Politics a 'family affair'

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

MARAWI CITY -- In many localities of northwestern Mindanao, politics still proves to be a family affair.

The seats up for grabs during the May 10 polls were appropriated among members of dominant clans.

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For some localities, the rise of new breed of leaders replaced old ones, but only to follow the same old pattern of holding power. In others, the contests for elective seats are a continuing tussle for decades.

And in still others, the election is just a formal reaffirmation of their continuing hold on power.

The Balindong family of Malabang, Lanao del Sur was only waiting for one ballot to be cast for each member of its slate to formalize its hold on power as they are all running unopposed.

As the balloting closed, Omensalam Balindong took the town's mayoral seat while Berua Anwar Balindong took the vice mayoralty.

Raizoli Balindong topped the councilor vote. Three more Balindongs are also members of the Municipal Council.

In all, the family holds six of the 10 elective posts in Malabang, and virtually controlling the legislative body where lies the local government's power of the purse.

Another family member, Pangalian Balindong, is leading the race for congressional seat in the province's second district.

In Bumbaran, the Manabilang family tandem won their seats sans a contest. Mastura is mayor while Jamal is vice mayor.

Eight allies also won unopposed for seats in the Municipal Council.

In Balabagan, Amer Sampiano is on the way to taking the mayoralty against two rivals, one of which is a relative, Ogka Sampiano Jr.

Another relative of theirs, Quirino Sampiano earned the vice mayoralty unopposed.

During the May 10 polls, eight of 34 bets for various elective posts in the town are Sampianos.

Dimaporos rule

In Lanao del Norte, three Dimaporos dominated their respective races, as expected, including long-time ally Irma Umpa-Ali who garnered the overwhelming votes for vice governor.

Former governor Imelda Quibranza Dimaporo, wife of outgoing Representative Abdullah Dimaporo, was declared Tuesday as representative of the first district.

Her victory was made easier by the dropping of Iligan City as part of the first district.

Their son, Khalid, is only waiting to be proclaimed reelected governor, while political neophyte daughter, Fatima Aliah, is on her way to taking over Abdullah's congressional seat representing the second district.

Imelda's older sister Nenita Quibranza Noval is headed for victory as mayor of Tubod town.

Abdullah's maternal cousin Maminta Dimakuta is also leading the mayoral race in Tagoloan town.

Still another cousin but who belongs to another political stable, Eleanor Dimaporo Lantud, swept through the mayoral race in Pantao-Ragat town. Her husband Lacson also achieved a landslide victory as vice mayor.

Lantud's nephew, Ulwan Dimaporo, takes the mayoralty of Sultan Naga Dimaporo town that is named after their father. Ulwan's father, Motalib, is vice mayor.
Eight allies won Municipal Council seats without a contest.

Cerilles country

The Zamboanga Peninsula also has a fair share of a similar political landscape in several of its localities.

In Zamboanga del Sur, the May 10 polls provided the Cerilleses with the opportunity to further solidify their hold on power.

Outgoing Governor Aurora Enerio Cerilles swapped positions with husband Antonio, a two-term congressman. Their son, Ace William, was unopposed as mayor of Dumalinao town.

Aurora's younger brother, Canuto Jr., is leading with a wide margin in the mayoral race of Lakewood town, where their family has a rubber planting and processing operation.

Antonio's relative, Carlos Madarang, also won a seat in the City Council of Pagadian, which reelected mayor, Samuel Co, is a relative by affinity.

In Dimataling town, Haniel Baya is set to take the mayoral seat as son Edmund claims the vice mayoralty. The Bayas have been in power for close to two decades now.

In Tambulig, Caridad Balaod was re-elected mayor, sister-in-law Leonilyn takes the vice mayoralty, and brother-in-law Allan earns a berth in the eight-seat Municipal Council.

In the other towns, Cerilles allies dominate the races, at least in the mayoral and vice mayoral seats.

Emerging dynasties sprout

In Baliangao, Misamis Occidental, the tandem of Agne Yap Sr. and daughter Haneya Theresa Yap-Chiong is leading the race.

The Yap family, which held power since 1947, is fighting for political survival amid the challenge posed by Svetlana Jalosjos, daughter of convicted child rapist Romeo Sr., who tapped other Yaps into their fold.

Two more Yaps are expected to earn seats in the Municipal Council. Seven of 22 bets in the town are Yaps.

But in nearby Sapang Dalaga town, another Yap family tandem is on the verge of losing to the Animas family's son-and-father tandem.

Donjie Animas is leading the mayoral race by a wide margin against Pacita Yap; his father, Manuel has edged away Pacita's son Ruel for the vice mayoralty. Another Animas, Emilou, topped the councilor vote.

The Yaps have been fighting to regain power in Sapang Dalaga since 2004.

Oroquieta City Mayor Jorge Almonte hands over the mayoral seat to son Jason; he leads in the race for congressional seat of Misamis Occidental's first district.

Almonte took power from the Bandalas in 2004 who has been challenging that grip until now.

Don Victoriano town Mayor Anabelle Hamoy takes the vice mayoral seat unopposed as she gave up the mayoral post to long-time partner, Vice Mayor Rodolfo Luna.

In Clarin town, David Navarro is reelected mayor while also shepherding the victory of wife Elsa as municipal councilor.

The unopposed reelectionist Vice Mayor Emeterio Roa Sr. also shepherded the victory of son Emeterio Jr. into a Municipal Council seat.

In Bonifacio town, reelectionist Mayor Samson Dumanjug wins a fresh mandate as wife Evelyn takes on the vice mayoral seat.

In Aloran town, reelectionist Mayor Jimmy Regalado leads the race along with nephew Lenard who seeks the vice mayoralty.

The hold over the local top posts is a back-and-forth game for the Regalados since elections were restored in 1987.

In Panaon, Meriam Paylaga breezed the mayoral race as daughter Roseanne Marie takes the vice-mayoralty unopposed. The Paylagas have ruled the town since 1988.

Meriam's husband Francisco Jr. is trailing behind in the gubernatorial race dominated by outgoing first district Representative Herminia Ramiro whose family held the post since 1988, starting with her husband, the late Hilarion Ramiro.

Politics family affair

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