CABANATUAN CITY: The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) here has made known the candidates it is supporting for the provincial and local levels in Nueva Ecija.
While the names were not specified by the provincial INC hierarchy during its regular church gathering last week some of its ministers confirmed the endorsement.
It said candidates in various positions in towns and cities were called to the local INC headquarters on Tuesday and those running in the provincial level on Wednesday.
For governor, the INC hierarchy endorsed Liberal Party (LP) bets Czarina Umali, her husband outgoing governor Aurelio Umali running for 3rd congressional district, and Emmanuel ‘Doc’ Umali for vice mayor of Cabanatuan City.
What surprised local residents was the INC’s anointment of Ramon Garcia, an Umali teammate for mayor in Cabanatuan, instead of re-electionist Julius Cesar Vergara who is generally believed to corner majority of the city’s over 210,500 votes. Vergara emerged as the new political rival of the Umalis since the latter’s getting the clout from the Josons in 2010 elections.
Local politicians believe that the INC “blessings” on the Umalis would give them a wide winning edge. Cherry is running against United Nationalists Alliance (UNA) bet Rodolfo Antonino, outgoing 4th district representative, while former Gov. Oyie Umali is matched with neophyte Ria Vergara, wife of the Cabanatuan mayor.
The younger Umali faces a close fight in vice mayoralty slot against Dr. Susan Espino Garcia, wife of Vice Mayor Jolly Garcia, whose term ends this year.
The province’s 3rd district is composed of seven towns– Laur, Gabaldon, Bongabon, General Natividad and Sta Rosa – and two cities – Palayan and Cabanatuan.
For Cabanatuan City council posts, the INC indorsed Eduardo ‘EJ’ Joson, Mario Seeping, Arch Garcia, Ruben Ilagan and Froilan Valino, from Vergara’s camp, and Tonnete Golpeo, Ambot del Mundo, Budoy Cipriano, Gave Calling and Nero Mercado, from the Umalis.
The INC also gave its “blessings” to Estrelita ‘Ging’ Suansing, first congressional district; Miki Violago, second district; and Magnolia Antonino, 4th district.
For board members: (1st district) Raprap Villanueva, Eric Salazar and actor Rommel Padilla; (3rd district) Jess Diaz and Edward Joson; (4th district) Froilan Puroy Nagaño, Eboy Esquivel and JC Patiag. No endorsement was reported for the 2nd district.
CELSO M. CAJUCOM