In Nueva Ecija, outgoing officials fielding relatives
THE CYCLE goes on for Nueva Ecija politics as “graduating” local executives field their husbands, wives, children or close relatives for various positions in the May 9 elections to continue their leadership presence in their respective communities.
For the gubernatorial post, Rep. Czarina Umali is running to succeed her husband, Aurelio, the incumbent governor. Aurelio is seeking the seat to be vacated by his wife in the third congressional district.
Czarina is being challenged by former Rep. Rodolfo Antonino, whose daughter Megan is seeking reelection as representative of the fourth district.
Running against Aurelio is neophyte Ria Vergara, wife of reelectionist Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara.
In the second district, outgoing Rep. Joseph Gilbert Violago has fielded his wife, Mikki, to take his place. Mikki is being opposed by her brother-in-law, Lito Violago. The district was represented for several years by the family patriarch, the late Eleuterio Violago.
In San Jose City, the outgoing Mayor Marivic Violago-Belena, a daughter of the late congressman, has fielded her husband, Alexander, to succeed her. Alexander, a former mayor, is opposed by Kokoy Salvador, brother-in-law of Joseph Violago.
Other outgoing mayors who have fielded their relatives to take their posts are those in Llanera, Jaen, Sto. Domingo, Sta. Rosa, Cuyapo, Licab, San Leonardo and General Natividad towns.
In Aliaga town, Mayor Elizabeth Vargas is giving way to her husband, Marcial, a former mayor, in the mayoral race. She is now running for vice mayor. The couple has been ruling the town for the last 22 years.
The tandems of namesakes include Alvarez-Alvarez in the Science City of Muñoz, Austria-Austria in Jaen, Santos-Santos in General Natividad, Bote-Bote in General Tinio town, and Joson-Joson in Quezon town.
Aurelio Umali and Julius Cesar Vergara, former allies, had a falling out after the 2013 elections when Vergara moved to elevate Cabanatuan to a highly urbanized city that Umali opposed.
Although Vergara secured a presidential proclamation for the city’s new status, Umali succeeded in thwarting the holding of a referendum that involved only the voters of Cabanatuan. The issue has remained unresolved. Anselmo Roque
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