The Philippine Star - January 12, 2004

Angara-Ong showdown in Aurora
By Manny Galvez

BALER, Aurora - The long-anticipated political showdown between the Angara and Ong clans in this province is now on with three Angaras and the same number of Ongs eyeing the top provincial posts in the May 10 polls.

The gubernatorial battle is expected to be a highly charged encounter between last-term Rep. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo and comebacking former three-term governor Eddie Ong, husband of incumbent Gov. Ramoncita Ong.

Angara-Castillo is running under the banner of the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP), and Ong under the administration-led K-4 coalition.

In the fight for Aurora's lone congressional seat, Angara-Castillo's nephew, lawyer Juan Edgardo Angara, will slug it out against Estrello Ong Jr., Ong's younger brother.

A masteral graduate of the Harvard Law School, Juan Edgardo is the only son of Sen. Edgardo Angara. Estrello Jr. is a commerce graduate of the Far Eastern University.

Sen. Angara, incidentally, was a wedding godfather of the Ong couple.

In the vice gubernatorial race, Angara-Castillo's running mate, re-electionist Vice Gov. Annabelle Tangson, will square it off with provincial board member Bong Ong.

In the capital town of Baler, Dr. Arturo Angara, former three-term mayor and brother of Sen. Angara and Rep. Angara-Castillo, tries to wrest back control of the mayorship against an Ong ally, re-electionist Mayor Ed Cobañes.

The fight between the Angaras and the Ongs is viewed as the biggest electoral battle in this province this decade.

While the two clans reign supreme as political leaders here, they have not directly run against each other for the top positions in the province.

The Ongs are scions of the late Estrello Sr. who served as lieutenant governor when Aurora was still a sub-province of Quezon during the term of the late former President Diosdado Macapagal.

Eddie Ong served as vice governor after the 1986 EDSA Revolution. In 1991, he assumed the governorship by virtue of succession after the governor then, Eunice Cucueco, died in a plane crash.

Barred from seeking another term because of the three-term limit, Eddie fielded his wife Ramoncita against the vice governor then, Isaac Noveras, an ally of the Angaras, and she won.

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