Traditional pols face former allies, foesInquirer Visayas
Next year’s electoral battles in the Visayas will be marked with rivalries between former allies and foes and new political clans contesting the traditional ones.
Although a few new faces and groups aim to topple established political blocs, some political clans are also moving to strengthen their hold in their localities.
Elective positions in some provinces have become like an inheritance, after the husband, the wife, children and even grandchildren take over.
Leyteños expected a royal battle between the province’s most prominent political families—the Romualdezes and the Petillas—in the 2013 elections.
But it will not push through after businessman Benjamin Philip Romualdez, son of the late Gov. Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, who ruled Leyte for 19 years, did not file a certificate of candidacy for the gubernatorial race.
Now, Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, younger brother of outgoing Gov. Jericho Petilla and a political neophyte, is running unopposed and is virtually the next governor of Leyte.
Jericho was expected to challenge the reelection bid of Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte’s first district but decided not to run for any elective position.
Martin is now assured of a third and last term since he, too, is running unopposed.
But other Petilla and Romualdez family members are running for various positions.
Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez is seeking reelection against An Waray Rep. Florencio Noel, a close ally of the Petillas.
Leopoldo Dominico’s running mate is Board Member Carlo Loreto, a cousin.
His mother, Palo Mayor Remedios Petilla, is seeking a second term. The governor’s aunt, Baybay Mayor Carmen Cari, is running for reelection with her son Michael as her running mate.
Carmen’s only challenger is businesswoman Marilou Galenzoga, her niece on the Veloso side.
The clan members of the Petillas include the Caris, Velosos and Loretos.
Carmen’s son, Representative Jose Carlos of Leyte’s fifth district, is seeking reelection. Jose Carlos’ wife, Margarita, is an ex-officio member of the Provincial Board as Association of Barangay Councils president.
The Apostols, another political family, are expected to dominate the province’s second district.
Rep. Sergio Apostol and daughter, Board Member Anlie Apostol, are seeking reelection. Another daughter, Tonette, is running for mayor of Carigara to replace his wife, Trinidad, who decided not to seek an elective post.
The fourth-district congressional race will be a battle between an old political family and an emerging one.
Outgoing Ormoc Mayor Eric Codilla is challenging the reelection bid of Rep. Lucy Torres Gomez. Her husband, actor Richard Gomez, will face Eric’s brother, Edward, in the mayoral race.
Lucy’s younger brother, Manuel Vicente III, will contest the reelection bid of Mayor Elmer Codilla of Kananga town, younger brother of Eric.
It is strictly a “family affair” in Biliran, Northern Samar and Samar.
Three Espina brothers are seeking reelection: Gerardo Jr., governor; Rogelio, congressman; and Rodolfo, Kawayan mayor. Rogelio’s son, Gerard, is running for board member.
Five members of the Tan family are vying for different elective posts in Samar.
Rep. Milagrosa Tan of Samar’s second district, the family matriarch, and her children—Gov. Sharee Ann Tan and Vice Gov. Stephen James Tan—are seeking reelection.
Another son, Michael, and daughter, Angeli, both political neophytes, will run for city mayors of Catbalogan and Calbayog.
Sharee’s challenger is Rosa Jessica Delgado, daughter of old political rival, Calbayog Mayor Reynaldo Uy who was killed in 2011.
In Northern Samar, Rep. Raul Daza and son Gov. Paul Daza are seeking reelection.
Cebuanos are gearing for a hotly contested mayoral race in Cebu City between two erstwhile allies.
Rep. Tomas Osmeña will try to take his old seat from Mayor Mike Rama, who severed ties with Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) in 2010 after 19 years following a public spat with the party head.
Rama is expected to work hard especially that this will be the first time he is leading a political campaign without the machinery of BOPK and with Osmeña as his opponent.
Osmeña will face some difficulties especially that he is fighting against an incumbent and has lost some political allies who have switched to Team Rama.
The Garcias and their allies will also be fighting to keep their hold in the province especially that some allies have moved to the Liberal Party (LP).
Six congressmen in Cebu used to be with One Cebu. But only three have remained —Pablo Garcia, son Pablo John Garcia and Benhur Salimbangon.
The seventh congressman— Arturo Radaza—represents the lone district of Lapu-Lapu City, a highly urbanized city which is independent of the province.
He is not running due to health reasons but has fielded his daughter, 28-year-old Aileen, a political neophyte, as his replacement. His wife, Mayor Paz Radaza, is seeking reelection.
Pablo John will switch places with sister Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia who will run in the third-district congressional race against Pinamungahan Mayor Geraldine Yapha, whose family has been a political rival.
Pablo John is One Cebu’s standard-bearer and will face LP’s bet, lawyer Hilario Davide III, son of former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr.
This is Davide’s second try in the gubernatorial race. He lost by 90,000 votes to Gwendolyn.
Pablo is running for reelection in the second district against a former ally who has switched to the LP—Board Member Wilfredo Caminero.
Two sons are also running: Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia is seeking reelection, and Barili Vice Mayor Marlon Garcia is running for mayor.
Two congressmen are now with LP—Representatives Luigi Quisumbing of sixth district and Red Durano of fifth district. Quisumbing is running for reelection against former Rep. Nerissa Soon-Ruiz of One Cebu.
Red is running for vice mayor of Danao City with his father, Vice Mayor Ramon “Nito” Durano III, as standard-bearer.
They will face Nito’s brothers—reelectionist Mayor Ramon “Boy” Durano Jr. and former Mayor Jesus “Don” Durano of One Cebu.
Former Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano is running to replace his brother’s seat in Congress under the LP. He will face entertainer Alfie Pepito of One Cebu and independent candidate, former Compostela Mayor Gilbert Wagas who is jailed at the New Bilibid Prison after he was convicted of malversation of public funds.
His aunt, Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, is running mate of Davide. She will face her cousin, former Vice Mayor Ramon “Boboy” Durano IV of One Cebu.
Rep. Eduardo Gullas of the first district, who heads local party Alayon, supports two candidates from two parties: gubernatorial bid of Pablo John and vice gubernatorial run of Magpale.
Salimbangon will face former Rep. Celestino “Tining” Martinez III in the fourth district for the third time. Tining’s father, Bogo City Mayor Celestino “Junie” Martinez Jr., is seeking reelection against philanthropist Mariquita Salimbangon-Yeung, sister of the incumbent congressman.
In Bohol, Gov. Edgar Chatto is facing three opponents in the gubernatorial race—Carmen Mayor Conchita Toribio de los Reyes of UNA, actor Amay Bisaya and Wenceslao Sayson Garcia.
Of the three, De los Reyes is viewed as a strong challenger. She was accompanied by Vice President Jejomar Binay when she filed her certificate of candidacy.
In the congressional race, the reelection bid of Rep. Rene Relampagos of the first district will be challenged by outgoing Mayor Dan Lim of Tagbilaran.
Lim’s brother, Dr. Abraham Lim, is running for Tagbilaran mayor against lawyer Augustinus Gonzaga, John Geesnell Yap II and Gaudencio Bantugan.
Rep. Erico Aumentado of second district will face lone challenger, former Rep. Roberto Cajes. Rep. Arthur Yap of third district will face Loboc Mayor Leon Calupusan.
In Negros Oriental, former Finance Secretary Gary Teves, Rep. Josy Limkaichong and Samuel Torres are contesting the reelection bid of Gov. Roel Degamo.
The race for congressional posts in the three districts is turning out to be a duel between the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and the LP.
The first district will see former Rep. Jerome Paras (NPC) running against Manuel Iway (LP) and two independent candidates—Lowell Andaya and Danilo Roble.
The second district will see Bais City Mayor Karen Villanueva (LP) run against incumbent Rep. George Arnaiz (NPC) and independent candidate Raul Aninon.
The third district race will be a one-on-one between former Board Member Marcelo Adanza (LP) and reelectionist Rep. Pryde Henry Teves (NPC).
The political merry-go-round in Dumaguete City is seeing a one-on-one fight between Vice Mayor Alan Gel Cordova (LP) and reelectionist Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria (NPC).
Traditional political rivals in Iloilo have formed an unprecedented alliance under the LP.
The alliance of the Garin, Tupas and Defensor families will be challenged by the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) led by the Biron family, an emerging political clan.
Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor will seek another term against outgoing Rep. Ferjenel Biron of the fourth district.
The vice gubernatorial race will be between former Barotac Viejo Mayor Raul Tupas of the LP and former vice governor Rolex Suplico of UNA.
Defensor’s son, Rep. Arthur Defensor Jr. of the third district, will also seek reelection.
Former Iloilo Gov. Niel Tupas Sr. will run in the fourth-district congressional race against Biron’s brother, Hernan Jr.
Biron’s father, Hernan Sr., is seeking reelection as mayor of their hometown in Barotac Nuevo. His mother, Diana, is the first nominee of Abyan Ilonggo party-list.
Four Tupas brothers are seeking reelection: Niel Jr. (fifth district), Niel III (Barotac Viejo town mayor), Nielo (board member) and Nielex (Iloilo City councilor).
Five members of the Garin family are seeking elective posts. Vice Gov. Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr. is running for first-district representative to replace his wife, outgoing Rep. Janette Garin, who will run for mayor of San Joaquin town to replace his mother, Ninfa.
Ninfa is running for board member while her daughter, Christine, is seeking reelection as Guimbal town mayor. Another daughter, Rep. Sharon Garin, is seeking to retain her post as first nominee of Aambis Owwa party-list group.
In Iloilo City, reelectionists Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas, Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog and Vice Mayor Jose Espinosa III of the LP and Nacionalista Party will face UNA candidates former Iloilo Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr. who is running for his former post, businessman Rommel Ynion for mayor and City Councilor Jeffrey Ganzon for vice mayor.
In Negros Occidental, the once formidable coalition —United Negros Alliance—founded by former ambassador and business tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco has broken up, igniting rivalries after more than 10 years of its near-monopoly in the elections.
Reelectionist Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr., coalition head, is being challenged by his former partner, Vice Gov. Genaro Alvarez Jr. of the NPC who is endorsed by Cojuangco.
The split has trickled down to the cities and towns with both camps fielding full slates.
In Capiz, a businessman and newcomer is contesting the reelection bid of Gov. Victor Tanco (LP), a staunch ally of Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.
Joel Longares of UNA is the chief executive officer and owner of Joel P. Longares Group of Companies, a United States-based business which has seven companies.
In the capital city of Roxas, the mayoral race will be a return bout between former Mayor Vicente Bermejo of the National Unity Party and Mayor Angel Alan Celino of the LP. Bermejo, who had a falling out from the LP and the Roxas family, lost to Celino in 2010.
In Aklan, the race for the lone congressional seat will be contested by Ang Kasangga Rep. Teodorico Haresco Jr., an ally of former President Gloria Arroyo, and Banga Mayor Antonio Maming (UNA).
Makato Mayor Ramon Legaspi Jr. (UNA), son of former Rep. Ramon Legaspi, is running against third-termer Aklan Rep. Florencio Miraflores (LP) for governor.
The mayoral race in the capital town of Kalibo is a battle between former Kalibo Mayor Allen Quimpo and Mayor William Lachica who both claimed to be LP candidates.
In Guimaras, the elections will be a contest between the camps of estranged brothers—reelectionists Rep. Joaquin Carlos “JC” Rahman Nava of the LP and Gov. Felipe Nava of PDP-Laban.
A coalition called “Bag-ong Antiqueño,” which is allied with PDP-Laban and UNA, is challenging the dominance of the Javiers in Antique.
The reelection bids of Gov. Exequiel Javier and his son, Rep. Paolo Everardo Javier, are being challenged by lawyer Cornelio Aldon and former Valderrama town Mayor Raymundo Roquero. Reports from Jhunnex Napallacan, Alex Pal, Joey A. Gabieta, Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Carla P. Gomez and Felipe Celino
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