Peaceful COC filing in provinces

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LEGAZPI CITY: The first day of filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COC) in the provinces was peaceful with many prominent names in Albay, Quezon, Iloilo, Cavite and Basilan trooping to the regional offices of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

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Outgoing Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, clad in a yellow t-shirt, filed his COC at the Comelec provincial office without fanfare at 11 a.m. on Monday. He is running for Congress in the second district of Albay.

He was accompanied by reelectionist Vice Gov. Harold Imperial, members of the provincial board, mayoral candidates in the second district and municipal councilors.

Salceda told The Manila Times a mutual unity ticket was sealed between the Liberal Party and the Nacionalista Party in the province that would support the candidacy of Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas and his running mate Rep. Leni Robredo.

The notable political players in Albay were Representatives Fernando Gonzalez (3rd District), Al Francis Bichara of Nationalista Party (2nd District), former representative Edcel Lagman (1st District).

Reelectionist Quezon Gov. David Suarez is the fifth candidate who filed his COC and he was accompanied by his wife, Anna Villaraza-Suarez, his legal counsel Vic Joyas and some of his assistants at the Comelec office at 10 a.m.

Meanwhile, the first who filed at the Quezon Comelec is Isidro Dator, an independent candidate running for provincial board member in the 1st district of Quezon. Dator filed at 8:10 a.m., followed by Celso Arit at 8:40 a.m. who is a member of the Liberal Party, is running for provincial board member in the 4th district.

In Lucena City, Mayor Roderick “Dondon” Alcala was the earliest filer together with incumbent Vice Mayor is Philip Castillo and councilors.

“May the best man win. I just want to offer myself because people are clamoring for my services and I want to continue the legacy of my father,” said La Union Provincial Board member and independent candidate Manuel Ortega Jr. who will be facing his uncle, outgoing San Fernando City Mayor Pablo Ortega in the First District congressional race.

Pablo is being endorsed by his elder brother outgoing 1st District Representative Victor Ortega who is running for the mayoral position to possibly replace Pablo.

La Union Gov. Manuel Ortega has endorsed his son, Abono party-list Representative Francisco Emmanuel “Pacoy” Ortega 3rd, as his successor.

Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla, Imus City Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi and 3rd District Rep. Alex Advincula filed their COCs after they attended the concelebrated mass led by Imus Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista.

Only three candidates in Iloilo City filed their COC for councilor on Monday.

At 8:15 a.m., incumbent city councilor Joshua Alim of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) filed his COC followed by Dr. Candice Tupas, wife of outgoing City Councilor Nielex Tupas and independent candidate Rommel Ynion.

No candidate yet has filed a COC in Ormoc City for any position at the local Comelec office. City Comelec Registrar lawyer Ramon Dadulla Jr. said candidates usually file their COCs on the second day of filing.

Stephen Roy Cañete, first district election officer, told the Philippines News Agency that no one filed his COC in Zamboanga City on Monday maybe because the city is celebrating the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar.

In Mindanao region, former Deputy Speaker for Mindanao, Abdulgani Salapuddin, led politicians in filing their candidacy while Basilan Rep. Jim Saliman also filed his candidacy for the provincial governor.

Saliman is the younger brother of Mujiv Hataman, the governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

Isabela City Vice Mayor Abdulbaki Ajibon is running for mayor against Al-Qaid Akbar, the son of Basilan Gov. Jum Akbar who is running for a congressional seat.

Meanwhile, Isabela City Mayor Cherry Akbar, who is on her third and last term, is gunning for the vice mayoralty race.

In Lamitan City also in Basilan—one of the five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region—Mayor Rose Furigay is also seeking re-election.

In the Muslim province of Sulu, the Gov. Toto Tan is also running again for the same post probably unopposed.

WITH ROBERT DEJON, WILLIAM JUN GARCIA, AL JACINTO, ROGELIO LIMPIN, BELLY OTORDOZ, LYDIA PENDON AND PNA

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