Wenceslao: The Camotes polls

THE Barug Alang sa Kauswagan ug Demokrasya (Bakud) of Ramon “Nito” Durano III has, as expected, swept the elections in the Camotes group of islands. This is not surprising because Bakud has monopolized politics in the towns of Poro, San Francisco, Tudela and Pilar for decades now. Besides, the opposition put up by One Cebu in this year’s polls was weak.

In the towns of Poro, where Camotes’s main port is located, and San Francisco, the main tourism hub of Camotes, no opposition bet ran against Bakud’s Boy Rama and Aly Arquillano, respectively.

In Tudela, One Cebu put up a complete slate led by Loret Maratas against Bakud’s Erwin Yu. One Cebu lost. In Pilar, One Cebu sprang a surprise with the win of its candidate for vice mayor, Ely Borinaga, over Bakud’s Cesar Tabasa by a margin of only 89 votes.

But Bakud’s bet for mayor, Jet Fernandez, won over One Cebu’s Mel Tajo by 546 votes.

I am particularly interested in Poro, the hometown of my mother, and Tudela, the hometown of my father. I would congratulate a relative, Reza Gonzales Borlasa of Bakud, for placing second in the race for councilor in Poro. But my other relative, Franklin Orge of One Cebu, was not as lucky.

He lost in Tudela where he ran for councilor.

Also in Tudela’s losing One Cebu slate was my good friend, Boboy Belarmino, barangay captain of Southern Poblacion. Boboy would have been a good addition to the Tudela Municipal Council considering his experience in civil society activities. I take it that Tudela’s One Cebu slate filed an election protest in Danao City yesterday. I asked Boboy for a copy of their petition but it failed to reach my Inbox.

Interestingly, former mediaman Greman “Jojo” Solante, who ran under Bakud for vice mayor, won. That’s a jump from his previous position of ex-officio member of the Tudela town council as head of the chapter there of the Association of Barangay Councils. Arles Labayan, formerly of Bombo Radyo, ran for councilor under the Partido ng Masang Pilipino but lost.

While Bakud and the Nito faction of the Durano clan remain dominant in Camotes, there are signs that the opposition (which in the fifth district means another faction of the Durano clan) can put up a good fight there in 2016 if it just prepares well. In towns where the opposition had candidates, the fight was close.

I have already mentioned the Pilar results where One Cebu’s bet for vice mayor won, plus two of the party’s candidates for councilor. In Tudela, Yu won the post of mayor by a margin of only a little more than a thousand votes over Maratas. Around a thousand votes also separated Jojo Solante from his opponent, One Cebu’s Bebet Solante.

We didn’t hear reports of violence in the conduct of the elections in Camotes even with the intense rivalry between two factions of the Durano clan (the one led by Nito and the other by his brother Ramon “Boy” Durano Jr.). Meaning, the attempt of the second generation Duranos to veer away from the guns, goons and gold politics of the Durano patriarch, the late Ramon Durano Sr., is holding.

That should provide opportunities for rival political groups or personalities to snatch the advantage from the Nito faction at least in Camotes. That is, if they know how to play the new kind of politics in place there.



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