Change 2016: Young pols replace old guard
CHANGE was the common thread in the outcome of the May 9 elections in northern and central Luzon. A new generation of politicians has replaced the old guard in many towns and provinces. More women also took over seats of government once dominated by political patriarchs.
In La Union province, outsiders would have considered the results of the May 9 elections as another affirmation of the governance by the influential Ortega clan.
But the fiercest contest was between the young clan members and the older generation. Two sons of outgoing Gov. Manuel Ortega beat their uncles: Francisco Emmanuel Ortega trounced his uncle, Mario, who served as Manoling’s executive assistant; Alfred Pablo Ortega beat his uncle, Jose Maria in the vice mayoral race in San Fernando City.
Former San Fernando City Mayor Mary Jane Ortega, wife of incumbent Rep. Victor Ortega, lost to a non-Ortega, Vice Mayor Hermogenes Gualberto.
Outgoing San Fernando City Mayor Pablo Ortega beat his nephew, Victor Manuel Ortega, for the first district congressional seat. Pablo’s son, Francisco Paolo Ortega, and Pablo’s brother, Ramon Ortega, clinched seats in the San Fernando city council.
In the second congressional district, Agoo Mayor Sandra Eriguel beat Tomas Dumpit for the congressional seat.
David vs Goliath
In Pangasinan, Board Member Amado Espino III cast himself as the David against his Goliath in the gubernatorial race—former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco, who is also son of former Ambassador Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco.
On Tuesday, with 95 percent of the province’s election returns tallied, Espino garnered 700,488 votes, against Cojuangco’s 489,442, according to the Commission on Elections transparency server.
Right after he cast his vote in a precinct at Bautista Central School in Bautista town, Espino, son of outgoing Gov. Amado Espino Jr., said: “I’m a little nervous as to what would come out in the counting of votes.”
He has reason to be nervous. Since 2013, Cojuangco has been going around the province to announce his gubernatorial bid. He has the support of more than 30 of the province’s 47 mayors, who won under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
The elder Espino appeared headed for a win in the province’s fifth district against Cojuangco’s wife, reelectionist Rep. Kimi Cojuangco. On Tuesday, Espino received 127,692 votes against Cojuangco’s 89,366.
New faces have emerged in Pangasinan’s different towns.
In Dasol town, independent mayoral candidate Eric Versoza, son of former Philippine National Police chief Jesus Versoza, defeated Nadine Nacar, daughter of Mayor Noel Nacar, who was in his last term.
Versoza first ran in 2013 against Mayor Nacar but lost.
In Bayambang town, businessman Cezar Quiambao defeated his closest opponent, Zenaida Camacho, wife of outgoing Mayor Ricardo Camacho. Camacho also lost to Quiambao’s running mate, Nato Sabangan.
In Calasiao town, Councilor Joseph Arman Bauzon defeated Vice Mayor Roy Macanlalay in what was observed as a lopsided mayoral race. Macanlalay had been mayor for three terms before serving as vice mayor.
In Zambales province, former Gov. Amor Deloso ended the reign of reelectionist Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. in an apparent election upset. Deloso defeated Ebdane, who was seeking his third term, in their third rematch.
Former Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon Jr. failed to regain City Hall as he was defeated by reelectionist Mayor Rolen Paulino. Political newbie Angel Magsaysay-Cheng, youngest daughter of former Zambales Gov. Vicente Magsaysay, beat reelectionist Zambales Vice Gov.
Ramon Lacbain II. Cheng, a businesswoman, restored the Magsaysay family back on the political scene.
Veteran politicians and influential families still dominated the polls in many places.
In Bulacan, former governor and Postmaster General Josefina de la Cruz lost in a rematch with Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado. Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando won over fellow actor Phillip Salvador, the running mate of De la Cruz.
In Angeles City in Pampanga, movie actor and outgoing Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid lost the mayoral contest to third-term Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan. Partial unofficial count of the Comelec showed Lapid garnering 45,564 votes while Pamintuan receiving 76,272 votes. The third candidate, Vice Mayor Vicky Vega, obtained 12,818.
Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy III had a commanding lead with 416,027 votes against former Gov. Maria Gracia Cielo Padaca who had 131,049.
In Cagayan province, former presidential legislative liaison office chief Manuel Mamba was leading with 166,529 votes in the gubernatorial race against lawyer Cristina Antonio, who had 153,204.
Proclaimed mayors in Isabela were Evelyn Diaz (Ilagan City), Bernard Faustino Dy (Cauayan City), Joseph Tan (Santiago City), Jesus Laddaran (Ramon), Nestor Uy (Gamu), Kervin Uy (Burgos), Charlton Uy (Cabatuan), Christopher Mamauag (Cabagan) and Arnold Bautista (Tumauini).
Nueva Ecija Rep. Czarina Umali finally broke the succession of male governors by beating former Rep. Rodolfo Antonino in the province’s gubernatorial race, according to the unofficial returns.
Umali, 41, is the wife of outgoing Gov. Aurelio Umali, who failed in his bid to succeed her in Congress. Since 1898, the province was ruled by 33 male governors.
Also for the first time in Nueva Ecija’s political history, four women would be representing the province in the 17th Congress: Estelita Suansing (first district), Michaela Violago (second district), Ria Vergara (third district) and Megan Antonino (fourth district).
In Bulacan, Ann Marcos unseated Mayor Isagani Castro of Paombong while former San Ildefonso Mayor Carla Galvez reclaimed her post from reelectionist Mayor Gerald Galvez.
In San Miguel town, Vice Mayor Ivy Mendez-Coronel became its new mayor while Maritz Ochoa-Montejo, sister of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., won as mayor of Pulilan town. Plaridel Mayor Jocelle Vistan ran unopposed. Reports from Yolanda Sotelo, Gabriel Cardinoza, Villamor Visaya Jr., Melvin Gascon, Anselmo Roque, Tonette Orejas, Allan Macatuno and Carmela Reyes-Estrope
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