Grip of dynasties in Visayas intact

/ 12:02 AM May 14, 2016
ILOILO Rep. Oscar Garin, a member of the Garin political clan, is proclaimed winner by the Iloilo provincial board of canvassers. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

ILOILO Rep. Oscar Garin, a member of the Garin political clan, is proclaimed winner by the Iloilo provincial board of canvassers. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The May 9 elections strengthened the position of political clans in the Visayas although a few lost their grip on their bailiwicks.

In Central Visayas, two prominent politicians have regained their posts.


Tomas Osmeña will return as mayor of Cebu City after defeating bitter rival Michael Rama, who handed him his first loss in 2013. His cousin, John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña, was reelected mayor of Toledo City, but his brother, Serge, may lose his Senate seat, based on unofficial election returns.

Veteran lawmaker Eduardo Gullas won by a landslide, over Talisay City Mayor Johnny delos Reyes and Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante. His grandson, Rep. Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas II, won a second term in the first congressional district in Cebu province.

Of the nine Garcias who ran, only four won.

Gwendolyn Garcia got a fresh mandate as congresswoman in the third district. Her daughter, Christina Frasco, was elected mayor of Liloan town, while a son-in-law, outgoing Mayor Duke Frasco, won as vice mayor

Her elder brother, Marlon, won as mayor of Barili town, while a nephew, Raymond, won a seat in the Cebu City Council. But three other brothers—Wilson, Nelson and Pablo John—lost.

Winston conceded defeat to Gov. Hilario Davide III even though votes from three towns had not been canvassed. Nelson lost in the tight mayoral race in Dumanjug town. Pablo John lost in the congressional race in the seventh district.

Gwendolyn’s cousin Alvin was also defeated in the Cebu City north district congressional race, while another cousin, Antonio, did not make it to the Dumanjug municipal council.

The Martinez family in Cebu’s fourth district continued its dominance in Bogo City.

Carlo Martinez and his sister, Mayel, were proclaimed mayor and vice mayor early Tuesday. But their father, outgoing Bogo Mayor Celestino “Junie” Martinez Jr., was defeated by longtime rival, Rep. Benhur Salimbangon, in the congressional race in the fourth district.


The Durano family maintained its dominance in Danao City.

Incumbent Mayor Ramon “Nito” Durano III won his reelection bid, while his son Mix was elected vice mayor. Another son, Vice Mayor Ramon “Red” Durano, won in the fifth district’s congressional contest.

The Radazas maintained their hold in Lapu-Lapu City. Paz Radaza was reelected mayor, while daughter Aileen won a fresh mandate as representative in the city’s lone district.

Eastern Visayas

In Leyte province, while former energy secretary Jericho Petilla failed to win a Senate seat, the Loreto-Petilla clan showed its dominance in the province of more than 1.2 million voters.

Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla easily won reelection, defeating two “lightweight” rivals. His mother, Remedios, won a third term as mayor of Palo town; his cousin, Vice Gov. Carlo Loreto, ran unopposed; and his aunt, Carmen Cari, was reelected mayor of Baybay City.

Cari’s sons, Jose and Michael, were reelected representative in the fifth district and vice mayor of Baybay, respectively.

The Romualdezes also showed their strength in the elections.

Yedda Marie Romualdez easily won in her bid to replace her husband, Ferdinand Martin, as representative in the first district. Ferdinand Martin, however, lost in the Senate race.

Councilor Cristina Gonzales Romualdez was elected mayor of Tacloban City, replacing her husband Alfred, whose third term ends on June 30.

The Apostol clan’s dominance in the second congressional district may be coming to an end.

Rep. Sergio Apostol, a veteran politician who was seeking a new term, lost to neophyte Henry Ong. His daughter Anlie lost to Ong’s older brother Eduardo in the mayoral race in Carigara town.

Apostol’s wife Trinidad, a former congresswoman and mayor of Carigara town, was elected provincial board member.

Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez and her husband, actor Richard Gomez, defeated the Codillas who used to control Ormoc City.

Lucy won a third and final term as representative in the fourth district, defeating the wife of Ormoc Mayor Edward Codilla, Violy. Richard finally won in an election after three failed attempts, foiling the reelection bid of Edward.

Lucy’s brother, Manuel Vincent, was elected provincial board member.

The rest of political families in Eastern Visayas—the Mercados of Southern Leyte, Espinas of Biliran, Tans of Samar and Ongs of Northern Samar—are still well-entrenched.

In Samar province, Gov. Sharee Ann Tan, her brother Vice Gov. Stephen James and mother Milagrosa, representative of the second district, received fresh mandates.

Stephen’s wife, Stephanie, was reelected mayor of Catbalogan town. Their daughter, Angel, however, lost in her bid to replace Ronald Aquino as mayor of Calbayog City.

In Southern Leyte province, Gov. Roger Mercado will switch places with his congressman brother, Damian, following their landslide victories. Roger’s son, Nacional, will be the new mayor of Maasin City, the capital, while son-in-law Leoncio Uy Jr. will be a provincial board member, representing the second district.

All members of the Espina clan won in Biliran, which the family has ruled since 1995, just three years after it became a province separate from Leyte. Their political dominance started when the late Gerry Espina, the family patriarch, was elected congressman in 1995.

Gov. Gerardo “Gerry Boy” Espina Jr. and his elder brother, Rogelio, who ran unopposed for congressman, were reelected for third terms. Rogelio’s son and councilor, Gerald, was elected mayor of the provincial capital of Naval, defeating Aim Limpiado.

Another Espina brother, Rodolfo, was elected mayor of Kawayan town.

ANOTHER member of a political dynasty, Gwen Garcia, is proclaimed winner in the race for a House seat for the third district of Cebu province.       JUNJIE MENDOZA/CEBU DAILY NEWS

ANOTHER member of a political dynasty, Gwen Garcia, is proclaimed winner in the race for a House seat for the third district of Cebu province. JUNJIE MENDOZA/CEBU DAILY NEWS

Western Visayas

In Western Visayas, the Birons, Garins, Tupases, Navas and Defensors maintained their political dominance, but Antique Gov. Exequiel Javier  suffered his first defeat since the Edsa People Power in 1986.

Ferjenel Biron (Abyan Ilonggo) regained his post as representative in the fourth congressional district in Iloilo province. He will replace his brother, Rep. Hernan “Jun” Biron Jr.

Two sons of Ferjenel will be holding public office for the first time. Braeden John, 21, won by a large margin in the mayoral race in Barotac Nuevo town, succeeding his grandfather and incumbent mayor, Hernan Biron. Bryant Paul, 23, won a seat in the provincial board.

Lorenz Defensor, youngest child of Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor, was elected to the provincial board. The governor and his older son and namesake, Rep. Arthur Defensor Jr., were reelected.

The Garin clan strengthened its position after Mayor Christine “Tingting” Garin of Guimbal town won as vice governor against outgoing Iloilo Rep. Niel “Junjun” Tupas Jr. She is the sister-in-law of Health Secretary Janette Garin.

Christine is the daughter of former Rep. Oscar Garin, who was elected Guimbal mayor, and provincial board member Ninfa, who was elected mayor of San Joaquin town. Her older brother, Rep. Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr., was reelected, while her sister, Sharon, was expected to retain her seat as representative of the party-list group AAMBIS-OWA.

In Guimaras, third-termer Rep. JC Rahman Nava will be replaced by his wife, Ma. Lucille, who won against Henry Babiera and Vice Gov. Vicente de Asis. His estranged younger brother, former governor Felipe Nava, lost to reelectionist Gov. Samuel Gumarin.  Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Joey A. Gabieta, Jennifer Allegado, Jani Arnaiz and Jhunnex Napallacan, Inquirer Visayas

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TAGS: bailiwicks, dynasties, Elections 2016, Visayas
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