In some Mindanao areas, polls over for unopposed | Inquirer News

In some Mindanao areas, polls over for unopposed

/ 04:33 AM October 18, 2015

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—As soon as the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) was over, victory was already at hand for some candidates in Mindanao who are running unopposed.

In the newly-created province of Davao Occidental, five members of the Bautista clan are assured of clinching the race for the new province’s top posts as no one came forward to challenge their candidacies as the filing for COCs ended on Friday.

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This early, Davao del Sur Gov. Claude Bautista seems to be in a celebratory mode as he will go down in history as Davao Occidental’s first governor after he decided to run in the newly-created province instead of seek reelection.

His elder brother and author of the law creating Davao Occidental, Representative Franklin of the first district of Davao del Sur, is also assured of victory as the province’s first vice governor.

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Claude’s elder sister, Lorna Bandigan, has no opponent in the race for the representative of the lone district of Davao Occidental.

Nephew Bradley Bautista is also unopposed in the race for mayor of Malita town. Bradley needs only one vote to be proclaimed mayor of the town of 90,000 people.

He would replace his uncle and incumbent mayor Joseph Bautista.

Claude said the absence of opponents illustrated the trust that his clan enjoys among the people of the towns of Sta. Maria, Malita, Don Marcelino, Jose Abad Santos and Sarangani.

“No one was prevented from running and there are many politically-influential families, which could have fielded bets against us,” said Claude.

“I believe they trusted us too because they let us run unopposed,” he said.

Claude said the advantage of having allies or family members occupying key posts in a province like Davao Occidental is the support that each official would enjoy from one another.

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“For example, I have envisioned many big-ticket projects to be started. I will need the concurrence of the provincial board, the support of the congressman and local officials. With the situation now, I think that would not be difficult to achieve,” he said.

Claude said among the big-ticket projects he had in mind were a shipyard, development of agricultural plantations and other ventures that are proven to be economic drivers.

“I am also planning to put up an ecozone, along with more infrastructure projects, to drive the economy up,” he said.

In North Cotabato, Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza was also assured of victory this early as her opponent, tricycle driver Manuel Adajar of Kidapawan City is being considered as a loser by analysts.

Adajar ran for mayor of Kidapawan City in 2013 and got only 100 votes out of the nearly 70,000 votes in the city.

In Davao del Norte, former second district Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. is also unopposed and is already thinking of going on a vacation, even before the campaign period starts.

Floirendo filed his COC to replace his nephew, Anton Lagdameo, who is on his third and last term as representative.

In northern Mindanao, the military is asking politicians to shun the payment of so-called permit to campaign fees to the New People’s Army.

Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division based in Cagayan de Oro City, said the military considers the NPA demand for permit to campaign fees as a form of extortion.

Martinez said the military obtained information from former rebels that the NPA collects P300,000 to P600,000 in permit to campaign fees per candidate for governor or representative.

The rate for mayoral and vice mayoral candidates range from P200,000 to P500,000, said Martinez.

“Assuming that majority of the candidates will be threatened to give in to the scheme, a minimum of P50 million could be collected (by the rebels),” Martinez said. Allan Nawal with Frinston Lim, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Davao del Sur Gov. Claude Bautista, Davao Occidental, Elections 2016, Lorna Bandigan, Mindanao, unopposed candidates
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