Two political heavyweights in Oriental Mindoro are battling it out for control of the provincial hall in the 2022 elections.
Oriental Mindoro 1st District Representative Salvador “Doy” Lechon, who is on his last term in the House, filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for governor on Tuesday, October 5, in a bid to replace reelectionist Governor Humerlito “Bonz” Dolor.
Leachon, a House Senior Deputy Speaker, will run under the banner of local party Mindoro Bagong Sarili, with Jojo Perez as his vice gubernatorial candidate. Perez was Dolor’s running mate in 2019.
Leachon was mayor of Calapan City before he was elected congressman of the 1st District in 2013, ending the three-decade reign of the Valencia political clan.
In 2015, the Sandiganbayan suspended him for 90 days over a graft case in connection with the alleged illegal use of dump trucks when he was still Calapan mayor. He was eventually acquitted in 2019.
He has authored 42 measures in the 18th Congress.
Dolor, meanwhile, hopes to extend his winning streak in local politics. He already filed his COC on Saturday, October 2, under the banner of PDP-Laban, with Pinoy Big Brother winner Ejay Falcon as running mate.
Dolor was a three-term vice governor from 2010 to 2019, and was subsequently elected governor of the province. He has over three decades of experience in public service, with roots from the Sangguniang Kabataan in 1992.
In July, he joined some two dozen governors in signing a collective statement urging President Rodrigo Duterte to run for vice president. They said they believed the administration’s pandemic response was “succeeding.”
Ahead of the filing of COCs, both camps had engaged in a heated exchange online. Leachon had attacked Dolor over the provincial government’s pandemic response, but Dolor’s camp pushed back on the criticisms, and downplayed them as black propaganda.
Leachon had also said that the support of 13 of the 15 mayors in the province was behind him, not his once-ally Dolor.
Oriental Mindoro had over 513,000 registered voters in 2019. – Rappler.com