2022 Philippine Elections

Biliran’s Espina dynasty sticks with Marcos

Brynch Bonachita
Biliran’s Espina dynasty sticks with Marcos

LOYALIST. Biliran governor Rogelio Espina does the Duterte fist in September 2021 beside a standee of Davao City mayor and vice presidential aspirant Sara Duterte, his candidate together with presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr., in the May 2022 polls.

Governor Rogelio Espina's Facebook page

Governor warns followers to stay away from 'parallel organizations' supporting Marcos or Duterte as they may have ‘other political agenda’

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — Biliran Provincial Governor Rogelio Espina said their political clan, the powerhouse in Biliran province, would back presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr and his running mate, Davao City mayor Sara Duterte.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, February 16, the governor announced that the ruling “Bando Espina” group — composed of members of the Espina clan and their political allies — will be conducting meetings with different sectors in the island province to campaign for the UniTeam candidates.

“We need to once again unite and ensure the future for our dear province,” his post said after thanking supporters and friends.

He also urged his clan’s supporters not to join other formations backing the tandem.

“Let us not, however, join any other parallel organization who are also supporting BBM/Sarah since some of these groups have other political agenda in mind,” Espina said.

The politician did not elaborate but several Eastern Visayas mayors recently announced their support for opposition presidential candidate and Vice President Leni Robredo while also backing Duterte.

On Tuesday, February 15, Espina met meeting with Narvacan town, Ilocos Sur, mayor Chavit Singson and fellow governors Antonio Kho, Masbate; Joseph Cua, Catanduanes; Jose Riano, Romblon; and Damian Mercado, Southern Leyte, as well as former Governor Jun Ong of Northern Samar, discussing their support for Marcos Jr. and Duterte.

Governor Espina, who belongs to the Nacionalista Party, was supposed to run for reelection but withdrew his certificate of candidacy on November 15, 2021.

His son Gerard, the mayor of Naval town, substituted for him in the gubernatorial race and faces Edgardo Sorne Ambe of the PROMDI party.

Biliran, an island province in Eastern Visayas, has 123,232 registered voters for the 2022 elections this May 9.

The Espina clan has dominated the political scene in Biliran province for decades. Their patriarch Gerardo Espina, Sr was its first congressman, elected in 1995. Biliran was a sub-province of Leyte before it transitioned as a regular province in 1992.

The elder Espina had also served  as a member of the 1971 Constitutional Convention. He became an assemblyman of the Marcos rubber stamp Batasang Pambansa in 1978 until 1984 and was Assistant Majority Leader.

The dictator Ferdinand Marcos also appointed Espina Sr. to several executive positions: concurrent Deputy Minister of Trade & Industry, Minister of State for Labor, Administrator of EPZA, and member of the Presidential Special Committee on Government Reorganization. – Rappler.com