4 Pacquiao kin seeking barangay posts

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/18 October)– Two more brothers of boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao are seeking various posts in the October 28 barangay elections, bringing to four the number of family members aspiring to hold public office in the village level here.

Records from the city’s Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed that Pacquiao’s elder half-brother Domingo Belbestre has filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for chair of Barangay Calumpang. The lawmaker’s younger brother Alberto is seeking a seat at the council of their home turf Barangay Labangal.

Belbestre, who listed his occupation as a businessman, is one of Pacquiao’s two half-siblings by his mother Dionisia’s first husband Alfonso.

He is challenging incumbent Reynaldo Salubre for the top post of Barangay Calumpang, which is considered as the city’s biggest barangay in terms of population.

Alberto, who is known by his nickname Bobby, joined the slate of his wife Lorelei Pacquiao, who is seeking reelection as chair of Barangay Labangal.

Another younger brother of the congressman, Rogelio, decided to seek a third and final term as chair of Barangay Apopong, after initially declaring to forego reelection due to his pending election protest against South Cotabato (1st District) Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr.

He filed his COC along with a complete slate nearly three hours before the 5 p.m. deadline set by the Comelec on Thursday.

Acharon defeated Rogelio by 7,700 votes in his reelection bid in the last May 13 local and national midterm elections but the latter immediately filed an election protest, claiming many of his supporters were disenfranchised.

Rogelio, who is now withdrawing his election protest against Acharon, said he decided to seek another term so he can continue with the implementation of his unfinished projects in Barangay Apopong.

“It’s my constituents who actually convinced me to seek reelection,” said Rogelio, who is facing top critic and former rival Jose Paulate.

He defended the entry of his other brothers in the political arena, saying “they just want to also help other people through public office.”

Rep. Pacquiao formed his own local political party People’s Champ Movement (PCM) in 2010 to anchor his successful bid then for Sarangani’s lone seat at the House of Representatives.

He ran unopposed last May while his wife Jinkee won by landslide as vice governor of Sarangani.

PCM backed the candidacy for city mayor of former top Councilor Ronnel Rivera, who eventually defeated then incumbent Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio.

Custodio defeated Pacquiao in the latter’s initial election bid in 2007 for the first congressional district seat of South Cotabato. (MindaNews)