BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: Political families in Cagayan Valley are expected to prevail in the 2016 elections.
Their reign is assured, no matter what the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines states in Article II, Section 26, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”
Cagayan Valley is composed of the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela and Cagayan, collectively Region 2, in Northern Luzon.
In landlocked Nueva Vizcaya, Carlos Padilla and his wife Ruth, who won the lone congressional seat and the governorship, respectively, in the May 2013 elections, will both join next year’s race.
This time, the congressman will run for governor and his wife for either congresswoman representing the lone district of Nueva Vizcaya or for mayor of Solano town, according to a political adviser close to the Padillas who requested anonymity.
The congressman is completing his third successive term and his wife, her first term as governor but unlikely to run for reelection.
Now in his early 70s, Padilla’s successful reelection bid in the last polls made him the longest-serving congressman in the province’s political history.
He was a member of the Batasang Pambansa under the Marcos regime from 1978 to 1984.
In the 2013 elections, Padilla beat his long-time ally turned fierce rival, three-term Gov. Luisa Cuaresma, for an unprecedented 29th year in the House of Representatives where he was also a member in 1987 to 1992, then from 1995 to 2004.
In 2007, he reclaimed the post, which he has since held.
Next year, Cuaresma is expected to run again for the lone congressional seat in the province, but this time against Ruth if the latter opts to run for the seat to be vacated by her husband.
But if the governor chooses to run for Solano mayor, which will soon to be the first city of in the province, Cuaresma may find an opponent in an ally of the Padillas, sitting vice governor Epifanio Lambert Galima who defeated three-term vice governor and lawyer Edgardo Balgos, also a former provincial administrator under Cuaresma’s governorship.
Again to run under the ticket of Cuaresma, who was fielded by the United Nationalist Alliance coalition during the last elections, is lawyer Jose Gambito, another three-term vice governor, who will run again for governor for the second time, and Balgos, also for a second try for the vice governor’s post.
Padillas’ allies in the Nacionalista Party, majority of whom were backed by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ), dominated the last elections.
In the province of Isabela, the country’s third-largest province, the Dys also strengthened their political grip as their scions and allies dominated their rivals from te Liberal Party (LP) in the May 2013 elections.
They do not see this time any opposition from any party.
In the 2013 elections, Gov. Faustino Dy 3rd of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) was reelected overwhelmingly over former governor Grace Padaca’s brother, Marlo Angelo Padaca, for his second term.
It is expected, however, that former Commission on Elections Commissioner Padaca will run for governor under the Liberal Party against Dy next year while her ally, former vice governor Edwin Uy, will go against the sitting vice governor, Tonypet Albano, a former RPN 9 television executive.
Uy lost the elections against Ana Cristina Go for congressman representing the second district of Isabela.
The governor’s brother, Rep. Napoleon Dy, who was also reelected to a second term as congressman of Isabela’s third congressional district, may run again against former congressman Ramon Reyes, who served as vice governor during Padaca’s six-year incumbency as governor.
Dy’s running mate then, Tonypet Albano, brother of then outgoing Vice Gov. Rodito Albano in 2013, won the vice governorship race.
Also, Rodito Albano reclaimed his old seat as representative of the fourth district.
Their father, outgoing congressman in 2013 Rodolfo Jr., one of the few remaining active politicians in the region, is expected to retain mayorship of their hometown of Cabagan, a post long held by son-in-law Christopher Mamauag, now the town’s vice mayor-elect.
The Dys and Albanos are long-time political allies.
They belong to the Nationalist People’s Coalition headed by former governor Faustino Dy Jr., the eldest among the scions of the late Faustino Dy Sr., Isabela’s longest-serving governor.
Until now, there is none appearing to be strong challengers to the Dys.
In 2013, the Dys bagged the mayoralty post of Cauayan City, the family’s hometown.
Bernard Faustino Dy, son of the late city mayor Benjamin Dy, run unopposed for the city’s top post.
Another Dy scion, Faustino 4th, also won a seat in the provincial board.
Two other scions of the Dys, Michael Faustino Dy, son of former governor Faustino Sr.; and Ian Faustino Dy, son of congressman Napoleon Dy, also ruled the mayoralty races in the towns of San Manuel and Alicia, respectively, in the 2013 elections.
In Quirino province, it is very likely that the father and son tandem of Gov. Junie Cua and Rep. Carlo Dakila Cua will again be unopposed in their reelection bids in the 2016 polls.
The elder Cua had served as congressman for three successive terms before he swapped positions with his son in 2010.
In Cagayan, it is expected that the husband-and-wife tandems of Marilyn and Washington Taguinod of Peñablanca town, Juditas and Ferdinand Trinidad of Iguig town and Violeta and Vincent Unite of Ballesteros town, mayors and vice mayors, respectively, will again win for lack of strong bets coming from the opposition.
Other Cagayan families who are also expected to dominate again in their turfs are the father and son team of Mayor Florante Pascual and Oliver, both reelected in 2013 as mayor and vice mayor, respectively, in Lallo town; mayor-elect Kim Turingan, and father, Robert, now the vice-mayor-elect of Enrile town; and the unopposed first-degree Nolasco cousins, Matthew and Danilo, now the mayor-elect and vice mayor-elect of Gattaran town.
Also in Isabela, expected to maintain their political rule are couples Crispina and Roberto Agcaoili (a former three-term mayor), as mayor and vice mayor, respectively, in San Mateo town and in Reina Mercedes town, Bong and Malou Respicio, also as mayor and vice mayor, respectively.
Members of the Kiat family of Echague town are again expected to retain their political supremacy with the election of the mother and daughter tandem of Melinda and Liza Katrina as mayor and vice mayor, respectively, and so with the father and son team of Anjo and Antonio Miro of San Pablo town.
Also expected to be keeping their posts are the Talaue brothers, LA and Eddie, mayor and vice mayor, respectively, of Santo Tomas, which their family has dominated for two decades now.