SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union, By William Garcia, Jr. – Outgoing Mayor Pablo Ortega will be pitted against his nephew, incumbent provincial board member, Manuel, Jr., in the congressional race in the First District of La Union. Both filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) at the provincial office of the Commission on Elections here last Monday.

Pablo is running under the Liberal Party while Manuel, Jr. is an Independent candidate.

Manuel Jr., son of Gov. Manuel Ortega, the elder brother of Pablo, was accompanied to the Comelec office by his mother Geraldine and his sisters, while the city mayor was joined by his family, barangay and local officials and supporters.

“No one from my brothers and sisters is running against me except my nephew (Manuel, Jr.) who has not been convinced to withdraw his candidacy even by family members,” Pablo said in an emotional public statement.

Pablo expressed confidence voters would be electing him because of his accomplishments as mayor and former provincial board member.

Pablo is being endorsed by his elder brother, Representative Victor Ortega, who is running for the mayoral position to be vacated by the former.

On the other hand, Manuel, Jr. said he filed his candidacy to continue the legacy of his father, the incumbent provincial governor, who finished three terms as representative of the 1st Congressional District.

“May the best man win. People are clamoring for my services and I want to continue the legacy of my father,” Manuel, Jr. told media. The senior Ortega is in his third and final term as La Union provincial governor.

Gov. Ortega has endorsed his son, Abono party-list Representative Francisco Emmanuel “Pacoy” Ortega III, for the governorship.

Pacoy was unanimously endorsed by all the 19 incumbent La Union municipal mayors as candidate for governor, according to resolution passed by the group during a meeting at the Thunderbird Resorts here.

Agoo Mayor Sandra Young Eriguel also endorsed incumbent Vice- Governor Aureo Nisce as Rep. Ortega’s running mate.

Pacoy is now on his third and final term as party-list representative. He is expected to file his certificate of candidacy on Friday. He will be running as Independent candidate but he will be adopted by various parties in the local level as common candidate for governor.

Meanwhile, former provincial board member Jose Ma. “Pepe” Ortega and his his nephew, City Councilor Alfredo Pablo will vie against each other for the vice- mayoral post of this capital city in the May 2016 elections. Both filed their respective certificates of candidacy last Monday.

Pepe will be the running mate of his elder brother, La Union 1st District Representative Victor Ortega who will vie for the city’s highest post. They will be opposed by Vice- Mayor Hermenigildo Gualberto and Alf Ortega. Gualberto will file his certificate of candidacy between Monday and Friday.

Earlier, it was reported that it would be either Alf, the son of La Union incumbent Gov. Manuel Ortega or Paolo, the son of incumbent City Mayor Pablo Ortega, will be in tandem with Gualberto for City Mayor, an independent candidate, but Paolo gave way to his cousin.

In a message, Alf said he was not the running mate of Gualberto because he (Alf) filed his COC as an Independent candidate.

Victor and Pepe have also joined the Liberal Party. Pepe lost to Gualberto overwhelmingly in the 2013 vice- mayoral race.

In an interview with the local press, Mayor Pablo said that he had earlier thought that his nephews, including his opponent in the congressional race, were just joking when they expressed in public about running against each other in next year’s polls.