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The battle for the city hall remains a family affair in many local government units in the National Capital Region, as mayors who are either term-limited or forgoing reelection seek to transfer power to their relatives.
In at least three cities in particular, term-limited mayors hope to switch places with relatives who are in Congress.
Caloocan City Mayor Oscar “Oca” Malapitan, who has exhausted his three terms, will run for 1st District representative. His son, Representative Dale “Along” Malapitan, will run for city mayor.
“I have started numerous education, health, and livelihood programs. If Caloocan voters choose me, I would expand those projects to cover more constituents,” the younger Malapitan said in Filipino.
Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, who is also term-limited, is gunning for a House seat in the 1st District. His younger brother who holds that post, Representative Eric Olivarez, has filed his COC for the mayoral post.
“It is an honor to be able to continue the projects started by my brother Edwin Olivarez in Parañaque,” the younger Olivarez said.
Siblings who have reached their term limit also seek to swap posts in Valenzuela. Rex Gatchalian, the city mayor, wants to replace 1st District Representative Wes Gatchalian, who is setting his sights on the city hall.
Meanwhile, Malabon City Mayor Len Len Oreta, who is term-limited, did not submit papers for any post in 2022. But his brother Jose Lorenzo Oreta has filed his COC in a bid to succeed his sibling.
“It was not a long time ago when [my brother’s] focus was the youth sector as president of the Sangguniang Kabataan. Now, I’m proud of you for accepting the challenge to continue serving residents of Malabon,” the older Oreta said.
In Malabon’s neighbor city Navotas, Representative John Rey Tiangco hopes to return to city hall, succeeding his brother, incumbent Mayor Toby Tiangco.
Giving way to relatives
While Taguig City Mayor Lino Cayetano is only in his first term, he decided to give way to his sister-in-law, Taguig City 2nd District Representative Lani Cayetano, who filed her COC for mayor. Lani Cayetano was once a three-term mayor of the city.
“In the coming months, while the rest of the country will be focused on the campaign season, here in Taguig, we’ll focus on [pandemic] solutions,” Lino said.
In Mandaluyong City, Mayor Menchie Abalos, who could still run for a third term, decided to slide down to a vice mayoral post after her father-in-law, former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr., filed his candidacy to reclaim the city hall.
While frowned upon, there is no law in the Philippines banning political dynasties. Measures on the matter have languished for a long time in Congress.
In at least seven other cities, incumbent mayors are seeking reelection. They are Imelda Aguilar of Las Piñas, Abby Binay of Makati, Marcy Teodoro of Marikina, Emi Calixto-Rubiano of Pasay, Vico Sotto of Pasig, Joy Belmonte of Quezon City, and Francis Zamora of San Juan.
Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi seeks to swap posts with his ally, Representative Ruffy Biazon. In Manila, Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna aims to succeed Mayor Isko Moreno, who has filed his COC for president. – Rappler.com