Fifty-two (52) out of the 78 incumbent provincial and municipal officials that ran for reelection in the recent May 9, 2022 local elections emerged victorious, final and unofficial data from the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) showed.
The successful incumbents are led by Governor Joseph C. Cua, who becomes the first provincial chief executive to win a third straight term since the late Governor Vicente M. Alberto who ruled the island for 18 years from 1968 to 1986.
The four governors after Alberto all won only one term each, with then Gov. Leandro B. Verceles Jr. winning his second term before his bid to graduate was derailed in 2007 by a former ally, San Andres Mayor Joseph Cua.
The same jinx would haunt Cua, who was defeated by Araceli B. Wong in 2013 while attempting to win his third term.
In the congressional race, Congressman Hector S. Sanchez became the first incumbent in 30 years to lose his reelection bid, buried by an avalanche of votes from former Bato Mayor Eulogio R. Rodriguez.
Previous representatives of the Lone District of Catanduanes – Leandro B. Verceles Jr., Joseph A. Santiago and Cesar V. Sarmiento – all finished three straight terms.
Only one of the three – Verceles – managed to win the governorship, with Santiago and Sarmiento failing badly during their separate, ill-advised battles against Cua in 2010 and 2019, respectively.
Aside from Gov. Cua, the other incumbent chief executives who won reelection are seven (7) out of nine (9) municipal mayors: Juan T. Rodulfo of Bato who ran unopposed, Francisco T. Camano Jr. of San Miguel, Jose Paolo P. Teves III of Baras, Vicente J. Tayam Jr. of Gigmoto, Emeterio M. Tarin of Viga, Cesar J. Robles of Panganiban, and Glenda V. Aguilar of Caramoran.
In a rematch of 2019 races, incumbent Sinforoso M. Sarmiento Jr. of Virac fell to former Mayor Samuel V. Laynes while Pandan Mayor Honesto C. Tabligan II was ousted by former Mayor Raul E. Tabirara
Four of six reelectionist vice mayors also won: the unopposed Roy P. Regalado of Bato, Arlynn H. Arcilla of Virac, Rico T. Tating of Baras, and Eric T. Rodriguez of Pandan.
Incumbent Cesar O. Cervantes of Viga lost to former Vice Mayor Jennifer M. Tuplano while Caramoran’s Chyrrel R. Barro was defeated by incumbent Councilor Ferdinand P. Tioxon Jr.
Of the three vice mayors who ran for their town’s top post, two were successful: Leo Z. Mendoza of San Andres and Odilon F. Pascua of Bagamanoc. The lone vice mayor who lost his bid for mayor is Panganiban’s Remelito S. Cabrera.
At the provincial level, only two (2) of the five (5) incumbent and former officials who ran for higher office achieved victory: the congressman-elect and San Andres Mayor Peter C. Cua who ran for vice governor.
Vice Gov. Shirley A. Abundo lost her gubernatorial bid along with vice gubernatorial bet PBM Natalio C. Popa Jr. while former Baras Mayor Rodel V. Abichuela was third in the race for vice governor.
Four (4) of the five (5) incumbent Provincial Board Members won their respective reelection bids: Robert A. Fernandez of Panganiban, Edwin T. Tanael of Baras, Rafael C. Zuniega of Caramoran and Jose Romeo Francisco of Virac.
Three incumbent municipal councilors threw their hats into the SP arena, with two – Virac’s Francisco and Viga’s Josevan A. Balidoy – winning seats.
Among the 10 first-timers in local politics who ran for board seats, only two of them succeeded: economics graduate Jan Alberto of Virac and US balikbayan Dean Roberto Vergara of Baras.
Alberto, who is the son of former Virac Mayors Jose U. Alberto II and his wife Flerida Antonio-Alberto, is one of two candidates in local races tracing their bloodline to the powerful Alberto clan who reigned in Catanduanes from 1957 to 1986. The other is reelectionist Bato Councilor Joselito T. Alberto.
The winning percentage for political neophytes was a little bit better in the municipal contests, with 21 out of 76 aspirants getting proclaimed. Overall, only one-fourth of the first-timers won.
Of the nine children or relatives of former politicians who filed their candidacies, only four emerged victorious.
Barangay captains and other village officials who joined the municipal races found out just how hard it was to win against established politicians, with only nine (9) out of the 48 declared winners.
Not one barangay official won as councilor in Bagamanoc, Baras, Bato, Gigmoto, and Viga while only one out of nine survived the carnage in Virac where San Roque’s Hazel C. Isidoro topped the race.
Former councilors fared better, with 10 of them – including Virac’s 80-year-old Virgilio Candelaria – winning seats out of the 26 who ran.
Of the two incumbent and former vice mayors who ran for councilor, only one – Concordio delos Santos of Pandan – secured a berth in the Sangguniang Bayan as San Miguel Vice Mayor Angelita Taule placed 9th and short of 351 votes.
Only five retirees will return to public service as elected officials: former police officer and now vice mayor-elect Noel C. Morales of San Miguel, former agriculturist Elmo T. Tusi and retired policeman Willie Dulay of Viga, former nurse Samuel S. Namata of Pandan and retired educator Antonio S. Ogalinola of Baras.
Meanwhile, none of the four media personalities who ran for seats in the SP and municipal councils in Virac and Pandan got enough votes.