Old families maintain grip on East Visayas

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TACLOBAN CITY—Old political families maintained their grip on Eastern Visayas with the exception of the Dazas in Northern Samar.

The Petilla and Romualdez families remain in power in Leyte while the Tans, Espinas and Mercados still dominate Samar, Biliran and Southern Leyte.

The Dazas, of the Liberal Party (LP) and staunch allies of President Aquino, are losing in the gubernatorial and congressional races in Northern Samar.

Victory was a breeze for Leopoldo Dominico Petilla and Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, who ran unopposed in the gubernatorial and first district congressional contests in Leyte.

Romualdez’s cousin, Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez, won his reelection bid against An Waray party-list Rep. Florencio Noel, an independent candidate who had the endorsement of President Aquino and his sister, Kris Aquino.

The Espina family still rules Biliran, the smallest province in Region 8, which has eight towns and a voting population of 104,712.

Biliran Gov. Gerardo Espina Jr. and his brother, Rep. Rogelio Espina, both of LP, won fresh mandates in landslide victories.

Two brothers also dominated Southern Leyte.

Rep. Roger Mercado will switch places with his brother, Gov. Damian Mercado.

Damian was proclaimed congressman of the lone district of Southern Leyte, beating three opponents—Rico Rentuza, Marissa Lerias and Vicente Geraldo.

Three Tan family members are also leading in their respective bids in Samar, which is composed of two cities and 21 towns.

Matriach Rep. Milagros Tan, of Samar’s 2nd district, is leading in the congressional race against Board Member Eunice Babalcon (LP).

Her son, Vice Gov. Stephen James (Nationalist People’s Coalition), who is seeking reelection, is ahead by 26,284 votes, with 103,189 votes compared to the 76,905 votes received by former Basey town Mayor Wilfredo Estorninos.

Daughter Gov. Sharee Ann Tan (NPC) is struggling to keep her lead over Rosa Jessica Delgado (LP) in the gubernatorial race.

Tan is ahead by 2,496 votes with 99,354 votes while Uy got 96,858 votes.

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