SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – The gubernatorial candidate of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan withdrew her certificate of candidacy yesterday to pave way for the substitution of the brother of incumbent Gov. Manuel Ortega.

Janet Cartas, a councilor of Barangay Gana in Caba town, withdrew her COC at the provincial office of the Commission on Election here, a few minutes before Mario Eduardo Ortega, the Governor’s executive assistant, filed his substitution papers.

Cartas has chosen Mario as her substitute after Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos approved his (Mario) candidacy as KBL standard bearer. The senator’s father, former President Marcos, formed the KBL in 1978.

Jose Vicente Opinion, KBL chairman and president, issued Mario’s nomination papers which were received by Atty. Joel Gines, the Comelec provincial officer.

Mario, a former national vice- president of the Liga ng mga Barangay, will be facing three other gubernatorial bets which include his nephew, Abono Partylist Representative Francisco Emmanuel ‘Pacoy’ Ortega III, son of Gov. Ortega who is running as an independent candidate.

Gov. Ortega is on his third and final term and opted to retire from politics due to old age.

Also running for the gubernatorial post, as an independent, is Henry Bacurnay, Undersecretary for External Affairs at the Office of the President; and former 2nd District representative “Butch” Dumpit of the National Unity Party.

“I will be a better alternative for the people of La Union to choose (in this election). All I want is a level playing field so the voters can choose whom to elect as governor,” Mario said in a public statement.

Mario disclosed that he had been requesting his nephew to nominate him (Mario) as Abono Partylist representative bet so they would not clash against each other for the gubernatorial post. However, Pacoy spurned the offer and instead fielded his wife, Vini Nola Ortega,as Abono partylist candidate.

“We tried everything to settle the matter but he was not convinced. That’s why I have to listen to the clamor of supporters,” Mario, who has 28 years of experience in of public service, said.

For his part, Pacoy said he worked hard for the Abono nomination, so, he said, he had the right to choose a candidate to replace him. He is on his last and final term as representative. JUN ELIAS/NorthboundPH