GOVERNORSHIP, MAYORALTY TIFF TAKE CENTERSTAGE IN 2019 PALAWAN POLLS
The battle for the governorship of Palawan and the mayoralty of Puerto Princesa City promises to be the main highlight in next year’s polls.
As the period for the filing of candidacy drew to a close this week, the layout of Palawan’s political battlefield panned out, with the traditional players coming out of the woodworks.
Incumbent governor Jose Chaves Alvarez if facing former board member and former vice governor Arturo Ventura for a sequel to their one-sided affair won by the former in the previous elections.
Ventura, an outspoken critic of the current administration, filed his candidacy on the last hours of the Comelec deadline.
Capitol insiders admit that while they were confident of Alvarez victory in the previous polls, they did not expect Ventura to emerge with a modest result.
“It was a wake-up call to Gov. Alvarez. I’m sure he will be taking Ventura more seriously in this rematch,” a Capitol official who did not want to be identified told Palawan News.
The sideshow in the gubernatorial contest involves at least three other candidate filers for the position, all relative unknowns in the mainstream political circle, namely Marichelle Crespo, Christopher Morales and Richard Lopez. Lopez also previously filed for governor in the 2016 gubernatorial polls.
Still on the provincial slate, incumbent vice governor Dennis Socrates will be running unopposed.
Intense fight in city
The contest for the mayoralty of Puerto Princesa City will center between incumbent mayor Lucilo Bayron and his former ally, vice mayor Luis Marcaida III. Bayron is running under President Duterte’s PDP Laban while Marcaida is bannering a local party built also around the Duterte administration’s agenda to push for federalism.
Joining the fray in the mayoralty elections are relative newcomers who were among the among filers. These were: Jimmy Canete, Eliseo Patricio Olosorio, Edmundo Caton and Antonio Orosio.
Bayron has moved to secure his bid for re-election by having his daughter, Raine Bayron, file a separate candidacy in an apparent prophylactic strategy if he is confronted by a pending Ombudsman ruling permanently disqualifying him from seeking public office for a case of serious dishonesty.
Neither Bayron nor his daughter explained the reason for the the latter’s filing her candidacy, but both took opportunities to show the public they were in the same boat by posing together and accompanying each other in the filing.
“In due time malalaman ninyo yung sagot. Hingi muna ako ng kaunting pag unawa. In due time may sagot na katanungan na yan. Isang Bayron lang ang tatakbo,” the younger Bayron said.
“Hindi substitution ang mangyayari sa amin, may magwi withdraw na isa sa huli,” she added.
Comelec rules provide that a candidate has until November 29 to yield to a substitute with the same family name or to completely withdraw from the race.
Governor Alvarez has promised support to Bayron against Marcaida, who own support base include the organization of former mayor Edward Hagedorn.
Alvarez however qualified his support to Bayron as conditional on his preferred policy agenda for the City which includes among others the construction of a new hospital, stabilization of the city water system and his approach to poverty alleviation.
“Ang gusto ko lang mangyari ay yung hospital ay gawin na dito... pati ang tubig,” Alvarez told reporters following his own filing of candidacy.
Other match ups
The emerging match up in Palawan’s major towns saw the emergence of traditional players in each locality.
In El Nido, incumbent mayor Nieves Rosente will battle for the first time ex-mayor Edna Lim. In Brooke’s Point meanwhile, environmental activist and incumbent Mary Jean Feliciano will face another former mayor, Dr. Jose Leoncio.
Naval Forces West (NFW) deputy commander for fleet operations Capt. Carlos Sabarre (left, face partially hidden) secures a pin on the uniform of a sailor of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) who participated in the recently concluded 5th Maritime Training Activity in Palawan. The training activity was concluded on October 15.