GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/04 February) — A son of the late South Cotabato Gov. Hilario de Pedro III has been fielded as his substitute for the provincial board member race in the May 9 local and national elections.
Accompanied by his siblings and several supporters, Hilario “Larry Boy” de Pedro VI formally filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) at around 4:50 p.m. on Wednesday at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial office in Koronadal City.
He filled in for the elder De Pedro, who passed away on Jan. 29, in the provincial board slate of the Liberal Party-Nationalist People’s Coalition (LP-NPC) in the province’s second district.
The former governor died from cardiac arrest at his home in Barangay Palkan in Polomolok, South Cotabato. He was 66.
The younger De Pedro’s substitution was endorsed by incumbent South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes, who is seeking re-election under the LP-NPC ticket.
“We consulted the family about (the substitution) and they recommended (Hilario VI),” Fuentes said.
The governor said the younger De Pedro is very much qualified to substitute for his father as public service mainly runs within their family and being a Bachelor of Laws graduate.
He said Hilario VI, who previously worked in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, is a registered voter of the province and had voted in the previously elections.
Fuentes said they don’t see any legal impediment as to the substitution and they made sure of that with the Comelec before they issued the nomination to Hilario VI.
“We deemed it proper to endorse a substitute coming from the family for proper crediting (of the late governor’s votes),” she said.
Aurora Andrea de Pedro, family spokesperson and Hilario VI’s elder sister, said they are grateful to the LP-NPC leadership for acceding to their wish regarding the substitution.
She said the substitution of her brother is a decision of the entire De Pedro family and key supporters of the late governor.
“He (Hilario VI) had been actually groomed by our father to become a public servant so we’re honoring his wish,” she said.
Meantime, Fuentes said the provincial government will give full honors to the late governor, whose wake will be transferred on Friday from their ancestral home in Antipolo Street in Koronadal City to the South Cotabato Gymnasium and Cultural Center.
“We will give him the due honor and respect until the final moment that he will be laid to rest,” the governor said.
The local government has scheduled necrological services on Friday and Saturday for De Pedro. Internment is set on Sunday at the Catholic cemetery in Koronadal City.
A lawyer, De Pedro’s political career began in 1986 when he was appointed as acting municipal mayor of Koronadal by President Corazon Aquino.
He served as representative of South Cotabato’s second congressional district from 1988 to 1992 and provincial governor from 1992 to 2001.
De Pedro was a principal co-author of Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 and author of RA 7079 of the Campus Journalism Act of 1991. (MindaNews)