SAN FERNANDO, La Union: Politics also wedged its claws on the Ortega clan here as most of them running for major elective positions are pitted against each other that caused division in their supposedly united family.
Gubernatorial bet Mario Eduardo Ortega, mayoralty bet Mary Jane Ortega and vice mayoralty bet Jose Maria ‘Pepe’ Ortega (brother of Mario) have expressed dismay over the current political situation involving their family saying that efforts to avoid what appears to be a “political family feud” failed.
For the May 9 elections, two Ortegas are vying for governor – Mario Eduardo against his nephew Francisco ‘Pacoy’ 3rd; for the First District Representative – Manuel Victor (Mannix) against his uncle Pablo; and for vice mayoralty in San Fernando – Alfredo against his uncle Pepe. Other members of the clan are also running in various local positions.
Pacoy, Mannix and Alfredo are sons of incumbent Gov. Manuel ‘Manoling’ Ortega, while Mary Jane is the wife of outgoing Rep. Victor Ortega.
Apparently, the incumbent governor is not in control of the situation because he is not in good health, Pepe said.
“It really pains us brothers because we sacrificed for each other since we don’t want our family to be broken or agsisina kami. Kayat mi kuma nga united kami, ta nu united kami awan kuma problema mi amin” (We want our family to be intact so that there will be no problem), he added.
“We conducted several meetings in our family circle and we agreed to give the gubernatorial post to Pacoy, (and) we asked for a concession that the Abono partylist (nominee) should be Mario. But it was given to Vini Nola Ortega, spouse of Pacoy,” Pepe said.
“Napintas kuma, governor ni Pacoy, Abono ni Mario, everybody happy. (It could be Pacoy for governor, then Mario for Abono). Awan kuma aglalaban nga Ortega,” (There will be no fighting between Ortegas if the sons give in),” he pointed out.
“I was only asking for one term yet they don’t want to accommodate me. What will I do now with all the experience and wisdom I got these past 28 years? Will I deny it to the people of La Union?” Mario lamented.
Pepe said that his brother, board member bet Francisco ‘Kit’ Ortega Jr., met Pacoy and incumbent Mayor Pablo Ortega. He claimed that Pacoy assured them not to worry because his brothers, Mannix and Alfredo, have other plans. Consequently, Mannix is running for congress while Alfredo is for vice mayor, pitted against Pepe.
“After several meetings with our clan these young Ortegas did not heed our agreement and it resulted in the fielding of other members of the family),” Pepe said.
“Pacoy is Francisco III, and my son is Francis IV, and they are classmates. Of all my nephews, he was closest to me and it pains me to see the two of them (Pacoy and Mario) running against each other,” Mary Jane said.
“But I cannot be neutral, I have to choose and I chose the brothers because they are younger, they have the time. And because of that, they have taken it against me and they have now sided with my opponent who is not an Ortega,” Mary Jane added.
Pepe, Mary Jane and other members have filed their certificates of candidacy in October, but Mario filed his in December hoping that the clan will reach an agreement.
“Mario is very compassionate and hardworking. Imagine, he waited two months before filing his candidacy only to see if the young Ortegas will give in, but to no avail,” said Pepe.
“Gov. Manoling gave me the permission to run the capitol kasi mga medyo na-feel niya siguro na he was not as well as he wants to but also at the same time he doesn’t want na maiwan ang La Union na basta-basta na lang na ganun. (The future of La Union was uncertain.) He knows how I work because I’ve been working with him since 1988. I am living and doing the work. The only thing missing is the title of being governor,” Mario added.
The Ortegas of La Union are the longest existing political dynasty in the country having been in the elective posts for almost a century.