2022 PH local races

5 candidates, including sons of ex-mayors, begin race for Zamboanga City mayorship

Frencie Carreon
5 candidates, including sons of ex-mayors,  begin race for Zamboanga City mayorship

LIGHTING CANDLES. Zamboanga Mayor and 1st District congressional bet Maria Isabelle Climaco lights candles at the Shrine of the Lady of the Pillar in Zamboanga City.

courtesy of Team Climaco

Zamboanga's mayoral post is being sought by Zamboanga 1st District Representative Cesar Jimenez, Vice Mayor Rommel Agan, Councilor John Dalipe, former mayor Celso Lobregat, and independent candidate Ismail Karim

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – A heavy downpour in this city on Friday morning, March 25, delayed them a bit but did not stop five mayoral candidates from leading their groups and campaigning for the city’s top post.

The city’s mayoral post, to be vacated by Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco who is running for congresswoman, is being sought by Zamboanga 1st District Representative Cesar Jimenez, Vice Mayor Rommel Agan, Councilor John Dalipe, former mayor Celso Lobregat, and independent candidate Ismail Karim.

Of the five candidates, three – Agan, Dalipe, and Lobregat – are sons of former Zamboanga mayors.

The candidates and their groups started the 45-day local campaign period in slightly different ways but were cautious because of the COVID-19 threat.

Team Climaco, with Jimenez as their mayoral bet, began with a Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The candidates also lit candles at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar. 

Jimenez, his running mate Councilor Josephine Pareja, congressional bet Councilor Juan Climaco Elago, and other candidates of Team Climaco then proceeded to city hall where they started campaigning with much fanfare. They were accompanied by drumbeaters and dancers who attracted attention.

Another group, the Lobregat-led Team Colorao, also campaigned at city hall later, following a motorcade around the city.

Lobregat, his running mate Councilor Benjamin Guingona IV, congressional bets Khymer Adan Olaso and Jerry Perez, and the rest of their group paraded amid a cheering crowd of supporters and drum beating.

REGISTER. Former Zamboanga mayor and mayoral candidate Celso Lobregat registers as a guest at the City Mayor’s Office when he went to city hall to campaign on March 25, 2022. (photo courtesy Hermie Ventura)

Mayoral candidate and Vice Mayor Agan, the candidate of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), chose to campaign with a small group in Tetuan, his home barangay.

Agan’s running mate, Councilor Elbert Atilano, also met with another small group in his home village.

The UNA ticket, however, had a motorcade around the villages of Pasonanca, Santa Maria, Tetuan, downtown Zamboanga, up to Barangay Divisoria on Thursday, March 24, a day before the start of the campaign period for local bets.

A fourth group, with Councilor John Dalipe as mayoral candidate, had a morning motorcade, and a major rally in the afternoon at the Sebastian property in Camino Nuevo, one of the city’s most populous communities.

Dalipe’s brother Manuel Jose or Mannix is Zamboanga 2nd District Representative.

The group has fielded former councilor Melchor Sadain as a vice-mayoral candidate, and lawyer Wendell Sotto as congressional bet in the city’s 1st District.

A fifth mayoral hopeful, independent candidate Ismail Karim, said he began his campaign without fanfare, and by merely talking to and asking the support of his friends and relatives. – Rappler.com

Frencie Carreon is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.