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Zamboanga voters crush Jalosjos dynasty

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ILIGAN CITY—“Yellow fever” finally caught up with the Jalosjos clan during Monday’s midterm elections, frustrating its aggressive appetite for dynastic expansion and trimming its political empire to its modest beginnings in 2001.

But in northern and central Luzon, the elections once again proved the strength of the established dynasties, with political clans in La Union, Ilocos Sur, Isabela and Bataan scoring convincing victories.

Members of the Ortega family in La Union, Dy family in Isabela, Singson family in Ilocos Sur and Garcia family in Bataan overwhelmed their opponents.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, only one of 14 members of the Jalosjos clan managed to clinch an elective seat: Dapitan City Councilor Rosalina Jalosjos-Johnson, elder sister of the patriarch and rape convict Romeo Sr., who won as city mayor.

A son of Romeo Sr., reelectionist Rep. Seth Frederick Jalosjos of the first district, is still fighting to keep his post against challenger Vicente Balisado.

Sources from both the Liberal Party (LP) and the Jalosjos camp said the numbers were too close to call. As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, Seth Frederick led by 1,311 votes as shown in the transparency service of the Commission on Elections (Comelec). One LP source said he might win the race.

In the gubernatorial race in Zamboanga del Norte, Rep. Cesar Jalosjos of the Nacionalista Party was trailing  Team PNoy candidate  Berto Uy of the LP.

All over Zamboanga

For this year’s elections, the clan fielded six members for various posts in Zamboanga del Norte, four in Zamboanga del Sur, two in Zamboanga Sibugay, one in Misamis Occidental, and one in Zamboanga City, with Romeo Sr. himself as candidate.

Unfortunately, his candidacy, along with the bid of his brother Dominador Jr. to run for governor of Zamboanga del Sur, was trashed by the Comelec due to their respective convictions for criminal offenses—robbery for Dominador and rape for Romeo Sr. It was the earliest setback for the clan’s aggressive expansion in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

The Jalosjos family ran under the Nacionalista Party (NP) in Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay, and with the LP in Misamis Occidental and Zamboanga del Sur.

Reelected Dipolog City Mayor Evelyn Tang-Uy credits the strong backing of President Aquino for the LP’s ability to strike a fatal blow on the Jalosjos clan’s grip on local power. Being identified with Team PNoy made it easy for the LP to rally local politicians under its wing, she said.

The clan’s recent defeat in Zamboanga del Norte is a major upset. Along with allies, it has maintained a strong grip on the province, except for Dipolog and the second congressional district.

In Zamboanga del Norte, the LP is led by the longtime alliance of business families Uy and Amatong. In Zamboanga Sibugay, the LP is led by the Hofer family whom the Jalosjos clan dislodged from power in 2010.

But Rommel Jalosjos failed in his reelection bid as governor of Zamboanga Sibugay. He will be replaced by the LP’s Wilter Palma. In the second congressional district, Dulce Ann Hofer won over reelectionist Rep. Romeo Jalosjos Jr.

But the clan failed to use “yellow fever” to its advantage in Zamboanga del Sur and in Baliangao, Misamis Occidental.

In Zamboanga del Sur, it faced the equally entrenched Cerilles dynasty. In Baliangao, Romeo Sr.’s daughter Svetlana squared off with local dynast Agne Yap whom she defeated by a six-vote margin in 2010.

In Dapitan, Rosalina was proclaimed mayor on Tuesday after a grueling electoral battle. She garnered 18,031 votes, trouncing reelectionist mayor, Agapito Cardino, a retired Army colonel.

Her victory signals the Jalosjos clan’s retaking the leadership of Dapitan, the main seat of its dynastic rule as well as flagship businesses. It lost its hold when the Supreme Court voided the 2010 mayoral candidacy of Dominador Jr. because of his conviction with finality for robbery.

Ortegas

In La Union, at least eight Ortegas won in various posts in and outside the province, but two members lost.

Three Ortega brothers were reelected and will serve their third and last terms: Victor as representative of the first district, Manuel (Manoling) as governor, and Pablo as mayor of the capital, San Fernando City.

Another brother, Jose (Pepe), lost to reelectionist Vice Mayor Gualberto Dong in the vice mayoral race in San Fernando.

Family members were divided in their support for the vice mayoral candidate in the city. Pablo and Pepe both ran under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), but Pablo supported Dong while Victor supported Pepe.

“The heads of the city’s 59 villages endorsed Pepe so we supported him,” said former San Fernando Mayor Mary Jane Ortega, Victor’s wife.

Pepe lost by at least 1,700 votes to Dong.

Pablo’s son, Francisco Paulo V, and Manoling’s son, Alfredo, won seats in the city council. Manoling’s other son, Francisco (Pacoy), is likely to get the second seat of the party-list group Abono.

Another Ortega brother, Francisco (Kit), won as provincial board member in the first district.

Another brother, former Baguio police chief Roberto (Bobby) Ortega, won as councilor of Baguio City, while his son, Robert, won as councilor in Manila.

Bobby’s daughter Michelle, however, lost as mayor of Caba, La Union, to incumbent Clyde Crispino by 270 votes.

Mary Jane said Manoling did not support Michelle’s bid because the governor respected the decision of Rep. Eufranio Eriguel on the mayoral candidates in the second district.

“We actually discouraged Michelle from running, telling her we could not support her because of political subdivision. We belong to the first district while Caba is in the second district. But to show our support for her as a family, we attended her rally on May 8 after getting permission from [Eriguel],” Mary Jane said.

Singsons

In Ilocos Sur, the Singsons asserted their political strength in the province as 15 members of the family won despite the absence of outgoing Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson from the races.

Chavit’s sons, Rep. Ryan Luis Singson and former Rep. Ronald Singson, were elected governor and representative of the first district.

Mayors Eva Marie Medina of Vigan City and Germelina Goulart of Caoayan, Chavit’s niece and sister, respectively, were unopposed in their reelection bids.

Chavit’s brother Jeremias was reelected board member, while Eva’s son Carlo and Jeremias’ son John Patrick won seats in the Vigan City Counil.

Chavit’s cousin, former Rep. Eric Singson of the second district, will retake his former seat occupied by his son Eric Jr., who is the top nominee of the party-list group Agrarian Development Association.

Dr. Ericson Singson and Alfonso Singson, Eric’s son and brother, respectively, were unopposed as mayor and vice mayor of Candon City.

Eric’s niece Kristelle topped the Candon City Council race.

The Zaragoza siblings Fayinna, Anicka and Zuriel, who are Eric’s nieces and nephew, also won.

Zuriel was reelected Narvacan mayor while sister Fayinna was unopposed as vice mayor. Anicka won as board member in the second district of Ilocos Sur. A cousin, Jaime, also won.

Dys, Albanos

In Isabela, Gov. Faustino Dy III won his reelection bid against Mario Angelo Padaca, brother of Comelec Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo Padaca. Dy had 253,302 votes against Padaca’s 22,455.

Dy’s brother, reelectionist Rep. Napoleon Dy, was leading former Vice Gov. Ramon Reyes in the second district  congressional race.

Representative Dy’s son, Alicia Vice Mayor Ian Paul Dy, beat incumbent Mayor Cecilia Claire Reyes, the former vice governor’s daughter, in the mayoral race.

Another Dy brother, Faustino “Dondon” Dy IV, was leading the race for board members in the second district.

Dy’s nephew, Faustino Carlos Michael Dy III, won as San Manuel mayor.

The Albanos of Isabela also won in various races in the province.

Vice Gov. Rodolfo Albano III won as representative in the first district while his brother Tonypet won as vice governor. Their father, outgoing Rep. Rodolfo Albano Jr., won as Cabagan mayor.

Outgoing Cabagan Mayor Christopher Mamauag, Albano Jr.’s son-in-law, will serve as vice mayor.

Garcias, Payumos

In Bataan, the Garcias, led by outgoing Gov. Enrique Garcia Jr., won in various races in the province.

Garcia was proclaimed representative of the second district while his son Albert Raymond won as governor.

Another son, Jose Enrique III, won as Balanga City mayor, while Garcia’s daughter Gila won as mayor of Dinalupihan town.

The Payumos, led by former Rep. Felicito Payumo, lost in this year’s elections. Payumo lost in his bid to reclaim his seat in the first congressional district while his nephews, Joel and Jojo, lost in the gubernatorial race and Dinalupihan mayoral race, respectively.

Angaras

The Angaras of Aurora lost their hold on the province’s gubernatorial seat after Baler Mayor Arthur Angara lost to Vice Gov. Jerry Noveras by 9,463 votes.

Angara’s nephew Rommel Rico however, won as vice governor.

Angara’s sister, outgoing Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, won as representative of the lone district that will be vacated by her nephew Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, who is among the winning senatorial candidates.

Arthur replaced his brother, outgoing Sen. Edgardo Angara, in the gubernatorial race after the latter withdrew his candidacy.—With reports from Yolanda Sotelo, Leoncio Balbin Jr. and Villamor Visaya Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon; and Greg Refraccion and Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

Originally posted: 6:20 pm | Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

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