GenSan mayor’s elder bro files candidacy for vice mayor

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 12 Oct) – An elder brother of incumbent City Mayor Ronnel Rivera filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for vice mayor here on Friday.

Businessman Ryan Chua Rivera, 51, formally filed his candidacy around 11:30 a.m. at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) here under the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL).

Ryan initially planned to file his COC on Thursday but decided to defer it reportedly due to pending talks with the mayor’s local political party, People’s Champ Movement (PCM).

Mayor Rivera had declared to seek re-lection for his third straight term and is scheduled to file his COC along with the PCM slate either on Monday or Tuesday.

“I’m hoping to be included in the PCM slate but that will still be finalized this weekend,” Ryan told reporters after filing his COC.

He said he is hoping that the mayor will support his candidacy and eventually pick him as running mate.

Ronnel, 47, and Ryan are sons of fishing magnate Rodrigo Rivera Sr., founder of homegrown RD Group of Companies.

Ryan ran for representative of the first congressional district seat of South Cotabato under the KBL in the May 2016 local and national elections but lost to incumbent Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. of the Nationalist People’s Coalition.

His candidacy was then backed by the PCM, especially the party’s founder, Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao.

He first ran for mayor in 2004, also under the KBL, but lost to Acharon, who was then the incumbent mayor.

City Councilor Franklin Gacal Jr., who will seek re-election under the PCM, said there is no certainty yet if Ryan would be included in their slate.

But he admitted that the party has not yet decided as to who will be Mayor Rivera’s running mate.

Incumbent Vice Mayor Shirlyn Banas-Nograles is currently on her third term and will be seeking the first district congressional seat of South Cotabato under the PCM.

Gacal said party members will meet on Saturday with Pacquiao and other leaders to finalize their lineup.

“There are still ongoing negotiations but everything will be set this weekend,” he said in a radio interview.

He said the senator had earlier picked his sister-in-law, Lorelei Pacquiao, who is currently an ex-officio member of the city council representing the Liga ng mga Barangay, to run as vice mayor.

Some party members are also pushing for City Councilor Rosalita Nunez, who was a former city mayor, to be their vice mayoral candidate, he added.

Aside from Ryan Rivera, who was the first-ever aspirant to file his COC, independent candidate Armando Borja filed his candidacy for mayor on Friday afternoon.

Borja lost in his bid for chair of Barangay Dadiangas West here in the last barangay elections. (MindaNews)