Plaza widows reunite to regain political power in 2013 polls

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/12 Sept) – Here’s a new twist in this city’s political scene: two formerly estranged widows of the Plaza political clan are ironing out a united force to challenge incumbent Mayor Ferdinand Amante in the 2013 elections.

Former Mayor Leonides Theresa “Daisy” Plaza, widow of the late Mayor Democrito Plaza II, told reporters recently: “Ching and I are now reuniting forces to come up with stronger political slate in this coming elections.”

She was referring to former Rep. Charito “Ching” Plaza (1st Dist., Agusan del Norte), her aunt-in-law.

Daisy said they are now in the process of consulting their key leaders and supporters on a possible tandem of the two widows of the Plaza clan.

“It’s exciting, right? Besides, we have more experience in terms of local governance and legislation compared to others,” she noted.

But Daisy said she would probably opt to slide down for the vice mayoralty post while Ching would either run for mayor or representative.

The two, whose relations turned sour for years because of political falling out, met recently at the Plazas’ ancestral home in Barangay Patin-ay in Prosperidad, the capital town of Agusan del Sur, for the 50th birthday of Agusan del Sur Gov. Adolph Edward G. Plaza.

The former three-term congresswoman of Agusan del Norte’s First District (Butuan City and Las Nieves municipality) is the widow of the late Butuan Mayor Figurado Plaza, uncle of Daisy’s husband. Ching’s husband was the younger brother of the late Agusan del Sur Gov. Democrito Plaza Sr., the father of Daisy’s husband.

Ching’s husband, fondly called Lado, served Butuan as mayor from 1971 to 1986.

The political relationship between Daisy and Ching became sour when the latter opted to support the political rivals of Daisy’s husband in several elections. In the 2007 polls, Ching ran but lost to Rep. Jose “Joboy” Aquino III, a close political ally of former Mayor Democrito Plaza II, for congressional seat.

But in 2010 polls, Ching reportedly supported the candidacy of Daisy and Joboy for mayoralty and congressional seats, respectively.

Daisy, who also served as Butuan mayor from 2004 to 2006, lost the mayoral race. Her husband, popularly known as “Boy Daku,” died months later.

Boy Daku, who became the city mayor for almost 15 years, left his legacy of various infrastructure landmarks such as the new Butuan City Hall, Macapagal Bridge, improvement of the Old Butuan Bridge and concreting and pavement of Butuan roads.

The influential Plaza political clan lost their grip of the city when Ampayon Barangay Chairman Dr. Ferdinand Amante Jr., nephew of former Agusan del Norte Rep. Edelmiro Amante, won the mayoralty post in the 2010 elections.

The elder Amante, who was executive secretary during the time of President Fidel V. Ramos, is the father of Agusan del Norte Gov. Erlpe John Amante and Rep. Ma. Angelica Rosedel Amante-Matba (2nd Dist., Agusan del Norte).

“Definitely, the Plaza political group that helped in building Butuan City and the Agusan provinces without hypocrisy will come up with a strong lineup that will give them (Amante group) a run for their money,” Ching Plaza was quoted in a newspaper report. (Alden Pantaleon Jr. / MindaNews)