As in past elections, political dynasties are closing ranks again to keep their hold to power in Mindanao.
The Jalosjos clan will be fielding members and allies in at least three provinces and two cities in the Zamboanga Peninsula in next year’s elections.
Zamboanga del Sur Gov. Antonio Cerilles of the Nationalist People’s Coalition said he had received reports that Dapitan City Mayor Dominador Jalosjos would be challenging his reelection bid. In the first district, Kat-Kat Jalosjos will face the governor’s wife, reelectionist Rep. Aurora Cerilles.
Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co, a third-termer who had allied with the Jalosjoses, will be running to represent the second district. He will face reelectionist Rep. Victor Yu.
In Zamboanga del Norte, the Jalosjoses continue to carry the National Unity Party in dominating the province, according to Gov. Rolando Yebes, a third-termer, who is running to represent the second district against reelectionist Rep. Rosendo Labad-labad.
In Dipolog City, reelectionist Mayor Evelyn Uy of the Liberal Party will face former Rep. Cecilia Jalosjos Carreon.
For the Zamboanga del Norte gubernatorial post, it will be a fight between Mayor Evelyn Uy’s husband, Roberto, and Cesar Jalosjos. Rep. Bullet Jalosjos (first district) and Hannah Jalosjos (third district) are seeking another term.
Zamboanga Sibugay Gov. Rommel Jalosjos will seek reelection.
In Zamboanga City, Rep. Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar (first district) may trade places with third-term Mayor Celso Lobregat. The mayor’s son, Jomar, will seek the congressional seat in the second district.
The Dimaporos will not go unchallenged by estranged relatives and former allies in Lanao del Norte.
A second generation of Dimaporo politicians have been adding steam to the clan whose foothold to power was built by the warlord Ali Dimaporo half-a-century ago after failed attempts to rule Lanao del Sur.
Ali’s son, Abdullah, has been scarcely seen in public since 2010. Abdullah’s son, incumbent Gov. Mohamad Khalid, is seeking a third and last term, while a daughter, Fatima Aliah, a first-term representative of the second district, is expected to seek another mandate although there is talk that she may run for mayor to give way to her father’s comeback.
Abdullah’s wife, Imelda Quibranza, will be seeking a second-term as representative of the first district. Imelda’s older sister, Mayor Nelieta Noval of Tubod town, is expected to run for a second-term.
Abdullah’s cousin, Motalib, incumbent mayor of Sultan Naga Dimaporo town, is also expected to breeze through reelection. Another cousin, former Rep. Abdullah Mangotara, will challenge the political bids of Abdullah’s family.
Mangotara is allied with the politician-brothers Romulo and Rafael Rizalda. Rafael is incumbent mayor of Maigo town, who filed plunder raps against the Dimaporo couple several months back. Romulo squared off with Imelda in the 2010 congressional race.
Mangotara also counts the support of Pantao-Ragat Vice Mayor Lacson Lantod, who is married to a Dimaporo.
Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is fielding his son, Paolo, for vice mayor under the newly registered Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod political party.
Duterte, however, still has to announce who will run for mayor and first district representative, which will be decided between him and his daughter Sara, the incumbent mayor.
He defended himself against accusations of building a political dynasty, saying Hugpong risked “weakening” itself if it would field candidates with less chances of winning. “This is for our own (political) survival,” he told over 3,000 members.
Former Speaker Prospero Nograles, who lost the mayoral race to the Dutertes thrice, was reportedly “retiring from politics,” but reports still say he might be planning a fourth attempt. His son, Karlo Alexei, the city’s first district representative, filed his certificate of candidacy for reelection on Monday.
Last-term Tagum City Mayor Rey Uy has groomed his son, De Carlo, a second-term councilor, to replace him. In past media interviews, Uy said he would prefer returning to “civilian life” than break Liberal Party (LP) unity and risk a showdown with reelectionist Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario.
In Compostela Valley, Uy’s brother, Gov. Arturo Uy, may be running unopposed for his last term. The governor’s son, Tyrone, is said to be running for provincial board member in the second district.
In the Agusan provinces, as well as Butuan City, the same powerful clans would be dominating the election landscape.
Butuan Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr., a known ally of President Aquino, will seek reelection against Rep. Jose Aquino II. Ferdinand’s first cousin, Agusan del Norte Gov. Erlpe John Amante, who is in his last term, will reportedly swap post with a younger sister, Rep. Angel Amante.
In Agusan del Sur, sibling rivalry is heating up in the Plaza clan. Former Rep. Rodolfo Plaza has publicly declared that he would take back his position from his younger sister, Rep. Rowena Plaza-Millana.
Rodolfo’s younger siblings, incumbent Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza and Rep. Maria Valentina Tina Plaza (first district) are expected to run unopposed.
Surigao del Norte’s Matugas family, which controls the top provincial and and city elective posts, will be up against old foes.
The Padajon Surigao party of the Matugases has declared the reelection bids of Gov. Sol Matugas and her husband, Rep. Francisco Matugas (first district). An ally, Rep. Guillermo A. Romarate (second district), is also seeking reelection.
Surigao City Mayor Ernesto Matugas is seeking a second term; his son, Ernest, is in the administration’s city council lineup.
Padajon is up against the newly reconstituted Koalisyon nan mga Partido Oposisyon sa Surigao or Kusog, headed by former Surigao City Mayor Alfonso Casurra. But Casurra admitted that the coalition slate might encounter difficulties, noting that brothers Lyndon and Robert Ace Barbers have not disclosed their political intentions yet.
Lyndon, a former governor, is rumored to be eyeing his former post. Ace is said to be gunning for the second congressional seat.
It’s a different political road in Dinagat Islands. Vice Gov. Geraldine “Jade” Ecleo wants to displace her mother, Gov. Glenda Ecleo.
Jade’s running mate, Merlinda Lagroma, is an incumbent provincial board member who belongs to the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA)—a religious sect controlled by the Ecleo family.
The PBMA leadership, however, is closely allied with the governor, wife of its founder, Ruben Sr. The younger Ecleo’s enlistment of PBMA members is seen as a strategy to weaken her mother’s influence in the sect.
Jade has also included Hero Ecleo, son of the current PBMA figurehead, Ruben Jr., on her provincial board slate.
Elsewhere in Mindanao, family members are giving way to one another. For instance, Sulu Vice Gov. Ben Loong is stepping aside for his eldest brother, reelectionist Rep. Tupay Loong (first district).
Reports from Edwin O. Fernandez, Julie S. Alipala, Ryan D. Rosauro, Germelina Lacorte, Franklin Caliguid, Danilo Adorador, Frinston Lim, Williamor Magbanua, Cai Panlilio, Bobby Lagsa and Aquiles Z. Zonio, Inquirer Mindanao
The electoral matchups in many parts of the country for 2013 show veteran politicians returning to the campaign trail to protect turf or to reclaim their old posts.
Families long entrenched in local politics are also asserting their strength in next year’s elections.
Politicians may have switched parties but virtually the same faces and names will file their certificates of candidacy (COCs) starting Monday.
The Marcoses of Ilocos Norte, Singsons of Ilocos Sur, Ortegas of La Union and Dys of Isabela are up for reelection. In Aurora, the Angaras are consolidating power in their home province, with family members also vying for seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Outgoing Sen. Edgardo Angara of Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino and Vice Gov. Gerardo Noveras of the Liberal Party (LP) are likely to square off in the gubernatorial race.
Outgoing Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, the senator’s sister, is returning to the House to replace her nephew, Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, who is running for senator under the LP.
In Pampanga, Gov. Lilia Pineda is running for reelection under her newly formed party, Kambilan, with her only son Dennis, former mayor of Lubao, as running mate. Dennis is seeking to fill in the seat of Vice Gov. Joseller Guiao, who is running for representative of the first district.
Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid is known to be campaigning for his youngest son, Maynard, who will run for vice governor.
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is seeking reelection in the second district of Pampanga.
In Bulacan, Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando could be running unopposed after Rep. Joselito Mendoza (third district) dropped his plan to challenge Alvarado.
In Nueva Ecija, Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija (Balane) is fielding Rep. Josefina Manuel-Joson (first district) against reelectionist Gov. Aurelio Umali, while her husband, Quezon Mayor Mariano Cristino Joson, will seek the congressional seat she is vacating.
Rep. Czarina Umali, the governor’s wife, is seeking reelection in the third district.
Former San Isidro Mayor Sonia Lorenzo will run for representative of the fourth district against Magnolia Antonino, daughter of outgoing Rep. Rodolfo Antonino, and San Leonardo Mayor Froilan Nagaño.
In Zambales, reports said former Gov. Vicente Magsaysay was challenging the reelection bid of Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. Ebdane’s son, Jun Omar, is seeking reelection as representative of the second district.
Rep. Maria Milagros Magsaysay of the first district has announced her plan to run for senator. Reports said her son, Jobo, may face outgoing Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon Jr. in the congressional race.
Representative Magsaysay and Gordon’s brother, former Sen. Richard Gordon, are running for senator under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
In Bataan, outgoing Rep. Albert Garcia (second district), son of outgoing Gov. Enrique Garcia Jr., is running for governor against Vice Gov. Efren Pascual.
Former Rep. Leonardo Roman is facing actor Onemig Bondoc in the second district.
Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos announced that she would run for a second term. Representatives Imelda Marcos (second district) and Rodolfo Fariñas (first district) are also expected to run for reelection.
All eyes are on the Laoag mayoral race, however, with members of the Fariñas clan likely battling for the post that three-time Mayor Michael Fariñas will vacate next year. The mayor’s wife Chevylle, president of the Association of Barangay Captains, has made known her interest in running for mayor.
In Ilocos Sur, the Singsons will try to maintain its dominance in the province with reelectionist Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson facing a former ally, Tagudin Mayor Roque Verzosa Jr., in the gubernatorial race.
Singson will run with reelectionist Vice Gov. Deogracias Victor Savellano, who will face former Singson ally and former Board Member Efren Rafanan. In the second district, former Deputy Speaker Eric Singson is returning to the House to replace his son, Eric Jr.
In La Union, old political names are seen to dominate again the elections, with Gov. Manuel Ortega running for his third term and his brother, Victor, for his third and final term as representative of the first district.
The recent feud among the province’s leaders has caused the once-dominant Abante Vizcaya to split, with factions led by Rep. Carlos Padilla and Gov. Luisa Cuaresma, who are former allies.
Arya Vizcaya also broke up and has been divided into two groups—one led by retired police director Thompson Lantion and former Santa Fe Mayor Florante Gerdan.
Cuaresma is eyeing the lone congressional seat and is likely to challenge Padilla.
Vice Gov. Jose Gambito has announced his plan to run for governor and is expected to face Gerdan, president of Poro Point Management Corp.
In Isabela, voters are awaiting the return bout between reelectionist Gov. Faustino Dy III and former Gov. Maria Gracia Cielo Padaca.
In Cagayan, former Rep. Manuel Mamba said he was planning to challenge the reelection bid of Gov. Alvaro Antonio.
In Quirino, Gov. Junie Cua and his son, Rep. Dakila Carlo Cua, along with Vice Gov. May Garnace-Calaunan, are likely to seek second terms next year under the LP.
In Baguio City, the tandem of Rep. Bernardo Vergara and Mayor Mauricio Domogan expects a challenge from former Councilor Jose Molintas, who has plans to run for representative next year, and Marquez Go, who is being groomed for the mayoral post by a loose alliance of opposition leaders.
In Benguet, Gov. Nestor Fongwan is facing former Rep. Samuel Dangwa in the gubernatorial race, while Rep. Ronald Cosalan will run for reelection against Vice Gov. Cresencio Pacalso.
In Mt. Province, reelectionist Rep. Maximo Dalog will face retired public works assistant secretary Roy Manao and Jupiter Dominguez. Gov. Leonard Mayaen will be challenged by Vice Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan.
In Ifugao, Rep. Teodoro Baguilat Jr. will face former Rep. Solomon Chungalao for the lone congressional seat.
In Abra, Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin is running for reelection. The congressional race will see a close match between reelectionist Rep. Maria Jocelyn Bernos, Vice Gov. Rolando Somera and former Rep. Cecilia Luna.
In Iloilo, the LP has brought traditional political rivals—the Tupas, Garin and Defensor clans—under one ticket.
It will field reelectionist Gov. Arthur Defensor as its official candidate. Defensor took his oath as LP member on Sunday along with his son and namesake, Rep. Arthur Defensor Jr. (third district).
His running mate is Raul Tupas, son of former Governor and LP provincial chair Niel Tupas Sr., who will run for congressman in the fourth district. Niel’s four other sons will run for reelection under the LP—Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. (fifth district), Mayor Niel Tupas III of Barotac Viejo, Board Member Nielo Tupas and City Councilor Nielex Tupas.
Defensor’s reelection bid will be challenged by Rep. Ferjenel Biron (fourth district), who is the gubernatorial candidate of UNA. Biron’s brother, Hernan Jr. is UNA candidate in the fourth district, against Niel Sr. His father, Hernan Sr., will run for reelection as mayor of Barotac Nuevo, while his mother, Diana, is the first nominee of the Abyan Ilonggo party-list group.
The Garins are expected to maintain their dominance in the first district. Vice Gov. Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr. will run for congressman to replace his wife, third-termer Rep. Janette Garin, under the LP. He will face Miag-ao town Mayor Julieta Flores (UNA).
Oscar’s sister, Christine, is running for reelection as mayor of Guimbal town while another sister, Rep. Sharon Garin, is the first nominee of Aambis, Owwa party-list group.
Augusto Syjuco will run as UNA candidate for representative of the second district to replace his wife Judy. He will be challenged by the LP’s Pavia Mayor Arcadio Gorriceta.
In Iloilo City, the LP-Nacionalista Party coalition will field reelectionist Rep. Jerry Treñas, Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog and Vice Mayor Jose Espinosa III. They will be challenged by UNA candidates: former Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr., businessman Rommel Ynion, who will run for mayor, and Councilor Jeffrey Ganzon, for vice mayor.
In Aklan, UNA also seeks to win against reelectionists of the LP and Tibyog Akean. Makato Mayor Ramon Legaspi Jr., son of former Rep. Ramon Legaspi, is set to run for governor against third-termer Rep. Florencio Miraflores.
In Antique, a coalition called “Bag-ong Antique,” which is allied with PDP-Laban and UNA, is seeking to remove from office Gov. Exequiel Javier and his son Rep. Paolo Everardo Javier.
Lawyer Cornelio Aldon is expected to run for governor. He ran for congressman in 1992 but lost to Exequiel Javier.
Most LP candidates in Capiz are seeking reelection. These are Gov. Victor Tanco, Rep. Antonio del Rosario (first district), Mayor Alan Celino and Vice Mayor Ronnie Dadivas.
Old political clans are expected to dominate the 2013 polls in Cebu, unlike in Negros Oriental where it will be a battle of old and new names.
Cebuanos are gearing for the showdown of two erstwhile allies—Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, who is seeking reelection, and Rep. Tomas Osmeña (south district).
Reports from Cristina Arzadon, Leoncio Balbin Jr., Melvin Gascon, Villamor Visaya Jr. and Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon; and Tonette Orejas, Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Armand Galang, Greg Refraccion and Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon; and Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Jhunnex Napallacan and Alex V. Pal, Inquirer Visayas
Juana Change, cultural activist Celdran lead anti-epal campaign
By Tina Arceo-Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
10:37 pm | Sunday, September 30th, 2012
MANILA, Philippines — Satire goes to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday.
Juana Change (theater and TV personality Mae Paner) is scheduled to file her certificate of candidacy (COC) at the Comelec in Manila as representative of the Epaliticians Party List (EPaL), a group of “epaliticians” who felt maligned and marginalized by an anti-epal movement.
Joining Juana Change in the filing of COCs are members of the fictitious Change family: her aunt, Tita Sen Change (senator); her sister, Yoko Change (mayor); her husband, Don Juan Change IV (representative); her son, Juan Change V (councilor); and her granddaughter, Juanita ‘Luce’ Change (SK chair). Accompanying the family is Change patriarch, Don Juan Change.
Going to the Comelec on the first day of the filing of COCs for the May 2013 local and national elections would only be the latest in the series of “creative responses” to the serious problem of credit-grabbing politicians, Paner said.
Paner and cultural activist Carlos Celdran recently led the anti-epal tour of Quezon City, which eventually led to Mayor Herbert Bautista’s removal of tiles all over the city bearing his initials HB.
The duo plans to take the tour to other cities of Metro Manila and eventually to the rest of the country.
“Epals are those politicians who take credit for anything that they do, which is their duty to fulfill in the first place,” said Paner, a regular fixture in the advertising world where she has worked as actor, producer and director.
Paner, also a sought-after stage actor, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview that the epals have been a scourge of the political landscape because they have been reinforcing the false notion that they should take credit for bringing various projects to their towns or districts.
According to Paner, the anti-epal movement that she and Celdran are involved with, hopes to make Filipinos aware that politicians should not get away with making it appear as if they bankrolled the construction of roads and bridges, and financed the distribution of relief goods, for example, when in fact these were funded by the people’s money.
Paner said that with elections just around the corner, epals have been plastering their faces on billboards and posters announcing everything from “happy fiesta” to “happy birthday.”
“What is all this but early campaigning,” Paner said.
Celdran told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that given the seriousness of the situation, it would take some creativity to get the people’s attention and combining the Juana Change and Damaso personas would do just that.
Celdran shocked the Archdiocese of Manila and the Catholic faithful when he held up a placard with the word “Damaso” in the middle of a Mass at Manila Cathedral on Sept. 30, 2010, to protest the Church stand against the reproductive health bill. Padre Damaso is a character in Jose Rizal’s novel “Noli Me Tangere” who was known to be cruel and abusive. For that stunt, Celdran was jailed for a day.
Celdran said, however, that he and Paner were mere catalysts and that it was the general public that got the anti-epal campaign going.
Ordinary citizens are sending in pictures and messages about epaliticians in their area putting their faces on everything from cans of sardines to bags of rice and even toothbrushes for distribution to school children, according to Celdran.
“Filipinos are now getting angry with the gall of these politicians to take credit for everything,” he said, adding that the anti-epal movement being pushed by several groups has caught on because it has been easy to relate to and evidence has been easy to collect.
“Filipinos have become smarter and more are coming to realize that epalism is an insult,” Celdran said.
He also credited Aquino with providing the democratic space for the anti-epal campaign to work because of his own policy against the “utak wangwang,” which attacked politicians’ sense of entitlement.
Paner said an epal-free Philippines was the goal of the movement. “And this is just the tip of the iceberg. By talking about epalism, we can talk about other problems underneath the surface, such as patronage politics,” she said.
In the meantime, Celdran said he and Paner would continue to use art as a weapon against the establishment.
Art has demonstrated its power to transform and the growing success of the anti-epal campaign shows that it still is—and probably always will be—a force to reckon with, according to Celdran.
Paner put a damper on the giddiness surrounding the Aquino administration when she, in her popular Juana Change persona, attacked in a short film aired via YouTube the President’s purchase of a “secondhand” Porsche just a few months after he became President on a platform of anti-corruption and good governance.
The Porsche short film was just the latest in the series of political satire pieces that she, as Juana Change, has been distributing for free through YouTube since 2008 as part of her political advocacy.
For Juan “Jack” Ponce Enrile Jr., next year’s campaign is a chance to finally purge an “atrocious reputation” as the prototypical bad boy of the ’80s when his father was lording it over as the late President Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law enforcer.
“I was a young, red-blooded male. You get into fights, but you never made the papers. But I did because it was blown out of proportion. It’s an unfortunate thing. I’m very sorry for those whose lives were lost but I never pulled or fired a shot in anger in my entire life. I can look at you with a straight face and say that,” Enrile said in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer at his Urdaneta Village home in January.
Enrile said he then had asked permission from his father, now Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, to leave for the United States.
“I did not think I was going to be given a fair shake here. He felt affected by that and that he knew in his heart that it was true and he could not do anything about it. I sought his blessing but he did not give it and I could see why. It hurt him to see his son was affected by something that he should have not been affected with,” said the younger Enrile.
The 54-year-old Enrile said the first time he realized people were out to get back at his father through him was in grade school at Ateneo de Manila University.
“I was kicked in my lower lip. I was beaten up in Grade 4 by Grade 7 students who were calling me ‘tuta ni Marcos.’ I got 17 stitches and I lied to my parents and told them I got kicked when I was playing football. But I had to fight back. I promised myself that would be the last time anybody laid a hand on me,” Enrile said.
“I left for personal reasons because during that time, Dad was not the flavor of the month. People were trying to hit him and the easiest way to hit him was through me. I developed an atrocious reputation in this country and people started to ride on that. The Alfie Anido suicide was attributed to me, the Liezl (daughter of Amalia Fuentes) and Pops Fernandez (supposed abduction and rape cases) were attributed to me,” he said.
“I never met them (Liezl and Pops) and I don’t think they knew what I looked like then,” said Enrile, who also disclosed that he got into more brawls in the United States than in his Ateneo years.
President Aquino was a year behind him in Ateneo while Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas was a year ahead.
Enrile admitted that his biggest failure was being an ill-equipped and incapable father to his two oldest daughters, who were left behind when he left the country.
He believed that he has more than made up for this shortcoming by being a full-fledged father to his two youngest daughters with his wife.
So, is he a changed man?
“People ask me that all the time. I was always like this, friendly with people, but I have a bad temper. I don’t call it a rebellious streak; I’m just an adventurous guy… I think I had this wanderlust,” he said.
He used to be called “Jackie” after the legendary race car driver but he said he dropped it when he sought a new life in another country.
“Only the Inquirer calls me Jackie now,” said Enrile, an English major, who has turned to the Bible for inspiration.
In explaining his latest quest to seek a higher post, Enrile quoted widely from the Books of Daniel and Micah in the Old Testament.
“The Book of Daniel speaks of sovereignty of God whatever happens in our life. God does not put us in a position of authority or power because we deserve it. The Book of Micah explains that when a person is placed in a position of authority, he is expected to act justly, have mercy and walk humbly with God. That is what is defining me,” he said.
“I have reaped the benefits of being an Enrile and I have borne the scars of being an Enrile. One day, if God and the people decide, I will present my case to them.”
SAN JOSE, Camarines Sur—The Election Registration Board (ERB) of this town approved on Friday the voters’ application of couple Aga Muhlach and Charlene Gonzales, removing an obstacle to the actor’s plan to run for a seat in the House of Representatives in the fourth district of Camarines Sur.
Muhlach and Gonzales filed their application in March but a petition questioning the couple’s registration here was filed soon after the actor announced his decision to run for a House seat representing the Partido area, or fourth district, of Camarines Sur.
Muhlach, who joined the ruling Liberal Party in August, will face Felix William “Wimpy” Fuentebella, son of last-term Deputy Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella.
The actor, a neophyte in politics, is facing a clan that has ruled the district for decades. The elder Fuentebella is one of the main proponents of a bill that will convert the Partido area into a province to be known as Nueva Camarines, which the bill’s critics said was simply a move to allow the deputy speaker to skirt his term limit and run for another position in the new province.
The elder Fuentebella had repeatedly denied Nueva Camarines was designed to benefit him or his clan, saying that creating another province out of Camarines Sur would help reduce poverty levels as the area to be governed would be reduced and easier to handle.
The show-business couple registered on March 19 in San Jose and listed a leased house on Rizal Street in Barangay San Juan as their place of residence since August last year.
On April 16, a group of political allies of Fuentebella, led by former San Jose Mayor Gil Pacamara and 14 others, questioned Muhlach’s residency at the municipal ERB. The group said the actor failed to meet the six-month residency requirement to register as a voter, which is a requirement for candidacy.
The case dragged on for six months after two previous ERB chairpersons failed to hear and deliberate on the case.
On Sept. 17, the Commission on Elections appointed Rosendo Vales as the third ERB chair of San Jose. On Friday, the case was finally settled after a 10-hour hearing at the municipal council building.
The group that tried to block the actor’s registration presented the sworn statements of 400 town residents who claimed the actor was neither a resident nor was even seen in San Jose. Vales, with two other ERB members representing the Department of Education and the local government, validated the names of the 400 residents. The board also went to check the couple’s leased house.
In its decision, the ERB said it found “substantial compliance” of the couple with the requirement of the law to reside within the place where one seeks to be registered as a voter for six months immediately preceding the election.
Muhlach told the Inquirer he was happy because “the truth was heard” and he would now have greater confidence to go around the fourth district of Camarines Sur and “pursue his dream to render public service.”
Santiago warns ‘common candidates’: Watch your back
By Norman Bordadora, Gil C. Cabacungan and Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
1:32 am | Saturday, September 29th, 2012
The phenomenon of the administration coalition and the nominally oppositionist United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) fielding common candidates is an indication of the public’s low estimation of today’s crop of politicians, according to Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
It could indicate that the public believes that “the present crop of candidates does not live up to the expectations of the electorate, such as academic and professional excellence,” Santiago said.
The senator said that nowadays multiterm senators are seen as “overstaying” while the younger senators are perceived to be “immature or incompetent.”
“This gap between political generations seems to be the product of social media, which is now filtering down to the masses. People are no longer content with the old, but are not impressed by the young,” Santiago said.
Surveys rule campaign
Common candidates could also be an indication that the surveys rule the campaign, Santiago said.
“If a senatoriable does not rank high in the surveys, he is likely to be dropped and replaced with someone who is among the top 12 candidates,” she said.
The senator warned the common candidates of the UNA and the Liberal Party-led administration coalition against expecting too much from their inclusion in the two tickets as they might end up with no support at all.
“In every election, the basic problem is how to convince every senator on the ticket to campaign for the whole ticket. Usually, a senatoriable ends up campaigning only for himself or his special friends,” said Santiago, who was a common candidate of not just two but three parties when she ran for reelection in 2010.
The usual reaction of other candidates is “envy and suspicion” if a senator on one ticket is adopted as a common candidate by the other ticket, she said.
Those who are expected to be named as common candidates of the LP coalition and the UNA are reelectionist Senators Francis Escudero and Loren Legarda, and Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chair Grace Poe-Llamanzares.
Legarda has reportedly accepted the invitation of President Aquino to join the administration senatorial slate for 2013.
Legarda, a candidate of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), thus completes the ticket of the Liberal Party (LP)-led coalition, said a Palace official who was present when Mr. Aquino met Legarda in the Palace on Thursday.
Legarda’s inclusion in the unified ticket of the LP, NPC, Nacionalista Party and Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) was confirmed by Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, a senatorial candidate of LDP.
“I heard Loren has confirmed (her inclusion in the LP slate),” said the lawmaker in a text message.
Legarda will share the same political stage with reelectionist Senators Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, Koko Pimentel, Representative Angara, former Representatives Cynthia Villar and Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, former Senators Jun Magsaysay and Jamby Madrigal, Grace Poe-Llamanzares, and Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino.
All 12 candidates will be presented to the public at noon on Monday at Club Filipino by the President no less, before filing their certificates of candidacy at the Commission on Elections.
Legarda stopped short of confirming this when contacted by phone late last night, hinting that the President would be making the announcement on Monday.
Legarda earlier this week announced that she had accepted the draft by the UNA to be a guest candidate.
Clashes in LP coalition
Instead of an orderly campaign for national and local offices, the months of negotiations among the LP, the NPC and the Nacionalista Party (NP) have led only to the very real possibility of clashes between members of the coalition.
Disarray, especially in battleground provinces, could result in the victory of opposition candidates, weakening the administration’s dominance in the House of Representatives and in the local governments.
The LP, NP and NPC had been negotiating since May to form what House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. called a “coalition of giants.”
The three-cornered coalition would have not only a common senatorial slate but would also enforce the “equity of the incumbent” rule, under which the priority of sitting officials would be respected by the partners.
But with only a day to go before politicians file their candidacy papers, there is no way for the three parties to get together and choose sure winners to field as common candidates.
NP Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla of Cavite said he does not expect things to be as “heated” as 2004.
Aside from Cavite, Remulla expects the NP to square off with the LP on the Zamboanga peninsula, Davao del Sur and Iloilo, all electoral battlegrounds that the administration needs to secure for political dominance.
NPC candidates are likely to clash with the LP in the battleground provinces of Pangasinan, Rizal and Negros Oriental.
Last week, NPC chair emeritus Eduardo Cojuangco announced that the party had downgraded its role in the coalition from ally to mere partner with the adoption of free zones where any party could challenge the incumbent.
MANILA, Philippines - Senatorial candidates of the Liberal Party-led coalition and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) yesterday vowed to wage a clean, honest and principled electoral campaign for next year’s polls.
Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay, part of the UNA senatorial slate, said the party “is ready to launch an honest and decent campaign come February and hope that other parties are ready to do so as well.”
“I am hoping that dirty tactics and the personality-based politics will stop so that the people can decide based on the merits and credentials of the candidates,” Magsaysay said.
“Our voters are smarter now, and we need to give them credit for making their choices based on performance rather than association,” she added.
Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, who is seeking a Senate seat under the administration coalition, said the LP will wage a “positive campaign.”
“It should be a race to the top, not a race to the bottom, meaning we should outdo each other based on our merits. We should not engage in mudslinging. Ours is issue-based. We should not run our campaign on gossip,” Angara said.
He said he expects fewer campaign rallies for the administration bets, saying the Aquino government is thrifty.
“We will have to maximize the utilization of new media,” Angara said.
Campaign rallies dilemma for Chiz, Loren?
Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar Binay has reminded Sen. Francis Escudero that he has to campaign “side by side” with the senatorial bets of UNA as one of its guest candidates.
Binay’s daughter and personal assistant, Nancy Binay-Angeles, said yesterday that Escudero took the initiative to have breakfast with her and the Vice President at their house in Makati.
“I think he knows the conditions. Daddy told him that if he has plans to be on stage with the senatorial candidates of LP, he has to be on UNA’s stage also. If he will not climb the stage in LP, we will not require him,” she told The STAR. Angeles, who is being considered as replacement for Joey de Venecia after he withdrew from the senatorial race, said Escudero did not give any answer.
“He has no answer yet. But I think he will be fair to UNA,” she said.
In a separate interview with The STAR, Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada said the guest candidates of UNA must share the same stage with UNA during the entire campaign period. Reelectionist Sen. Loren Legarda, also a guest candidate of UNA, was with UNA candidates when they filed their certificates of candidacy at the Commission on Elections in Intramuros, Manila Monday.
Escudero and Legarda joined the proclamation of the LP-led coalition at Club Filipino in San Juan but failed to attend the grand proclamation of the opposition at Manila Hotel later that day.
Legarda said she tried to meet with Binay last Monday afternoon at the Coconut Palace to explain her side. But she was unable to talk with the Vice President since he was busy attending to other guests.
“They know from the very start that my party has a partnership agreement with LP. I think they understand that President Aquino talked to me, and how can I say no to the President?” she said.
She said she also discussed the issue with former President Joseph Estrada, one of the UNA leaders.
She explained that there was no intention to snub the UNA proclamation.
Escudero, Legarda and Grace Poe-Llamanzares are common candidates of the LP-led coalition and UNA. However, the LP does not consider the three as common candidates but official candidates of the Aquino administration.
LP campaign manager Sen. Franklin Drilon has made it clear that they should not attend the political rallies of the rival coalition.
Binay has stated the same, leaving the three candidates in a dilemma during the campaign sorties of LP and UNA.
Legarda, meanwhile, said that campaign rallies are “so 1990s” and she would stay away from the rallies as much as possible.
“I will not go on stages in rallies. I have an ear problem. I can’t be in noisy rallies,” she said.
Llamanzares has decided to follow the wishes of the LP and campaign exclusively with the administration. UNA apparently has no problems with her decision, with Binay saying that her case is special, she being the daughter of the late actor Fernando Poe Jr.
For his part, Escudero said that he rarely shows up in campaign rallies anyway.
He recalled that in 2007, there were about 20 to 30 rallies lined up for him to attend and he showed up in only three.
Escudero admitted that the rallies, apart from being expensive, take a lot of time and hardly get the politician’s message across to the people.
“I believe there are new ways to campaign, which are less expensive and will make the voters understand (our advocacies) better,” he said. He cited social media as an example where he could convey his message directly to a large sector, particularly the youth.
Escudero said that the issues regarding common candidates should be resolved by the time the campaign starts in February. Responding to criticisms about his decision to agree to being a candidate of LP and UNA, Escudero said that he sees no problem since he has been an independent since 2009.
Legarda, on the other hand, is a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, which entered into a partnership with LP.
She described herself as a “unity candidate” as three more political parties will endorse her candidacy in the coming weeks.
Tañada welcome to join UNA
UNA secretary-general and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said yesterday that UNA will welcome Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada with open arms if he decides to join its senatorial ticket.
“We will gladly welcome him. He will be an asset to us,” Tiangco said.
He said he has not talked to his House colleague from Quezon and does not know if any UNA leader has tried to reach Tañada.
He said if Tañada decides to join their alliance, he would fill the senatorial slot vacated by De Venecia.
A congressional source has told The STAR that UNA has been trying to talk to Tannada, though without success.
“He’s been in the district, probably to evade UNA’s overtures,” the source said.
The Quezon congressman was conspicuously absent in Monday’s proclamation of the LP coalition’s senatorial candidates by President Aquino.
Of the 12 candidates, only three belong to the ruling party.
Tiangco also said that UNA is supporting the reform agenda of President Aquino with “responsible vigilance, not blind obedience.”
He said the real opponent in 2013 is not UNA but “poverty and hunger.”
“UNA should be seen as a partner of the Aquino administration. We are not obstructionist critics. We will support and commend programs and policies that will benefit our people. But we will also point out shortcomings and misguided policies. This we owe to the people,” Tiangco said. With Christina Mendez, Marvin Sy, Jose Rodel Clapano, Jess Diaz
(The Philippine Star) Updated October 03, 2012 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has appointed former Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca as commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), replacing Augusto Lagman who was not reappointed by Malacañang.
“I confirm that the appointment papers of Grace Padaca as Comelec commissioner have been transmitted to the Comelec,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said after checking the information from the office of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes welcomed yesterday the appointment of Padaca to the poll body.
“I was requesting the President for a woman to be the next commissioner and apparently, they listened to me. I can always say that we’ve known her already. There’s no problem with her integrity and she will be a big help to us. We welcome her,” Brillantes said.
The appointment papers of Padaca, a former journalist, were dated Sept. 28. Her real name is Ma. Gracia Cielo Padaca, and she served as governor of Isabela from 2004 to 2010.
Padaca will have a seven-year term until Feb. 2, 2018 and her tenure will outlive Aquino’s presidency that will end in June 2016.
The Comelec chairman said Padaca would be a big asset to the independent constitutional body tasked to oversee the May 2013 senatorial polls.
Brillantes yesterday claimed that Padaca could act as “referee” when there are disagreements in the male-dominated Comelec.
Brillantes noted Padaca’s appointment is ad interim “so she has to assume immediately before Congress resumes session.”
He, however, claimed that Padaca might face a legal problem because of a provision in the Constitution that could disqualify her from the Comelec post.
Brillantes was referring to Article IX C of the 1987 Constitution which states that “there shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners who... must not have been candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding elections.”
“But which is the immediate and preceding elections? They say it is the barangay polls, which is immediately preceding elections. But should the immediately preceding election be of the same nature, which is national and local, which is May 2010 instead of October 2010 (barangay)?” Brillantes asked.
Sen. Loren Legarda also welcomed Padaca’s appointment to the poll body.
“As far as I know, she is a woman of integrity. More than a woman, she deserves it because she has wide experience not only in media and in politics,” she said.
Dy unchallenged in Isabela
The appointment of Padaca to the Comelec would mean that incumbent Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy III would have no serious rival in his re-election bid.
Dy’s Vice Gov. Rodolfo Albano III said that Padaca’s appointment made Dy’s re-election bid “a walk in the park.” With Sheila Crisostomo, Aurea Calica, Christina Mendez, Charlie Lagasca
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Suspected car smuggler Lynard Allan Bigcas filed yesterday his certificate of candidacy (COC) for governor in Bukidnon under President Aquino’s Liberal Party (LP).
Bigcas, a native of Talakag, Bukidnon, filed his COC at the Commission on Elections (Office) provincial office in Malaybalay City after he was able to secure a certificate of nomination and acceptance from LP for him to run against incumbent Vice Gov. Jose Ma. Zubiri Jr. who is now running for governor.
Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona, an LP leader, denied that Bigcas is a member of the party.
“Let me set the record straight. A certain Lynard Allan Bigcas, who filed his candidacy to run as governor of Bukidnon, is not a member of the Liberal party. His reported declaration that he is an LP candidate in Bukidnon is totally false,” said Guingona.
Bigcas is facing smuggling cases at the Cagayan de Oro City Regional Trial Court after he was caught in May last year in possession of a motorcycle worth $80,000 owned by Hollywood screenwriter Skip Woods and which was stolen in Houston, Texas. Several other sport utility vehicles were found in Bigcas’ home in Talakag.
Aside from cases of car smuggling, Bigcas also figured in a shooting incident here in Davao City where he allegedly shot an official of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) earlier this year.
He reportedly promised voters to improve basic services, including education and health, for Bukidnon residents.