Rodriguez, Cua brods post landslide victory

Breaking a three-decade jinx, Governor Joseph Cua won a third and final term by a huge margin, the same definitive victory hacked out in last Monday’s election by his brother, vice gubernatorial bet Peter Cua, and independent congressional candidate Eulogio Rodriguez.

With over 98 percent of Election Returns already in as of early morning of May 10, 2022, the reelectionist governor was leading Vice Governor Shirley Abundo by 49,000 votes.

In the widely-conceded race for vice governor, the San Andres mayor already has 107,000 votes, more than thrice his nearest rival’s.

The Bagong Timpla alliance, however, failed to drag Congressman Hector Sanchez to the finish line as Rodriguez snatched his seat at the House of Representatives by a convincing margin of over 26,000 votes.

Former Rep. Cesar Sarmiento was a poor third while Atty. Oliver Rodulfo had less than 3,000 votes.

The Bagong Timpla likewise secured the majority in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan with six of their candidates winning in the two districts.

PBM Robert Fernandez of Panganiban topped the race in the East, followed by Josevan Balidoy of Viga, Dean Roberto Vergara of Baras, and veteran PBM Edwin Tanael, who edged out Nilo Sanchez of Gigmoto by less than a hundred votes.

In the West, 25-year-old economics graduate Jan Alberto leaned on his good looks, a vigorous house-to-house campaign and political pedigree to garner 49,000 votes as topnotcher in both districts,

Three other old hands in the SP – PBM Santos Zafe, PBM Rafael Zuniega and Virac Councilor Jose Romeo Francisco – also won,

In the mayoral races, former Mayor Samuel Laynes recaptured Virac’s top post by a slim, 2,000-vote margin over incumbent Atty. Sinforoso Sarmiento Jr.

His running mate, Vice Mayor Arlynn Arcilla, briskly fended off a challenge from Councilor Reynante Bagadiong.

The race was much closer in San Andres town where Vice Mayor Leo Mendoza won his second mayoral race against Belmonte barangay captain Rene Avinado.

Councilor Gregorio Salvador also notched a similar victory, as he handily won the  race for vice mayor.

In another closely-watched matchup, in Pandan town, former Mayor Raul Tabirara edged incumbent chief executive Honesto Tabligan II byless than a thousand votes.

Vice Mayor Eric Rodriguez won a second term against Councilor Mary Colyn Santelices.

The campaign in Pandan hinged on alleged corruption issues raised against the incumbent mayor.

In San Miguel, Mayor Francisco Camano Jr. leaned on past experience in beating Councilor Antonio Teves.

His running mate, Teves’ brother Alexander, was just third in the four-man race won by retired police officer Noel Morales.

In Bagamanoc, former Vice Governor Vincent Villaluna failed to keep the seat of his father, Mayor Remigio Villaluna, as he fell to Vice Mayor Odilon Pascua by less than 600 votes.

Former PBM Juan Velchez Jr. replaces Pascua at the Sangguniang Bayan’s top post, defeating Councilor Edwin de Leon.

In the five-way race for mayor in Caramoran, incumbent Glenda Aguilar earned a second straight term, with a 6,000-vote margin over Johnson idanan.

Incumbent Vice Mayor Chyrrel Barro was ousted by Cua-backed Councilor Ferdinand Tioxon Jr.

Panganiban’s incumbent Mayor Cesar Robles also posted a comfortable victory over Vice Mayor Remelito Cabrera but his running mate, Councilor Tito Villamor, was beaten by fellow SB member Arvin Atencia.

Another incumbent, Gigmoto Mayor Vicente Tayam Jr., also secured a second term against former Mayor Armando Guerrero.

But his running mate, Paulo Camacho, got trounced by retired PEO engineer Rodrigo Turado by less than 300 votes.

The same story played out in Viga where Mayor Emeterio Tarin handily beat former Mayor Jose Torres but incumbent Vice Mayor Cesar Cervantes was upset by former Vice Mayor Jennifer Tuplano.

As expected, Baras Mayor Paolo Teves and Vice Mayor Rico Tating retained their posts, along with the only unopposed municipal tandem, Bato Mayor Juan Rodulfo and Vice Mayor Roy Regalado.

Massive vote-buying occurred throughout the province as has been the case in previous elections.

The Bagong Timpla slate allegedly gave a total of P1,600 for their supporters but the P1,000 allocated for Cong. Sanchez failed to sway constituents who had criticized the solon for staying in Metro Manila for nearly a year during the pandemic.

On the other hand, the Rodriguez camp reportedly distributed P700 each in all 11 towns.

The mayoral races were also marked by vote-buying, topped by the P3,000 per voter allegedly given in San Miguel by the camp of Mayor  Camano against Councilor Teves’s P2,500.

In the capital town, Laynes voters received P1,000 each while Sarmiento supporters got P100 each, with an additional P200 given away in selected barangays in a so-called “special operations.”

Candidates for provincial board members gave away cash of as much as P70 each, pails of household goods, shampoo, over-the-counter drugs, detergent and other items.

Those seeking seats in the Sangguniang Bayan also did the same, with some resource-rich bets buying votes for P100 to P150. No one was arrested for the election offense.

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