LIKE in most parts of the country, politics in Negros Occidental is still dominated by the prominent political families.
Records at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed there’s a total of 797 candidates in the province including Bacolod City.
The local elective positions are congressman with 11 candidates.
For the position of governor, two filed their certificates of candidacies (COCs) including incumbent Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson of the unified Love Negros and United Negros Alliance; vice governor, two candidates including Lacson’s running mate, former Fourth District representative Jeffrey Ferrer; congressman, 11 candidates; board member, 20; mayors, 74; vice mayors, 64 and the rest are members of the city and municipal councils.
Among the dominant names of political families, according to the record at Comelec, are the Lacson-Montelibano family from the First District and the Third District, the Marañon family in the Second District, the Benitez-Palanca family in the Third District, the Bascon-Gatuslao family in the Fifth District and the Montilla-Alvarez family in the Sixth District.
Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante Jr., Unega secretary-general, predicted that challengers will have a hard time to beat the incumbent officials.
Observers noticed that incumbents and some of the strong challengers have allied and associated themselves with the dominant political families to get a strong chance of winning.
Here is the initial list of candidates for mayors and vice mayors in the province for the 2019 midterm elections:
San Carlos City
Mayor: incumbent Vice Mayor Renato Gustilo, Edgar Quisumbing
Mayor: incumbent First District Representative Melecio Yap Jr.
Vice Mayor: Johnny Gabriel
Mayor: Marilyn Era, Alfonso Baguio
Vice Mayor: Pecdoy Leonor
Mayor: re-electionist Marxlen Dela Cruz, Myrna Castillo
Mayor: re-electionist Richard Jaojoco, former mayor Evello Valencia
Mayor: re-electionist Alfredo Marañon III
Mayor: Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante Jr., Manuel Garganera
Mayor: former mayor Manuel Escalante, Roy Plagata
Mayor: re-electionist Neil Lizares, Joel Bantigue
Mayor: re-electionist Mark Golez, former mayor Jose Montelibano, Vice Mayor Joedith Gallego
Mayor: re-electionist Marvin Malacon, Third District Board Member David Albert Lacson
Mayor: re-electionist Francis Frederick Palanca, Paul Octaviano, Ronald Germeno
Mayor: Vice Mayor Gerry Rojas
La Carlota City
Mayor: re-electionist Luis Jalandoni III, Edmund Roroguez
Mayor: re-electionist Jose Maria Alonso, Dennis Rosco
Mayor: re-electionist Jilson Tubillara, Celedonio Ofalia
Mayor - re-electionist Enrique Miravalles, Ricardo Presbitero
Mayor - re-electionist Nicholas Yulo (unopposed)
Vice Mayor - re-electionist Ramon Torres (unopposed)
Mayor: Vice Mayor Carmenia Bascon, former vice mayor Raymund Tongson
Mayor - re-electionist Jose Nadie Arceo, Paul Yulo
Mayor - re-electionist Joselito Malabor, Irene Montilla
Mayor - re-electionist Rhumyla Nicor-Manguilimutan, former vice mayor Felix Feria IV
Mayor - re-electionist Magdaleno Peña, Vice Mayor Ella Garcia-Yulo
Mayor: Sixth District Board Member Pedro Zayco Jr., Victoriano Sola Jr., Cornelio Dumaguete
Vice Mayor: re-electionist Raul Rivera, Efraim Cordero
Mayor: Vice Mayor John Paul Kho Alvarez
Vice Mayor: Mayor Genaro Rafael Kho Alvarez
Mayor: re-electionist John Rey Tabujara, Joel Chavez Samillano, Eric Decatoria Gonzalez
Vice Mayor: Annaliza Jing Soriano, Romulo Mombay
Mayor: re-electionist Cicero Diego Borromeo, Jechonias Manzano, Aldrin Roselle Diego
Vice Mayor: Lorie Mae Joy Lambot, Edsel Delos Santos Diopido
Mayor: Vice Mayor Maria Gina Montilla Lizares
Vice Mayor: Mayor Oscar Chua Montilla
Mayor: re-electionist Mayor Ernesto Estrao, Evelyn Belleza Delos Reyes, Oscar Dingding Daclan
Vice Mayor: Jefrey Lazalita Encoy, Mary Jane Tupad Cubid
Meanwhile, provincial Comelec supervisor Jessie Suarez reminded the candidates that substitution and withdrawal are only until November 29.
According to Comelec Resolution No. 10430, promulgated on October 1, substitute bets will not be allowed to take the place of candidates, who will withdraw their COC after November 29.
It amended Comelec Resolution No. 10420, which states that “the substitute for a candidate who died, withdrew his candidacy, or was disqualified by final judgment, may file a COC up to mid-day of election day.”
The current rule on substitution is similar to the policy adopted by the poll body in the 2016 elections.
The said resolution has retained the rule that substitute for a candidate, who died or disqualified by final judgment after November 29, is allowed to file a COC until mid-day of election day.
But, it noted that the substitute and the substituted should have the similar surnames.
The poll body added that there will be no substitute to be allowed for any independent candidate.