In local races, same faces, same families

, / 12:30 AM October 13, 2015

THE SAME faces of politicians who are seeking reelection, attempting a comeback, or swapping posts to relatives appeared in local offices of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday to file their certificates of candidacy (COCs) in next year’s polls.

Actor-turned-politician Jeorge “ER” Ejercito, who was unseated by the Comelec as governor of Laguna province for campaign overspending in 2013, wants to reclaim his post as he vowed last year under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). He arrived around 9 a.m. at the Comelec office in the provincial capital of Sta. Cruz, accompanied by his running mate, Councilor Christian Lajara of Calamba City.


An independent candidate, Mateo San Sebastian, also filed his COC for governor. Ramil Hernandez, the erstwhile vice governor who assumed Laguna’s top post, is expected to run for governor under the Nacionalista Party (NP).

Unlike in May 2014, when Ejercito, a nephew of deposed President Joseph Estrada, was ordered to step down, there was not a large crowd of supporters with him, provincial election officer Dioscoro Pajutan said in a phone interview.


In Biñan City, local aspirants attended a concelebrated Mass for an honest and free elections by about 20 priests at Alonte Sports Arena before filing their COCs. Most of those who came were supporters of outgoing Mayor Len Alonte, who is running for the newly created congressional district in the city.

In Quezon province, Gov. David Suarez (National Unity Party) is seeking a third term, filing his COC in the company of his wife, Anna, and lawyer Vicente Joyas. According to Liberal Party (LP) members in the province, he would be challenged by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, whose son, Irvin, lost to him in 2013.

In Oriental Mindoro, the graft charges against Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr. has not stopped him from seeking reelection. The LP stalwart and president of the League of Provinces of the Philippines filed his COC at the Comelec provincial office in Calapan City.

The Sandiganbayan has sentenced Umali to up to 10 years in prison for allegedly illegally facilitating a P2.5-million loan to a shipowner in 1994—a decision he has appealed to the Supreme Court.

Umali’s brother, Rey, wants another term as representative of the second district. Humerlito Dolor also filed his candidacy for reelection as vice governor, also under LP.


In Albay, three political bigwigs belonging to or allied with the ruling LP were the early filers at the Comelec provincial office in Legazpi City.


Former Rep. Edcel Lagman is seeking to reclaim the seat held by his son, Rep. Edcel “Grix” Lagman Jr., in the first district. A member of his staff, Rose Bombales, filed the COC for him.

Grix won his first term in 2013, replacing his father who was on his third and final term of office.

LP provincial chair, Gov. Joey Salceda, who is on his last term, is running for a congressional seat in the second district. He came to the Comelec office with a throng of local candidates, reelectionist Vice Gov. Harold Imperial and the mayors and councilors in the second district—all wearing yellow shirts, LP’s campaign color.

Outgoing Rep. Al Francis Bichara (Nacionalista Party but allied with LP) of the second district, aims to swap places with Salceda, filing his COC for governor at around 2 p.m. He came with around 100 supporters in red shirts that read “Bichara Governor.”

In Camarines Sur, three Villafuertes, representing three generations of one of the oldest political clans in the province, filed their COCs on Monday.

With a marching band, Gov. Miguel Luis “Migz” Villafuerte, the youngest, filed his COC for reelection at the Comelec office in Pili at 10 a.m. He was accompanied by his father, former governor Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte, who also filed his COC as representative of the second district. Both are NP members.

Soon after they left, LRay’s estranged father and former governor, Luis Villafuerte, arrived with his own group of supporters to file his COC (Nationalist People’s Coalition) for representative of the third district, a position to be vacated by Rep. Leni Robredo who is running for Vice President with LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas.

Rep. Salvio Fortuno (LP) filed his COC for his third term in the fifth district.


In the newly created province of Davao Occidental, members of the Bautista clan filed their COCs for different positions at the Comelec office in Malita town.

Accompanied by her brothers, Davao del Sur Gov. Claude Bautista, Joseph and Franklin, Lorna Bautista Bandigan formalized her bid to occupy the lone congressional seat as an LP candidate.

Joseph, who is in his final term as Malita mayor, is sliding to the vice mayoral post in a team-up with his nephew and mayoral aspirant, Bradley, a son of Davao del Sur Rep. Franklin Bautista (second district).

Franklin, who earlier signified interest in running for vice governor of Davao Occidental, is waiting for the final decision of his younger brother, Claude, who may be vying for the gubernatorial position. Claude, chair of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) in the undivided Davao del Sur, may file his COC on Friday, but he refused to categorically state for what position.

Later in the day, the wife of former Gov. Douglas Cagas, Rep. Mercedes Cagas (first district), is seeking reelection. She was accompanied by her husband’s nephew, John Tracy Cagas, who filed his COC for vice governor.

The lawmaker was seen holding a blank COC for the gubernatorial race. Douglas, who is in jail on charges of killing journalist Nestor Bedolido in 2010, had said he would be running in the gubernatorial race.

In Compostela Valley province, the top LP candidates filed their certificates. They included Jayvee Tyron Uy (for governor), reelectionist Vice Gov. Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora, and Representatives Ma. Carmen Zamora (first district) and Ruwell Peter Gonzaga (second district).

Gov. Arturo Uy, who now wants a seat in the provincial board (second district), led the entire slate to the Comelec office. He is switching post with his son, Jayvee Tyron.

In the lone district of Dinagat Islands, Rep. Kaka Bag-ao filed her candidacy for reelection. Local media dubbed her the “Dragon Slayer” after defeating the scion of the well-entrenched Ecleo dynasty in the past election in the province, according to a statement released by her staff.

In Cotabato City, reelectionist Mayor Japal Guiani Jr. filed his COC, along with his sister, city administrator Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, who is seeking a vice mayoral seat. They will carry the NPC banner against LP’s Muslimen Sema, the former mayor, and businessman Mohammad Pasigan.

Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Emano and Vice Gov. Jose Marie Pelaez filed their COCs for reelection in Cagayan de Oro City. They belong to the PaDayon Pilipino Party, the local ally of UNA.

PaDayon was founded by Vicente Emano, former Cagayan de Oro mayor and governor of the province, who is reported to be seeking to regain his post.

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