Sarangani’s Dominguez assured of reelection

As of noon of May 15, Dominguez got 7,297 votes while second-time challenger Francis Martinez only managed to get 371 votes.

Dominguez’ running mate, Steve Chiongbian Solon, a grandson of former governor Priscilla Chiongbian, is leading the vice gubernatorial race with 3,777 votes while first cousin and incumbent Vice Gov. Bridgett Chiongbian-Huang, daughter of reelectionist Rep. Erwin Chiongbian, got only 1,916 votes.

In the congressional race, incumbent Rep. Chiongbian is leading over former governor Miguel Escobar of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino, with 4,196 votes against Escobar’s 1,218.

The administration party's 10 candidates for the provincial board are also leading in the initial count.

A scion of a prominent political clan from Kiamba town, Martinez filed his candidacy as an independent but was later adopted and endorsed by the Genuine Opposition (GO) along with Huang.

Huang filed her reelection bid as running mate of Dominguez but was later booted from the slate by party mates in Lakas-Kampi and local political group Sarangani Reconciliation and Reformation Organization (SARRO) following a failed attempt to join the gubernatorial race.

A statement released last month by SARRO said Huang tried to withdraw her candidacy for vice governor so she could run for governor and challenge Dominguez. However, her plans did not materialize due to the intervention of several party members.

As a consequence, Lakas-Kampi and SARRO leaders decided to boot out Huang from the party and instead fielded her cousin as running mate of Dominguez. The move was endorsed by Huang's father Rep. Chiongbian and grandmother Priscilla.

Meantime, Father Angel Buenavides, spokesperson of the Diocese of  Marbel, said they monitored cases of massive vote buying in the province.

"We have monitored vote buying activities even before the start of the campaign period," he told reporters    

Buenavides said barangay captains in the province were dangled P2 million worth of development projects by a political party in exchange for voting straight in their favor

The priest, however, did not name the involved political party.

The Diocese of Marbel covers the provinces of Sarangani and South  Cotabato and the cities of General Santos and Koronadal. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)