino should keep its pro-poor platform but would need to expand and bring in “new blood” and new leaders.
“Unsa may atong nakita last election nga nag-emerge? We have millennials, we have businessmen, transport group, and federalists… so atong i-conserve kung unsa man ang naa sa Padayon but we have to expand [and get in] new leaders, new constituencies,” he said.
La Vina said the Padayon Pilipino should also make use of modern technology and make use of the social media “pero katong old roots sa Padayon… grassroots, padayon gyud to siya.”
The Padayon Pilipino, according to La Viña, lacks meetings and seminars, something he attributed to the age of its founder Vicente Emano who died shortly before this year’s elections.
La Viña vowed he would help strengthen the coalition of the Padayon Pilipino and the Centrist Democratic Party.
During a thanksgiving gathering at the house of La Viña’s mother in Barangay 31 on Friday, the former agriculture undersecretary* said he had lengthy discussions with his close friends and political advisers.
“I initially wanted to tell them that I planned to end my political career. But they reminded me of two things. First, the promise that I made to the late Mayor Vicente ‘Dongkoy’ Emano that I would take care of his Padayon leaders in the city; and second, that the almost one hundred thousand Cagayanons who voted for me continue to believe in the dream of a Bag-ong Cagayan,” he said in front of former congressman Maximo Rodriguez Jr., Gov. Emano, councilors Jocelyn Rodriguez and Lordan Suan, former councilors Leon Gan Jr., Alexander Dacer and barangay leaders.
Former congressman Rodriguez said the Padayon Pilipino-CDP “experienced some glitches” in the May elections, but he added that the coalition still won two seats in the city council.
“Magtinabangay kita. We still have the numbers, and the coalition is a force to reckon with. We are still alive and we vow to wage a bigger political fight in the next elections,” he said.
(* We corrected “secretary” and changed it to “undersecretary.” Our apologies for the oversight. -Editors)