6-time Baler mayor looms as Angara clan’s bet for governor in 2013

By Jason de Asis


BALER, Aurora, November 16, 2010–The incumbent septuagenarian mayor of this capital town, who won six three-year terms as local chief executive, is looming as the possible successor to the Capitol of outgoing three-term Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo.


Barely six months after the May elections, three-term Mayor Arthur J.  Angara, 73, is emerging as the clan’s anointed candidate for governor, with the full backing of the provincial chapter of the 8-man League of Municipalities of the Philippines of which he is the president.


Asked on whether he would pursue the governorship, Angara merely smiled and said he is giving it a serious reflection. “Malayo pa naman (It’s still too far),” he said, referring to the 2013 polls.


The prospects of Arthur seeking the governorship first surfaced when streamers bearing his face spread around the province greeting the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) sect on its anniversary. The mayor has lately been visible in towns outside of Baler – Aurora’s smallest municipality - reportedly consulting with fellow mayors and partymates from the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino.


He also rotated the monthly meetings of the provincial LMP in each of the eight towns.


Angara-Castillo said she was grateful for the LMP’s endorsement of her brother’s possible candidacy for governor. “If that’s the pleasure of the LMP-Aurora chapter, I am very appreciative,” she said, although adding they have not yet talked about it.


She said that with her brother at the Capitol, the latter will carry out her mission and vision of development in the province. “If you look at his record of public service, he is a Hall of Famer,” she said of Arthur who she described as “silent waters that run deep.”


She added that Arthur was the only mayor who got elected and successfully mounted political comebacks in this capital town, a feat which no other politician could duplicate.    


The shy and soft-spoken Angara is a dentist by profession. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in dentistry in 1960, placing 12th in the board examinations.


He first entered politics as municipal councilor from 1964 to 1967. In 1992, he first became municipal mayor when the town was still a fifth-class municipality. He got reelected in 1995 and in 1998.


He returned in 2004, the beginning of his second three-year term. He got reelected in 2007 and to a third and final term last May.


Also elected with him was his daughter Karen who sits as municipal councilor and president of the provincial federation of the Philippine Councilors’ League which made her an ex-officio member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. A former mayor was Arthur’s younger brother Joselito, who reigned from 1980-87. 


As an officer of the LMP, he became senior adviser to then-LMP national president, Binalonan Mayor Ramon Guico.   It was during his term as mayor when the municipal government was upgraded into a third-class municipality and romped off with a national award for streamlining business operations.


The mayor is candid enough to admit that people in Baler are always surprised why he always won. “They say I’m a silent type,” he said.  


Angara is the seventh in a brood of 10 scions of the fabled clan. The eldest, Leticia Moises, was former undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The others were Gody, a former employee of the Quezon City Hall; Socorro, librarian of the Manila City Hall (deceased); Lydia (ex-DSWD cashier); Alicia, a physician; Edgardo (the senator); Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, Thelma (nurse) and Joselito. (Jason de Asis)