Incumbent Antique governor defeated after 3 decades in power
ANTIQUE, Philippines – After 3 decades in power, Antique Governor Exequiel Javier of the Liberal Party (LP) has been defeated by his long-time rival.
In a one-on-one race for the gubernatorial seat, incumbent Vice Governor Rhodora “Dodod” Cadiao defeated Javier with a wide margin of 32,007 votes.
Javier’s 102,686 votes were not enough to get him reelected compared to Cadiao’s 134,693.
Cadiao, who belongs to the National Unity Party (NUP), was officially proclaimed as the new Governor on Tuesday evening by the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC). She dominated the polls in 17 of the province’s 18 municipalities except in the island town of Caluya.
Javier first gained power in 1986 when he ran and won as governor of the province after the death of his brother, Evelio, who is considered a hero by Antiqueños.
Undefeated since then, Javier has been occupying alternately the posts of governor and representative of the lone district of Antique.
In the 2013 elections, he narrowly won with 112,668 votes against contender lawyer Cornelio Aldon, who got 103,409 votes – a small margin of only 9,259 votes.
“The 2016 election results for governor is a reflection of Evelio Javier’s dream for Antique. We have matured politically and have grown in our discernment process to our choice for our provincial leaders,” said a retired private school teacher.
“The Antiqueños have risen beyond the politics of money, guns and goons. Yes, we have exercised a well-prayed and discerned voting process. Thank you Lord for loving us Antiqueños,” she added.
Cadiao, on the other hand, was first elected vice governor in 2007. She used to be a flight attendant for the country's flagship airline. She then lost the vice governor post she was occupying in 2010 to Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Member Rosie Dimamay.
In 2013, she reclaimed her seat with a landslide victory, getting 108,709 votes against Dimamay's 88,751.
The power struggle between the two intensified when Javier was removed from office in February 2015 after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualified him for suspending Mayor Mary Joyce Roquero of Valderrama town during the 2013 election period.
Cadiao took over the post which she occupied for more than a year. During her short term in office, many delayed projects were reportedly finished and new ones were started.
However, in January 2016, the Supreme Court overturned the Comelec’s ruling and reinstated Javier as the “rightful” governor of the province.
Cadiao’s running mate, SP Member Edgar Denosta, secured the vice governor seat with 99,752 votes against SP Member Victor Condez' 84,115.
Governor-elect Cadiao is also assured of support from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan where 5 of her allies have already won seats: Vincent Piccio III, Fernando Corvera, Santiago Lotilla IV, Dr. Egidio Elio, and Errol Santillan.
Another ally, Ma. Orchid Fornier, is still fighting for her seat against independent candidate Pio Sumande.
A special election is scheduled on Saturday morning, May 14, in contested precincts which will determine the winner for the South District’s fifth seat for SP.
Fornier currently leads the polls with 30,953 votes against Sumande’s 30,947 – a very crucial margin of only 6 votes. Her victory would mean a majority for Cadiao in the SP with 7 allies including Denosta.
Piccio, Corvera, Lotilla and Fornier belong to the Province’s South District while Elio and Santillan are with the North District.
“Duro duro gid nga salamat kaninyo tanan (Thank you so much to all of you!)! Election is over. It is high time to give attention to the needs of Antiqueños especially the poor,” said Cadiao.
“We are offering our hand in reconciliation. A hand of unity and a hand of friendship. Let us work together as one Antique, one Antiqueño. God bless Antique.” – Rappler.com