340 incumbents, aspirants
file COCs for 121 local posts

A NEW TRIUMVIRATE FOR 2022. Gov. Joseph Cua seeks to complete three terms at the capitol while Cong. Hector Sanchez aims for his second stint as House representative, with graduating San Andres Mayor Peter Cua trying a move up to the vice governorship in next year’s local polls. Their group counts nine of the 11 incumbent mayors as allies.
Padaba PIU

A total of 340 reelectionists and aspirants for 121 elective posts have filed their Certificates of Candidacies with the Commission Elections (COMELEC) during the Oct. 1-8, 2021 filing period.
The total represents an increase of 15 percent compared to the 295 who ran in the 2019 local elections, records show.
Only 53 are women, accounting for only 15 percent of the total and still slightly higher than the 43 who ran for elective posts three years ago.
Information released to the media by the Office of the Provincial Elections Supervisor (OPES) and the 11 municipal election offices indicate that five provincial elective officials are running for reelection: Governor Joseph C. Cua and Congressman Hector S. Sanchez, PBM Robert Fernandez, PBM Edwin Tanael, PBM Santos Zafe and PBM Rafael Zuniega, with ex-officio PBM Alan del Valle gunning for a regular seat in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
On the other hand, 72 municipal officials are seeking to keep their current posts, including nine mayors, six vice mayors, and 57 Sangguniang Bayan members.
Nineteen (19) others are aiming for higher posts, the same records show.
Vice Governor Shirley A. Abundo has filed a bid for the gubernatorial post while PBM Natalio C. Popa Jr. is challenging outgoing San Andres Mayor Peter Cua for the vice governorship.
Three incumbent municipal councilors are intent on snatching a seat in the SP: Josevan Balidoy of Viga, Domingo Prensader of Bato, and former PBM Jose Romeo C. Francisco of Virac.
One SB member, Antonio Teves of San Miguel, is eyeing Mayor Francisco T. Camano’s seat in San Miguel despite his brother, retired DAR provincial chief Alexander T. Teves, being Camano’s running mate.
Three vice mayors are trying for the mayoral seats in their respective towns: Remelito S. Cabrera of Bagamanoc, Leo Z. Mendoza of San Andres and Odilon F. Pascua of Bagamanoc.
Ten councilors are also aspiring for the post of vice mayor: Edwin S. de Leon of Bagamanoc, Ferdinand P. Tioxon Jr. of Caramoran, Paulo J. Camacho of Gigmoto, Mary Colyn T. Santelices of Pandan, Arvin V. Atencia and Tito V. Villamor of Panganiban, Gregorio S. Salvador of San Andres, Dante T. Tapel and Rudy Torrente of San Miguel, and Reynante Bagadiong of Virac.
The only municipal elective officials to have literally no opponents are Bato Mayor Juan T. Rodulfo and Vice Mayor Roy P. Regalado.
In a twist of political fortunes, former Mayor Eulogio R. Rodriguez threw his hat into the congressional race and got his hand raised by Mayor Rodulfo and his allies from Bato.
Stranger still, the mayor’s brother, retired DPWH legal counsel Atty. Oliver T. Rodulfo, filed a bid for congressman under the Liberal Party despite his being identified with President Rodrigo Duterte who is a batchmate during law school.
The two Batonhons could split the Rinconada vote hoped for by former Cong. Cesar V. Sarmiento, who seeks to reclaim his old seat after being soundly defeated by Cua in the 2019 gubernatorial race.
The governor, on the other hand, is set to “graduate” from the top provincial post should he win next year against Vice Gov. Abundo and meat vendor Randy L. Tanael of Macutal, Baras.
None of the Wong family filed a bid for a provincial post, with Jardin Brian “JB” Wong issuing a press statement that a bid for governor is not in the works this time.
Here’s how the filing of COCs in the other towns went:
BAGAMANOC – The northern town is considered a “free zone” as both Vice Mayor Odilon F. Pascua and his rival for the top post, former mayor Vincent V. Villaluna, want the support of the provincial leadership. Incumbent councilor Edwin S. de Leon is up against an ally of Cong. Sanchez, former PBM Juan A. Velchez Jr.
BARAS – Mayor Jose Paolo P. Teves III’s hopes of running unopposed were dashed on the last day of filing when former mayor Jorge G. Tanael filed yet another bid. Tanael won just 65 votes in 2019 when he placed third. Former mayor Chito S. Chi goes up against incumbent Vice Mayor Rico T. Tating and independent Jose M. Torrenueva Jr.
CARAMORAN – It will be another crowded battle for the mayoral post in 2022, with Mayor Glenda V. Aguilar hoping to get a second term against former mayor Agnes B. Popa. 2019 third placer Ma. Luna Pelisco, businessman Johnson Idanan and recently retired municipal treasurer Liberto Y. Yusores. The same is true in the Sangguniang Bayan’s top post, with Vice Mayor Chyrrel R. Barro being challenged by incumbent councilor Ferdinand P. Tioxon Jr., former vice mayor Arlyn A. Templonuevo, and independent Marieta B. Tablizo. Both races, it is claimed, will be decided by family ties and campaign resources. The town also has the largest number of candidates running for seats in the municipal council with 35 aspirants.
GIGMOTO – It will be almost a repeat of the 2019 race as incumbent Mayor Vicente J. Tayam Jr. is expected to hand former Mayor Armando T. Guerrero a second straight defeat at the polls. Retired PEO motorpool engineer Rodrigo B. Turado will vie for the right to preside over the SB against incumbent councilor Paulo J. Camacho.
PANDAN – A three-way race for mayor is on, with Mayor Honesto C. Tabligan II seeking a second term against former mayor Raul E. Tabirara and independent Sheila Cecilia S. Arcilla. Tabirara’s running mate, Vice Mayor Eric T. Rodriguez, is being challenged by the mayor’s ally, Councilor Mary Colyn T. Santelices.
SAN ANDRES – Vice Mayor Leo Z. Mendoza is a shoo-in for the post to be vacated by his brother-in-law, Mayor Peter C. Cua, after former mayor Aly T. Romano begged off from running in the 2022 elections. Mendoza’s opponent is independent Rene B. Avinado, barangay captain of Belmonte. The race for vice mayor will be among Councilor and former vice mayor Gregorio S. Salvador, 2019 mayoral loser Abel M. Suarez, and independent Allan R. Somido, who lost to Mendoza in 2019.
SAN MIGUEL – Touted to be unopposed early on, Mayor Francisco T. Camano Jr. is instead facing three challengers for his third and final term: former mayor Edna R. Bernal, independent Sammy T. Vargas, and Councilor Antonio T. Teves, whose brother is the mayor’s running mate. The contest for vice mayor is also a four-way race, with retired Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Alexander T. Teves up against recently retired police officer Noel C. Morales, Councilor Dante T. Teves and Councilor Rudy T. Torrente.
VIGA – Mayor Emeterio M. Tarin, who was expected to run unopposed, has former mayor Jose C. Torres Jr. as his opponent but pundits see an easy win for the incumbent. Vice Mayor Cesar O. Cervantes is given the same chance against former vice mayor Jennifer M. Tuplano, who lost her bid for the mayor in 2019.
VIRAC – From four candidates in 2019, it will be a three-way race in the capital town in 2022 after former mayors Jose U. Alberto II and Flerida A. Alberto nixed a run in the municipal government and instead fielded their young son, Jan Ferdinand, in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan derby in the West district. Mayor Sinforoso M. Sarmiento Jr. tries for a second term against former mayor Samuel V. Laynes and 2019 last placer Eugenio F. Salimao Jr. who got just 12 votes.
The list of candidates for the 2022 local elections are not yet final, as there could be substitutions by political parties on or before the Nov. 15, 2021 deadline set by COMELEC. But political observers say that any substitution, if one occurs, would likely be in the provincial posts where the stakes, and the campaign expense, are greater.

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