The May 2013 elections will mark the thrid time that Catholic priest Ed Panlilio and Lilia Pineda will dispute the gubernatorial post in Pampanga.
On Friday, both Panlilio and Pineda filed their respective certificates of candidacy to once again dispute the top elective post in the province.
The first time they met, Panlilio won over Pineda in the 2007 elections, albeit only by a margin of a little over a thousand votes. Pineda then filed an electoral protest against Panlilio.
But in February 2010, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) unseated Panlilio and subsequently declared Pineda as the righful winner after conducting a recount. The finaly tally showed Pineda winning over Panlilio by about 2,000 votes.
Panlilio lost to Pineda during the 2010 polls.
In a television interview, Panlilio said his provincemates and even the national leadership of the Liberal Party convinced him to run again.
He refused to elaborate on the talks between him and LP saying it is up to President Benigno Aquino III to disclose. Aquino chairs the ruling party.
In a separate television interview, Pineda said she welcomes having Panlilio again as her opponent in the gubernatorial race.
Pineda said she will leave it up to her provincemates to choose who among them is fit to serve the province.
Panlilio is a Catholic priest who decided to enter politics to serve as an alternative candidate.
He is also a convenor of Kaya Natin Movement, a group espousing transparency and good governance. Among the promiment members of Kaya Natin are newly appointed poll commissioner Grace Padaca and the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
Meanwhile, Pineda is a known ally of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Her husband, Rodolfo "Bong" Pineda, had been linked several times to illegal gambling, to which he has repeatedly denied.
In another development, a certain lawyer Vivian Dabu, provincial administrator during the stint of Panlilio, is expected to run against former President and incumbent Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The report said Datu is a distant cousin of the President. It would be her first time to join politics. — with Amita Legaspi/RSJ, GMA News