2010 Elections: The Visayas in full swing (Part 2 of 3)

Posted at 04/29/10 12:19 AM

Part 2 of 3

MANILA,Philippines - It’s been 12 years since a Visayan ran for president. Iloilo’s Miriam Santiago and Cebu’s Lito Osmena went for the presidency in 1998 in a race won by Joseph Estrada. No (pure) Visayan ran for president in the 2004 and 2010 elections.

This election, Visayas has two and a half vice presidential candidates, Mar Roxas (Capiz) and Edu Manzano (Iloilo) and Loren Legarda (half Antique).

Vote-rich provinces in the Visayas’ western and eastern seaboard are split between several presidential candidates. Even Central Visayas (once perceived to be pro-administration) was likely to support Gibo until intense maneuvering and the drought in Lakas’ support split this once-solid political bloc. A significant part of Central Visayas’ command votes are now more of a “lost command”--- gravitating towards more generous parties.

Western Visayas could have solidly voted for Mar Roxas if he ran for president. But after he slid down to VP, the once-unyielding Ilonggo yes for “Mar” is now split (unequally) between Villar (who claims to have Ilonggo roots), Aquino (who is after all Mar’s runningmate) and Teodoro (who seeks out party support from Lakas’ Visayan minions).

Eastern Visayas, particularly Samar, historically supported Joseph Estrada although Aquino, Villar and Teodoro are also strong in the area.

The Visayan vote is up for grabs. Voters are geared to go “full swing”--- with regionalism and the need to “root for their own”--- now out of the way.

Not so One Cebu

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia (Lakas CMD/One Cebu) is fighting Hilario Davide III (LP) for Governor of Cebu. Davide is the son of former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr.

Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama is up against Kusug Nacionalista and come-backing Cebu Mayor Alvin Garcia. Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes is challenged by Congresswoman Nerissa Ruiz who moved to NP.

Northern Cebu’s Bogo City remains an area of concern due to the alleged presence of private armies and a history of election violence.

President Arroyo chose Cebu as the seat of “Malacañang of the south” in gratitude for her landslide win there in 2004. But the province is seeing a fall out with several mayors already swinging to NP’s prolific pastures.

A pitch for Bohol’s progress

The break up of former allies Vice Governor Julius Caesar Herrera and Congressman Edgar Chatto is taking a bitter shape in the gubernatorial race where Herrera is the Nacionalista Party’s man for the position, while Lakas is rooting for its man, Chatto.

Herrera and Chatto have wished for good things for Bohol. Herrera is known to have made a pitch for agriculture to alleviate poverty while Chatto had instead promoted tourism to boost Bohol’s economy.

Actor and Singing Bee host Cesar Montano is also eyeing for the gubernatorial seat. The race between Chatto, Herrera and Montano is not an even split.

Negros Unmasked

Congressman Monico Puentevella, staunch PGMA supporter is running for Bacolod Mayor against incumbent and re-electionist Evelio “Bing” Leonardia. The rivalry between Leonardia and Puentevella hogged local headlines, particularly the alleged anomalous government center of the Leonardia administration, while Puentevella is hounded by the P50-million Bacolod SEAGAMES Organizing Committee fund mess.

Former NDCC and presidential spokesperson Anthony Golez leaves the national scene for a congressional seat in Bacolod City. His candidacy is opposed by former Congressman John Orola who plans to reclaim the lone district. The gubernatorial race sees Sugar Regulatory Administrator Rafaelito Coscolluela fighting Sagay City Mayor Alfredo Maranon Jr.

In Sipalay City, Vice Mayor Oscar Montilla is contested by Magdalo soldier Gary Alejano while independent candidate Rodolfo Magalona is challenging presidential brother-in-law Iggy Arroyo in the 5th district congressional race.

Governor Emilio Macias II and Vice Governor Jose Baldado are vying for the gubernatorial seat in Negros Oriental where former congressman Jacinto Paras challenges incumbent Congresswomen Jocelyn Limkaichong in the 1st district.

Iloilo’s explosive polls

Iloilo City is now on Comelec’s watchlist after decades of election peace. The recent violence due to heated political rivalry has become disturbing for Ilonggos. Sparks fly (and grenades explode) as Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Trenas (NP) and Raul Gonzales Jr. (Lakas) face off for the lone district congressional seat. Gonzales is the son of former Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales who shrugs off retirement as he takes on the Mayoralty seat in Iloilo, against Vice Mayor Jed Mabilog.

Iloilo’s 2nd district congressional race picks up between Ramoncito Arenas (son of socialite Baby Arenas) and Augusto “Boboy” Syjuco of TESDA.

The Iloilo gubernatorial race is top billed by majority floor leader Arthur Defensor and Raul “Boboy” Tupas, son of incumbent governor Niel Tupas who’s praying for the 4th district congressional seat versus generics king and congressman, Dr Ferj Biron.

Rolex Suplico runs for Iloilo's 5th district congressman against Niel “Junjun” Tupas, another one of six Tupases running for various public offices in Iloilo.

Miriam Santiago and Big Man Frank Drilon may also cast their self-votes in their respective Iloilo City precincts, as they pursue senate seats anew.

Panay and its many faces

The Capiz races took an interesting turn when fertilizer fund scam star Jocelyn “Jocjoc” Bolante challenged incumbent governor Vic Tanco who wants to be re-elected. In the 2nd district retired police general Roberto Lastimoso is wooing voters as he runs for congressman against Jing Castro.

In Antique, former congressman and incumbent governor Exequiel Javier (brother of slain Cory supporter Evelio Javier) seeks re-election while Marcos strongman Arturo Pacificador and former Antique Governor Sally Perez and Javier’s son Paulo vie for the Antique congressional seat.

Guimaras and Aklan Provinces will see much of a rerun of the performances of their previous and current rulers, if they win again.

Leyte bouts, a bit lackluster even with stars

Governor Jericho “Icot” Petilla runs for re-election unopposed. Former Leyte Congresswoman Remedios “Matin” Petilla is running for Mayor of Palo, Leyte. Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez is seeking re-election, a bid contested by TV anchor Bob Abellanosa.

Actor-model-host Richard Gomez and 80’s sex siren Cristina Gonzales are also conquering Leyte politics via consanguinity. Gomez (whose wife Lucy Torres is from Ormoc) is seeking the 4th district congressional seat, while Gonzales wants to give her Tacloban City councilor stint another try. Gonzales is the wife of Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez.

Samar-y executions

The string of killings in the provinces of Samar and Northern Samar has made the island an area of concern for Comelec. The killings began a year before the elections, starting with the assassination of Matuginao Mayor Carlos Dela Cruz in July 2009; Fr. Cecilio Lucero in September 2009; Manuel Daza, October 2009 who are all related to local and warring politicians.

In Eastern Samar, the word war on local radio between staunch PGMA ally Governor Ben Evardone and Congressman Teodolo Coquilla escalates, as judgment day nears for the Eastern Samar congressional seat.

Eastern Samarenos hope that their word war stays within the air waves for them to get through the 2010 local polls with no blood, shed.

(Read Part 1 - 2010 Elections: The Battles of Luzon)