Degamo vs Teves floated in Negros Oriental special poll
DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental, Philippines — At least two names are being floated to battle it out in the special election in the third district of Negros Oriental on Dec. 9 coming from the opposing Teves and Degamo political families.
The special election is meant to elect the replacement of Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr., who was expelled from the House of Representatives in August after he refused to heed the call for him to report to the lower chamber, as he continued to remain in hiding after he was named the alleged mastermind in the murder of Gov. Roel Degamo and nine others in Pamplona town in March.
Sources at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) here said they had received reports that Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, the widow of the slain governor, might be considering running for the congressional seat.
If she runs, she will reportedly be going against former Negros Oriental Gov. Pryde Henry Teves, the younger brother of Arnolfo.
Other possible candidates for the third district seat are incumbent Siaton Mayor Fritz Diaz and retired Philippine Navy Col. Rey Lopez, both known allies of the Degamo family, according to the sources.
The poll body will start accepting certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the special election from Nov. 6 to Nov. 8 at Comelec’s provincial office in Dumaguete City, lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano, director of Comelec in Central Visayas, had earlier said.
The campaign period will begin on Nov. 9 and will end on Dec. 7.
Mayor Degamo, in a statement she posted on social media on Saturday, called on residents of the district to stay vigilant and choose the best person to represent the district but did not say if she would run for the post.
She claimed the elections in the third district had been plagued by rampant electoral violence, intimidation and trickery allegedly perpetrated by the Teveses.
“Which is why this election is about more than politics, it is about ensuring the safety of every NegOrense and about protecting our very democracy. We cannot allow violence, intimidation, and trickery to once again undermine our democratic processes,” she said.
She added: “No matter who NegOrenses will call upon to represent them in the third district, safeguarding the voters and the integrity of our democratic processes must remain our number one priority.”
The mayor said she was also praying that President Marcos and Comelec “will not let my husband’s death be in vain and will ensure that NegOrenses are protected during the upcoming special election. Negros Oriental needs change, together we can be that change.”
Comelec has, meanwhile, announced that during the Nov. 9 to Dec. 7 campaign period, the poll body has prohibited policemen and provincial guards to act as security personnel of government officials and for them to use armored land or water vehicles, or aircraft.
A liquor ban will also be imposed in the district from Dec. 8 to Dec. 9, while a gun ban will be in effect from Nov. 9 to Dec. 24.
Castillano said Comelec will accept the COCs of anyone who wants to become the representative of Negros Oriental’s third district.
“The role of Comelec here is only ministerial. We will accept COCs regardless of the issues concerning their qualifications and as long as they are not barred by law from running,” he said.
The third district is composed of Bayawan City and the towns of Valencia, Bacong, Dauin, Zamboanguita, Siaton, Sta. Catalina and Basay. It has 301,264 registered voters.