DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 March) – Of Mindanao’s 27 provinces and 33 cities, four candidates for governor, five for city mayor and seven for representative in Congress have won even before the campaign period started on March 26: only they filed certificates of candidacy for their respective posts.
Mindanao has 27 provinces, 33 cities, 59 congressional districts and 422 towns.
Based on the listing of candidates posted in the website of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), four vice governors and seven city vice mayors are also running without opponents.
Of the four governors and four vice governors running unopposed, three are tandems: Agusan del Sur, Camiguin and Davao Occidental. In these areas, the candidates for congressional representatives are from the same family as the candidates for governor.
The unopposed candidates for Governor are Agusan del Sur’s Adolph Edward Plaza (NUP), Camiguin’s Ma. Luisa dela Fuente-Romualdo (LP), Davao Occidental’s Claude Bautista (NPC) and Dinagat Islands’ Glenda Ecleo (UNA) – all members of well-entrenched political dynasties in their areas.
Running unopposed for city mayor are Kidapawan’s Joseph Evangelista (LP), Lamitan’s Rosita Furigay (LP). Malaybalay’s Ignacio Zubiri (BPP), Ozamiz’ Reynaldo Parojinog (NUP) and Tangub’s Philip Tan (LP).
Also unopposed in their respective congressional districts are Agusan del Sur’s Valentina Plaza-Cornelio (NUP 1st district) and Evelyn Plaza-Mellana (2nd); Bukidnon 3rd district’s Flores, Florencio, Jr. (NP), Davao del Norte’s Antonio Floirendo, Jr. (KB), Davao Occidental’s Lorna Bautista-Bandigan (LP), Misamis Occidental’s Oaminal, Henry (NP, 2nd dist) and Davao City’s Nograles, Karlo Alexei (1st).
Four vice governors are also sure winners: Agusan del Sur’s Samuel Tortor (NUP), Camiguin’s James Ederango (LP), Davao Occidental’s Franklin Bautista (LP) and Surigao del Sur’s Manuel Alameda, Sr. (LP).
The seven unopposed candidates for city vice mayors are: Bayugan’s Charles Anggayong (NUP), Davao City’s Paolo Duterte (Hugpong), Lamitan’s Roderick Furigay (LP), Malaybalay’s Roland Deticio (BPP), Ozamiz’ Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez (NUP), Tandag’s Ruel Momo (LP), and Tangub’s Edemar Alota (LP),
The Plazas have been a fixture in Agusan politics since the 1950s with the late patriarch Democrito O. Plaza, a logging magnate, serving as governor of the undivided Agusan province in 1964 until its division into Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte in 1967.
The patriarch represented the lone congressional district of Agusan del Sur in Congress from 1969 to 1972, in the martial law-era Batasang Pambansa from 1984 to 1986 and the post-Marcos Congress from 1987 to 1992. He was serving his second term as governor in 1995 when he passed away. He was 74.
His wife Valentina was governor from 1998 to 2001 followed by her son Adolph Edward from 2001 to 2007, succeeded by daughter Ma. Valentina Plaza-Cornelio from 2007 to 2010 and Adolph Edward again since 2010.
The Plaza siblings have been serving as Governor and Representatives of the two districts for two terms since 2010 and as they are all running unopposed, they will continue to serve in the same posts until 2019 when they shall all “graduate” from the three-term limits and will likely see another swapping of posts by 2019.
An estranged brother, Rodolfo, served as Representative from 2001 to 2010 and ran for the Senate in 2010. He ran against his sister in the second congressional district in 2013.
In Davao Occidental, as expected, winners in the election of its first set of officials this May, are the Bautista family. Incumbent Davao del Sur Governor Claude Bautista is running for governor of Davao Occidental, the new province carved out of del Sur, with brother Franklin as running mate and sister Lorna as representative of the lone district. The other Bautistas continue to dominate the political landscape in their hometown, Malita.
The second congressional district of Davao del Sur, which now constitutes Davao Occidental, has been held by the Bautista family, uninterrupted since the post-EDSA elections of 1987.
The same is true for Camiguin. The lone congressional district has been represented by the Romualdo family since 1987 and the Governorship since 1998.
Like the Plazas, the Romualdos also have an estranged brother, Noordin Efigenio or “Gogo,” former mayor of Mambajao town who is running for mayor against Jurdin Jesus or “JJ,” who is completing his third term as Governor by June 30. JJ will be trading posts with his wife, Ma. Luisa, the incumbent mayor who is running for Governor.
Gogo also ran against his brother JJ in 2007, for the post of Govenor.
In Dinagat Islands province, Glenda Ecleo is seeking a third term as Governor. Before Dinagat was carved out of Surigao del Norte in 2006, the Ecleo matriarch had served as Representative of the first district of Surigao del Norte from 1987 to 1995; and 2001 to 2007.
Her daughter Geraldine, the first elected governor from 2007 to 2010, is running for the lone congressional district against incumbent Rep. Arlene Bag-ao. Geraldine and Bag-ao were allies in 2013 when Geraldine ran for Governor against her mother Glenda, and Bag-ao ran for Congress.
Although some candidates have rivals based on the certificates of candidacy filed for the same post, they are still certain of victory as the opponents are not known to the public and pose no threat to their candidacies.
Davao City’s Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, is one example.
Duterte filed his COC for mayor in mid-October but opted to run for the Presidency on November 27. He was substituted in the mayoralty race by Sara, who was vice mayor from 2007 to 2010 and mayor from 2010 to 2013.
It will be another Duterte-Duterte team for mayor and vice mayor, as it has been since 2007 when Sara was vice mayor to Rodrigo. Rodrigo was vice to Sara from 2010 to 2013 and son Paolo was vice mayor to Rodrigo from 2013 to 2016.
At the municipal level, several candidates are also running unopposed (see other story)
(Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)