political dynasties

Political families crowd Eastern Samar candidates’ list

Inday Espina-Varona
Political families crowd Eastern Samar candidates’ list
So many candidates bearing the same surnames are running with or against each other, from the provincial level down to town councils

EASTERN SAMAR, Philippines – Among the 19 mayors here backing presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo are heads of political dynasties that feature in the Commission on Elections’ list of local candidates in the 2022 elections.

So many candidates bearing the same surnames are running with or against each other, from the provincial level down to town councils.

The 5th class municipality of San Policarpo, one of the country’s poorest towns, hosts the province’s second most-dominant dynasty.

Incumbent mayor Thelma Nicart is running as vice mayor while her son Conrado Nicart III, former mayor and vice mayor of the town, is gunning for the mayoralty post again. They are both running under PDP-Laban.

Thelma is the widow of the governor Conrado Nicart Jr., who succeeded Ben Evardone in 2010 until 2016. He defeated former immigration commissioner and congressman Marcelino Libanan. Nicart Jr. in his run for that third term. But he took a leave of absence in 2017 due to illness and died in April 2019. 

KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY. The later Eastern Samar governor Conrado Nicart Jr. (center) with son, San Policarpo former mayor and vice mayor Conrado III, and wife Thelma, the incumbent mayor. (Governor Nicart’s Facebook page)

The late governor was a member of former president Benigno Aquino III’s Liberal Party heading to the 2016 polls. Even so, he gathered 1,000 local officials and civic leaders at the provincial capitol for then-senator and vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. 

The Nicart patriarch explained that the family had had ties for a long time with the Marcoses and former first lady Imelda’s Leyte-based Romualdez clan.

Thelma, however, is now among the province’s 19 mayors supporting opposition presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo.

Their son, Conrado Nicart III, served as San Policarpo mayor from 2007 to 2016. He became controversial in 2014 when he refused to vacate his office after a recount ordered by the Regional Trial Court Branch 5 based in Oras town showed he had actually lost.

The court had ordered a recount of votes after Virginia Acol complained of fraud, giving her a margin of 106 votes over the reelectionist. The local board of canvassers in 2013 had proclaimed Nicart III the winner by 88 votes.

Rappler could find no reports of any resolution to the standoff. But the Commission on Audit 2015 yearend report still identified Nicart III as the mayor of San Policarpo. 

After ending his three terms as local chief executive, Nicart III chose to run for the vice mayoral post in 2016. His mother Thelma defeated Acol in the mayoralty race.

Acol won a council seat in 2019. She is running for vice mayor in the 2022 polls against Thelma, under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS). 

Nicart III was the town’s vice mayor when the Sandiganyan suspended him for 90 days in 2017 due to an anti-graft case over his wrongful dismissal of three municipal employees, including Acol, in January 2012. 

The younger Nicart in 2019 ran for the congressional seat vacated by now Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone. He lost to Maria Fe Abunda, sister of celebrity Boy Abunda.

The current vice mayor of the town, Paz Benitez Nicart, is running for the council under the same party as Acol. Two other members of the Nicart clan, Bonifacio (PDDS) and Celedonio (PDP-Laban), are also running for the council.

San Policarpo has multiple candidates bearing a single surname. Running for the council are two Morallos – Felipe and Marshall – both registered as independents. There are three surnamed Mosende: Isanille and Nilcar, who are running as independents, and Romegio Sr., who is running under PDP-Laban.

Maslog Mayor Heraclio Santiago and his running mate and brother, former mayor Septemio, are running unopposed.

The council candidates in Maslog include two surnamed Campomanes: Elden and Quinn, both with the PDP-Laban. There are two surnamed Lazarra: Mary Anne and Pancho, also with PDP-Laban.

Former governor Marcelo Ferdinand “Dindo” Picardal, who took over after governor Nicart died, is running for his old vice gubernatorial post under Aksyon Demokratiko. Another Picardal,  Alejandro Jr., is contesting the same post under PDDS.

In Oras town, Mayor Vivienne Alvares is running for councilor. Her husband, Neil, who served as mayor from 2001 to 2010, wants to reclaim the post. 

In 2006, Neil faced a graft complaint over the alleged anomalous purchase of a fire truck, but was cleared. The couple also became controversial when Neil served as Vivienne’s private secretary, receiving compensation from the town. Vivienne said it was allowed by law.

In Oras, there are three surnamed Maestre running for the council: Edgar, Michael, and Samantha, all with PDDS.

Dolores Mayor Shonny Nino Carppeso is running for vice mayor. His brother, Zaldy, is eyeing the mayoralty post.

In Borongan, Emmanuel Tiu is running unopposed for vice mayor, while another Tiu, Glaiza, is running for councilor. Rappler.com

Read the other stories in our Political Dynasties 2022 series: 

Overview

Luzon

Visayas

Mindanao

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