Businessman joins race for Malaybalay mayor

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/7 Oct) – It’s a three-cornered fight for this city’s mayoralty race with the expected face-off of incumbent Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri and Vice Mayor Victor Aldeguer and the surprise entry of businessman Estelito Marabe, who was earlier reported to run for vice governor.

Zubiri, who belongs to the Bukidnon Paglaum Party (BPP) and its coalition with national parties, filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) Wednesday with running mate city councilor Roland Deticio and a full slate for the 10-seat city council, composed mostly of incumbents.

Zubiri, nephew of Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr., was a city councilor first before he became vice mayor at the time when Florencio T. Flores Jr. was mayor.

Aldeguer, who was Zubiri’s running mate in 2010, left the administration ticket to join Liberal Party. But his nomination came from Aksyon Demokratikong Pilipino. Sources said the provincial LP chapter was disengaged when Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, LP vice president for Mindanao, and 2010 LP senatorial bet Neric Acosta coalesced with the elder Zubiri’s BPP.

He was previously a provincial board member, city councilor before becoming vice mayor of Zubiri in 2010.

The vice mayor took in Dr. Glorio Sajulga, LP standard bearer in the city in 2010, as running mate. Sajulga lost to Mayor Zubiri in the last elections.

Marabe, who filed his COC as an independent bet, has no running mate. He was able to gather a group of six independent candidates for city councilor to form what he called “Partido Kalamboan.”

He told MindaNews he ran to offer the people an alternative platform. He first ran for mayor and lost in 1992.

“As a tax payer of the city, I have interest in the promotion of investments and development to Malaybalay, which so far was slow,” he added.

Marabe’s Asian Hills Bank, a rural bank with head office in Malaybalay City, has 30 branches in Visayas and Mindanao. A sister company, Hills Small Loans, has 17 branches in the same area.

Lawyer Chubasco Cenen Caiña said despite the three cornered fight, he expects the polls in May 2013 to be peaceful. “The city has a record of orderly elections,” he added. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)