By Nitz Arancon and Lito Rulona
FORMER Misamis Oriental governor Antonio Calingin is staging a comeback and is planning on running for congressman in the province’s 2nd District.
Calingin’s boss, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, has endorsed the ex-governor’s bid to become the official candidate of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), said former Talisayan mayor Art Sumanpan.
Sumanpan said Enrile has asked Padayon Pilipino leader and Cagayan de Oro Mayor Vicente Emano to field Calingin as his group’s candidate for congressman in the 2nd District.
Emano has yet to make an announcement on Calingin’s likely congressional bid.
Negotiations among the groups of Calingin, ex-congressman Augusto Baculio Jr. and Rep. Yevgeny Vincente Emano reportedly started in El Salvador last weekend.
Baculio is also reportedly planning on running for congressman in Misamis Oriental’s 2nd District. The Calingin group however asked Baculio to step aside given Enrile’s endorsement. The outcome of the meeting remains unknown at presstime.
“Bong (Calingin) is financially, physically and spiritually prepared to run for congressman,” said Sumanpan who serves as the ex-governor’s executive assistant.
He said since Calingin’s defeat in the 2004 gubernatorial race and the city’s mayoral race in 2007, the ex-governor focused on picking up the pieces and concentrated on doing business.
Sumanpan said Calingin has become the “moneymaker” of the Enriles in Cagayan Valley where the family engages in mining.
In 2007, Calingin ran for mayor in Cagayan de Oro and moved back as a voter in Claveria, his hometown, in time for the 2010 elections, said Sumanpan.
Calingin’s son Andy said his father and the Emanos have long reconciled. He confirmed that the ex-governor was endorsed by Enrile.
“He hopes that Mayor Emano would accept Enrile’s endorsement,” said the younger Calingin. “He never fought the mayor. When he ran for mayor in the city, he only showed his interest in serving the people of Cagayan de Oro. It was never to fight Emano.”
The development came following the administration Liberal Party’s move to bare its initial list of candidates in Misamis Oriental. LP officials called it a “powerhouse bloc” against the Padayon Pilipino group of the Emano family.
Vice Gov. Norris Babiera said the list was agreed on two weekends ago during a meeting attended by no less than 17 officials in the province’s two districts, including Gingoog Mayor Ruthie Gingona and Rep. Peter Unabia of the 1st District.
In that meeting, Babiera declared former provincial board member Wayne Militante as his running mate.
Babiera also pushed for the congressional bid of provincial board member Jesus Jardin in the 2nd District. Unabia will seek reelection under the LP in the 1st District.
In the LP list of candidates for board members in the 1st District are provincial board members Jabi Bernaldez and Benedict Lagbas, lawyers Vincent Pelaez and Mitchelle Anayron and Agnes Lee.
For the 2nd District: provincial board member Emmanuel Mugot, lawyers Jude Sabio and Ramil Carreon, former governor Homobono Adaza’s son Erwin and Boris Actub whose late father Oliver was a provincial board member.