Arroyo’s return to Congress assured as no bet dares to face her
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The lines have been drawn among political contenders in the 2022 national and local elections, but for some Luzon candidates the race is over.
Former president and ex-speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is running unopposed in her return bid to Congress, replacing her son, Mikey, as Pampanga’s second district representative. Mikey had decided to focus on his businesses.
The filing of the certificates of candidacy (COC) closed on Friday without anyone gunning for the post against Arroyo, according to a certified list of candidates issued by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
The 74-year-old Arroyo is the congressional standard bearer of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democracts (Lakas-CMD). She has served three terms as congresswoman from 2010 to 2019, becoming the first female House Speaker from 2018 to 2019 after 161 House members signed a manifesto ousting Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez from the post.
Two other reelectionist representatives in Pampanga, Carmelo “Jon” Lazatin II (1st District) and Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. (3rd District) are also running unopposed.
Lazatin’s brother, Carmelo Jr., is seeking a second term as mayor of Angeles City.
In Zambales province, reelectionist San Marcelino town Mayor Elvis Soria has secured an early victory with no challenger for his post.
Soria, who is seeking a third and final term, is the only unopposed candidate in a list of 551 political aspirants in Zambales who filed their COCs, based on the latest Comelec tally. Soria, who has been mayor since 2016, is seeking his third and last term.
In Ilocos Sur, Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan, one of the House deputy speakers, and seven town mayors will run unopposed in the upcoming 2022 elections.
Three of these mayors are running alongside their children who are also unopposed vice mayoral candidates. Among these father-child tandems are Jesus Bueno Jr. and son Jeremy Jesus III of Santa town; Samuel Parilla and son Samuel II of Bantay town; Salcedo Vice Mayor Ninya Grazielle Gironella-Itchon, who is seeking the mayoral post with her running mate father, Leonofre Gironella, who heads an organization of village councils in the town.
Also unopposed are mayoral tandems Pablito Benjamin Maggay II and Vice Mayor Armando Gaburno of Cervantes town; Allen Nimo Jr. and Rodolfo Asiong of Quirino town; and Daniel Laño Jr. and Rene Crisanto Lubrin of Sugpon town. No one is contesting the reelection bid of Mayor Henry Gallardo of Gregorio del Pilar town.
The other unopposed vice mayors are Candon City Vice Mayor Kristelle Singson, who is seeking a second term; and Michael Florendo (Sta. Maria town), Riolita Balbalan (Burgos town), Ma. Elaine Sarmiento (San Juan town), Samuel Subagan Jr. (Suyo town), Randolf John Cabrera (Nagbukel town), Mar Ruel Sumabat (Alilem town) and Robert Riego (San Ildefonso town).
In Ilocos Norte, unchallenged are relectionist town Mayors Mary Chrislyn Abadilla (Banna), Crescente Garcia (Burgos), Antonio Mariano (Marcos) and Aldrin Garvida (Nueva Era). Also running unopposed is mayoral bet Francisco Espiritu Jr. in Dumalneg town.
—REPORTS FROM TONETTE OREJAS, JOHN MICHAEL MUGAS, JOANNA ROSE AGLIBOT, LEONCIO BALBIN JR. AND VILLAMOR VISAYA JR. INQ
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