Local Vote: Zambales, Mandaluyong, Aklan, Sarangani

“Local Vote” is Rappler’s weekly wrap-up of news on political developments and alignments in cities, municipalities, and provinces across the Philippines. These reports are filed by our reporters, correspondents, and reliable sources from the localities and political parties.

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Is Zambales now a single-party province?

IBA, Zambales – Reelectionist Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr welcomed this week local politicians who jumped ship and joined his Sulong Zambales party, saying this re-alignment is consistent with his goal of “uniting the leaders” of Zambales’ 13 municipalities.

“In unity there is power, and power speeds up reactions for change,” Ebdane said during the oath taking. Mayors, councilors, and aspirants for public office came from all 13 towns: Candelaria, Iba, Botolan, San Felipe, San Narciso, Sta Cruz, Cabangan, San Antonio, Masinloc, San Marcelino, Palauig, Castillejos and Subic.

Ebdane was a former Cabinet secretary under the Arroyo administration and head of the Philippine National Police before he ran for governor of Zambales in 2010. He told the new members of Sulong Zambales to ask themselves these same questions he asked himself when he formed the party then: Are we after the responsibility or the position? What are our program of action for the next 3 years for our constituents, the community, and the province? What possible problems are there and how are we going to deal with them? Are we prepared for the job?

He also reminded the local politicians to treat citizens as partners: “While local leaders are perceived to be catalysts of change, citizens on the other hand, should be viewed as not mere beneficiaries, but also agents and partners for development.” – Randy Datu/Rappler.com

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Wife seeks to replace Gonzales as Mandaluyong rep

MANDALUYONG CITY, Metro Manila – Former TV journalist Alexandria “Queenie” Gonzales recently took her oath as member of the Liberal Party in preparation for her bid to replace her husband, Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II, as representative of the lone district of Mandaluyong City.

At a gathering at the Liberal Party (LP) headquarters in Quezon City on September 28, the following Cotabato City politicians were also sworn in as party members: Mohamad Pagisan, Sukarno Sema, Mohammad Ali Matabalao, Michael Datumanong, Eduardo dela Fuente, and Bai Princess Dilangalen Piang. 

A press release from the LP said Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya, who is party president, led the oathtaking. – Rappler.com

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Aklan: Will gov Miraflores have any challengers?

KALIBO, Aklan – A former town mayor is mulling a gubernatorial bid in this province, effectively setting a challenge to the reelection campaign of Governor Florencio Miraflores.

Former Banga Mayor Antonio Maming said he is awaiting the consensus of the united opposition, whose endorsement he wishes to obtain. He may also run for a congressional seat, he said.

Should Maming run for congressman, he will be in a 3-way fight with incumbent Representative Teodorico Haresco Jr and former 3-term governor Carlito Marquez.

There appears to be more aspirants for the vice governorship: 3-termer New Washington Mayor Edgar Peralta, who is also awaiting the opposition’s endorsement; former Akelco manager Leovigildo Mationg; outgoing Aklan provincial Board Member Rodson Mayor; and Board Member Plaridel Morania, who hopes to get the endorsement of Governor Miraflores’ party.

Aklan Vice Governor Gabrielle Calizo-Quimpo, who is on her last term, is deciding whether to run for congresswoman or for mayor of Balete town. – Boy Ryan Zabal/Rappler.com 

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In Sarangani, Pacquiao endorsement still gives pols advantage

ALABEL, Sarangani – Jinkee Pacquiao is not seeking re-election as Sarangani vice governor, and her party has yet to find a replacement candidate, but her husband, world boxing champ Sarangani congressman Manny Pacquiao is expected to shape politics in the province.

Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon is seeking a second term after running unopposed in 2013. He is an ally of Pacquiao, to whom he defers for any political decision. He is a 3rd-generation politician from the Chiongbian clan – his grandfather James Chiongbian authored the creation of General Santos City and Sarangani in 1992.

A businessman who is into mining project speculations, Mohammad “Bong” Aquia of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, is set to challenge Solon. A former policeman, he was once charged for car smuggling activities.

Aquia is a friend of Pacquiao, but the Sarangani congressman chose to endorse Solon.

Some mayors are reportedly defying Pacquiao and will support Aquia. So far, only one mayor has declared his support for Aquia; the rest of Sarangani’s 7 town mayors have yet to announce their preference.  

Pacquiao is on course to run for senator. His brother Rogelio (Roel) Pacquiao will run for the congressional seat that Manny will be vacating. Rogelio sits as councilor of General Santos City by virtue of his position as city president of the Association of Barangay Captains. – Edwin Espejo/Rappler.com