SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 November) – A long-time political ally of the Matugas clan has moved to the rival Barbers camp and will be its substitute candidate for 1st district representative against reelectionist Francisco Jose “Bingo” Matugas, son of reelectionist Governor Fancisco “Lalo” Matugas.
Atty. Mary Ann Lucille Sering, daughter of the long-time Governor of Surigao del Norte Jose Sering (1960 to 1985), is substituting for the Nacionalista Party’s candidate, Rito Macalolot Cubillan who withdrew from the race on Friday, paving the way for Sering to file her certificate of candidacy for the post on the same day.
Sering, who hails from Siargao Island like the Matugas patriarch, served as Secretary of the Climate Change Commission from 2009 to 2015. She is the cousin of former Surigao del Norte governor Sol F. Matugas who is married to reelectionist Governor Matugas.
Asked what made her decide to run for district representative, Sering said she wants to give the people hope and real option to effect change.
“They (Matugas) have been in power for way too long they are already insensitive to the plight of the people. They (Matugas) still think they are giving real public service,” Sering told MindaNews.
MindaNews sought Governor Matugas for comment but he has not replied.
Sering’s filing of her COC was witnessed by reelectionist 2nd district Rep. Robert Ace Barbers and former Surigao del Norte Governor Robert Lyndon Barbers, both of whom raised her hands after the filing. Robert Lyndon is running for Governor.
“The economic situation of Siargao Island, skyrocketing prices of gas and basic commodities in Siargao are among the many reasons why I decided to run,” she said.
“Siargao is my home, we need to help the plight of the people and take care the island,” Sering, who served as the undersecretary of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources from 2007-2009.
In the 2016 elections, Sering was with Matugas. She ran for representative of the second district but lost to Robert Ace Barbers.
“The addition of Sering to the Abante Surigao, a local party headed by Robert Ace Barbers makes our group even more formidable against the Matugas dynasty,” said former Governor Robert Lyndon Barbers.
“Tulin ang jagan koman kay ang katig sa distrito 2—magkuno koman an ato katig sa distrito uno arang ka solid, so tulin an jagan sa ato barko koman” (Our leader in district 2 is an ironwood and in the first district, very solid, so we are smooth-sailing now), he said.
Sering vows to help lower the prices of gas once she gets elected and put an end to one family whom she claimed to have “dominated, controlled and monopolized the businesses and politics on the island.”
“We will have a long-term comprehensive economic plan to make the island sustainable for years to come,” she stressed,
“As a relative and a long-time ally, I should be the first to go against (them) with their wrongdoings,” she said.
Reelectionist Rep. Barbers said he felt ashamed when President Rodrigo Duterte opened his speech during his Siargao visit on November 6 on dynasties. This was triggered when he started acknowledging those who were present at the launching of the Siargao Island Sports and Tourism Center. “Puro na lang Matugas” (they’re all Matugas), he said.
Akoy naulaw sa pag insulto sa presidente sa ato mga lokal lideres kay gidomina ang politika ug mga Negosyo” (I was so ashamed when the President insulted our local leaders for dominating politics and business), he said.
Mayors in eight out of Surigao del Norte’s 20 have abandoned the local ruling party of Partido Padajon Surigao of Matugas and joined the Abante Surigao of Barbers. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)