GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 15 Oct) – Stalwarts of the administration-backed Achievers with Integrity Movement-Liberal Party (AIM-LP) here formally launched their bid on Thursday to regain dominance of the local political scene and control of the city hall in the 2016 elections.
The party’s complete slate led by its standard bearer, incumbent City Councilor Richard Atendido, filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) shortly before 9 a.m. at the local Commission on Elections (Comelec) office amid cheers from orange-shirted supporters.
“We’re here to offer the people a chance to experience real change and development in the city,” Atendido said after filing his COC.
His running mate, lawyer Loreto Acharon, also filed his COC, along with their 12 city council bets, which included three incumbents.
Loreto is a younger brother of incumbent South Cotabato second district Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr., who is seeking re-election for a third term.
Atendido and Acharon will be facing incumbents Mayor Ronnel Rivera and Vice Mayor Shirlyn Banas-Nograles of the People’s Champ Movement who already filed their COCs last Monday.
The AIM-LP city council slate is led by incumbents Elizabeth Bagonoc, Marius Orlando Oco and Eduardo Leyson IV, and former councilors Jose Orlando Acharon, Lourdes Casabuena, Jose Mariano Gonzalez, Nephtale Natividad and Minardo Avila.
Completing the line-up are Rock Garay, Jacinto Omila, Nikoy Llido and Joey Dinopol.
Noticeably absent in the line-up is the Antonino family, which is not fielding any member in next year’s polls for the first time in nearly three decades.
But former mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, who lost her re-election bid in the 2013 elections, made an appearance at the Comelec office to show her support to AIM-LP candidates.
AIM is a local political party founded by Darlene’s father, former city mayor Adelbert Antonino, and mother Lualhati, a former South Cotabato representative and currently chair of the Mindanao Development Authority.
The Antoninos had fielded family members in local elections since 1987 under the AIM, which controlled the city hall for almost 20 years.
After filing their COCs, the city’s AIM-LP bets then proceeded to the Comelec provincial office in Koronadal City in South Cotabato to accompany Rep. Acharon in filing his candidacy.
Acharon filed his COC at past 11 a.m. along with the LP-Nationalist People’s Coalition’s (NPC) provincial slate led by incumbents Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes and second district Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez, who are both seeking a re-election for a second term.
Fuentes’ party fielded board member Vicente de Jesus for vice governor, replacing incumbent Vice Gov. Cecile Diel, who backed out earlier this week reportedly due to health reasons.
Diel will instead vie for a provincial board seat along with incumbents Romeo Tamayo, Glezel Trabado, Ester Catorce, Agustin Dema-ala Jr., Ellen Grace Albios and Romulo Solivio.
Completing the slate are Emon Gabriel Mati, Dardanilo Dar and former South Cotabato Gov. Hilario de Pedro III.