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.

Al­varez fac­tor

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.

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