GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 17 Oct) – Top names from the main opposition camp here are taking a break in the 2019 elections.
Stalwarts of the Achievers with Integrity Movement (AIM), a local political party founded by former city mayor and South Cotabato Rep. Adelbert Antonino, filed their certificates of candidacy Wednesday morning without their key leaders.
Incumbent South Cotabato first district Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr., the party’s current chair, joined the slate in filing their candidacies past 8 a.m. at the Commission on Elections here but did not file for any elective post.
The party, which dominated the local political arena until the 2013 polls, fielded businessman Jacinto “Jay” Omila to challenge incumbent City Mayor Ronnel Rivera of the People’s Champ Movement.
Rep. Acharon’s younger brother, Loreto, will vie for the city’s vice mayoralty post for the second time.
AIM’s city council slate is led by its lone incumbent stalwart, Councilor Jose Orlando Acharon, and former councilors Vivencio Dinopol, Jose Mari Gonzales, Richard Atendido, Virginia Llido and Minardo Avila Jr.
The other aspirants are Rico Cabanit, Rene Odi, Remus de Claro, Alvin Veneracion and Bebe-I Gonzales.
The party fielded former city councilor, Lawyer Arturo Cloma, for the representative of the first district of South Cotabato.
Rep. Acharon, who is on his third term at the House of Representatives, was previously rumored to be eyeing a return to the city hall.
He had served as city councilor for two terms, one as vice mayor and three as city mayor since 1992.
“I regret to say that I will not be seeking any elective post this time for personal reasons,” Acharon told reporters.
He said he has to take care of family members, among them his wife Rose, who have “health issues.”
Acharon said he has been in public service for 26 years and decided that it’s time for him to “choose my family.”
He said former South Cotabato Rep. Luwalhati Antonino, wife of Adelbert, has decided to remain retired from local politics while her daughter, former city mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, was not running for the second time to attend to her family.
Custodio, who had served as South Cotabato representative for three terms before becoming mayor in 2010, lost to incumbent City Mayor Rivera in 2013 and did not run in 2016. (MindaNews)