LAOAG CITY – At least 10 of the 23 newly-elected city and municipal mayors of Ilocos Norte are new faces, five are coming back while eight others, mostly run unopposed, secured their top posts in Monday’s polls.
With a voter turnout of more than 80 percent or 309,755 out of the 378,786 total registered voters in the province, almost all the elected new mayors are backed by the Nacionalista Party under the administration of unopposed Governor Imee Marcos and cousin Vice Governor Angelo Barba.
One of the fresh and new faces is incoming board member in Ilocos Norte who is expected to secure the senior board member spot is the governor’s youngest son, Matthew Joseph Manotoc, 27, of Ilocos Norte’s second district next to Ria Christina Fariñas, daughter of re-elected Congressman Rodolfo Fariñas of the province’s first district.
Former first lady Imelda Marcos also secured her bid for re-election as unopposed representative of the second district.
In a tight mayoralty race in Solsona, town councilor Alex Calucag won over incumbent mayor Jonathan de Lara.
Solsona is one of the eight towns here declared as election watch list areas (EWAs) by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) owing to election-related incidents that happened here including Calucag’s attempted murder by still unidentified armed men when he along with his police bodyguard was ambushed on a broad daylight in Solsona town last year.
Paoay Vice Mayor Jessie Galano also had a neck-to-neck race with the old and former mayor Bonifacio Clemente but the latter lost by a few hundred votes to Galano in the local elections.
Galano’s rise to politics can be attributed to his long time support to the Marcoses and the Clemente’s of Paoay until they became strange this election.
Engineer and Provincial Board member Albert Chua also won in Batac City against his intense rival, City Mayor Allan Nalupta. Nalupta’s cousin, outgoing mayor Jeffrey Jubal Nalupta run unopposed for the vice mayoralty position alongside with Chua.
The old time political clan of Badoc – Thomas and wife Arlene Torralba who had been swapping positions for the town’s executive posts – were also lost to former town councilor Maximo Cajigal and running mate Alwyn Rubio.
In Pasuquin town, outgoing mayor Felix Aguinaldo Jr. lost to his brother Ferdinand by over 2,000 votes.
Other new mayors include outgoing Vice Mayor Remigio Medrano of Sarrat, Larisa Foronda of Vintar, Rosalia Dupagen of Adams, Fidel Cimatu of Bangui and Georgina Salazar-Guillen of Piddig.
The towns of Burgos, Currimao, Dumalneg, Nueva Era and San Nicolas will also welcome the comeback of their former mayors namely: Rodolfo Garcia, Rosario Go, Francis Espiritu, Caroline Garvida and Alfredo Valdez Jr. Re-elect mayors Nicomedes dela Cruz of Bacarra, Carlito Abadilla Jr. of Banna, Erdio Valenzuela of Dingras, Arsenio Agustin of Marcos, Marlon Sales of Pagudpud, Samuel Pagdilao of Pinili,Rene Gaspar of Carasi and Chevylle Fariñas of Laoag City secured their existing executive posts.
Marred by some machine glitches, reported vote buying and harassment by some local candidates and their supporters, the Philippine National Police said the conduct of the May 9 elections was generally peaceful and orderly in the province with no reported election-related offenses.
As of this posting, the Provincial Board of Canvassers have yet to receive all election returns from various precincts due to poor internet signal while the Comelec is now preparing the official proclamation of all winners in the local elections.