Two legislators will likely clash head-on as they prepare for the 2022 battle for Zamboanga Sibugay’s leadership.
The warring groups, both allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, are expected to troop to the local Commission on Elections to submit certificates of candidacy (COC) soon.
Representatives Dulce Ann Hofer and Wilter Palma II of Zamboanga Sibugay’s 2nd and 1st Districts, respectively, will be filing their COCs for governor, said provincial board member Bella Chiong-Javier.
Meanwhile, Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Wilter Palma has moved to replace his son in the 1st District and will likely run unopposed, said Payao Mayor Joeper Mendoza, who is a close ally of the Palmas.
The younger Palma announced on Thursday, September 30, his candidacy for governor under Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD).
He and Hofer ran under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in 2019.
Like Palma, Hofer comes from a political family – her late father George was the founding father and first governor of Zamboanga Sibugay.
Hofer is a veteran lawmaker who has served as the representative of the province’s 2nd District from 2001 up to 2010. She first ran for governor in 2010 but lost to Rommel Jalosjos. She then staged a comeback in 2013 by winning her old congressional post.
Hofer will run alongside Vice Governor Rey Andre Olegario while Palma has picked the president of Zamboanga Sibugay’s Liga ng mga Barangay federation president, Jessie Lagas, as his running mate.
Hofer has thrown her support behind her brother George II, who will be running for her previous position. He will be facing Palma’s bet, businesswoman Antonietta Eudela, who owns a chain of gas stations, and who sought the congressional post but lost in 2019.
Former vice governor Eldwin Alibutdan is also planning on running for congressman in the 2nd District against George II and Eudela, said Alberto Alcoriza Jr., a former Ipil councilor. – Rappler.com
Antonio Manaytay is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship