Javier tastes first electoral defeat in Antique
ANTIQUE Gov. Exequiel Javier was voted out of office on Monday in an unprecedented loss, his first electoral defeat in nearly three decades in politics.
The provincial board of canvassers proclaimed Vice Gov. Rhodora Cadiao as the new governor on Tuesday night. Cadiao (National Unity Party) garnered 131,203 votes while Javier (Liberal Party) got 99,881, or a margin of 31,322 votes.
Her running mate, Edgar Denosta, was proclaimed vice governor, defeating Javier’s running mate, Victor Condez, and independent Eduardo Fortaleza.
Javier’s son, Rep. Paolo Everardo Javier (LP) was reelected with 116,435 votes, over his closest rival, Raymundo Roquero (United Nationalist Alliance), 85,087.
Javier, younger brother of slain former governor and anti-Marcos leader Evelio Javier, has dominated Antique’s politics since 1987. Evelio was gunned down on Feb. 11, 1986, while monitoring results of the snap presidential election between then President Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon “Cory” Aquino.
Evelio’s death helped galvanized anger and resistance against the Marcos dictatorship, which ultimately led to the Edsa People Power Revolution on Feb. 22-25, 1986. He is considered a martyr for fighting and dying for his ideals of freedom, dignity, good governance, justice and peace.
Exequiel benefited from Evelio’s stature. He served as representative of the province’s lone congressional district for six terms from 1987 to 1998 and from 2001 to 2010. He was also the governor from 1998 to 2001 and 2010 to 2013.
He won a second term in 2013 but was removed from office by Comelec in February last year for an election offense. The Supreme Court nullified his removal, enabling him to return to his office in March.
Javier has faced criticisms of alleged corruption and for ruling contrary to the ideals espoused by Evelio. He has repeatedly denied and refuted the charges as the work of his political rivals.
In Monday’s elections, he lost to Cadiao in all but one of the 18 towns. He won only in Caluya town, which hosts the mining operations of Semirara Mining and Power Corp.
Javier lost even if 11 mayoral candidates, including incumbents allied with him, won in their municipalities. His son obtained more than 30,000 votes over six other candidates.
The winners of seats in the provincial board were led by Javier’s allies—Rolly Molina (first district) and Rosie Dimamay (second district).