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Little space for newcomers in Congress

Reynaldo Santos Jr
A good 70% of district representatives are re-electionists


MANILA, Philippines — Almost 70% of district representatives, enjoying the advantage of incumbency, are seeking re-election, thus leaving not much space for newcomers in the 16th Congress next year.

Data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) show that 159 out of the current 229 district representatives will be running for the same post. They are among the total 653 aspirants who filed their certificates of candidacy for congressman in  2013.

In the incoming Congress, however, there will be 233 districts seats to fill, following the creation of 4 additional districts.

A recent study conducted by the Asian Institute of Management showed that there is a similar percentage of members of the House of Representatives, 70%, who come from political dynasties.

Among the 159 reelectionists, 101 are seeking a second term, while 56 are seeking their final term. The Constitution allows a congressman to serve for 3 consecutive terms only.

Pangasinan and the City of Manila have the most number of reelectionists — all their 6 district representatives are re-electionists. They are followed by the province of Leyte, where all 5 district representatives are seeking another term.

In Negros Occidental, which has 6 districts, only 2nd district Rep Alfredo Marañon III will not run again; he’s now serving his last term.

Replacement congressmen

Two of the re-electionists were not even able to serve a full first term, as they only assumed the term of congressmen who died in office. 

Zambales 2nd district Rep Jun Omar Ebdane assumed office in February 2012 to finish the term left by Antonio Diaz, who died in August 2011. 

Negros Occidental 5th district Rep Alejandro Mirasol, on the other hand, assumed office in June 2012 to finish the term left by Iggy Arroyo, who died in January 2012.

Former Ilocos Sur 1st district Rep Ronald Singson is making a comeback. Singson was on his second term when he resigned in March 2011 after being convicted for drug possession in Hong Kong. He was replaced by his brother, Ryan Singson.

Unopposed re-electionists

Among the 159 reelectionists, 18 will be running unopposed:

  • Rodolfo Fariñas (Ilocos Norte, 1st district)
  • Maria Rachel Arenas (Pangasinan, 3rd district)
  • Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (Pangasinan, 6th district)
  • Enrique Cojuangco (Tarlac, 1st district)
  • Dakila Carlo Cua (Quirino, lone district)
  • Joseph Gilbert Violago (Nueva Ecija, 2nd district)
  • Josephine Lacson-Noel (Malabon City, lone district)
  • Trisha Bonoan-David (Manila City, 4th district)
  • Marcelino Teodoro (Marikina City, 1st district)
  • Joel Duavit (Rizal, 1st district)
  • Isidro Rodriguez, Jr. (Rizal, 2nd district)
  • Reynaldo Umali (Oriental Mindoro, 2nd district)
  • Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (Leyte, 1st district)
  • Maria Carmen Zamora (Compostela Valley, 1st district)
  • Rommel Amatong (Compostela Valley, 2nd district)
  • Isidro Ungab (Davao City, 3rd district)
  • Thelma Almario (Davao Oriental, 2nd district)
  • Manny Pacquiao (Sarangani, lone district)

Comelec says an unopposed candidate needs only one vote to win. with research assistance from Kat Uyan and Xyline Senoran, Rappler.com