Sun sets on some political families


The magic of the Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) name lingers and remains strong more than eight years after his death. There can be no other reason for the surprisingly strong showing of Grace Poe in the senatorial race despite her lack of political experience. Why, she’s even doing better at press time than the surveys’ perennial No. 1 Loren Legarda and No. 2 Chiz Escudero, her campaign manager!

Grace Poe is No. 1 in many Mindanao provinces and in my home province of Nueva Ecija. My province gave the biggest margin of votes in the entire country to FPJ over Gloria Maca­pagal Arroyo in 2004, and also to Erap Estrada over Jose de Venecia in 1998.

Jinggoy Estrada was No. 1 in Nueva Ecija in 2004 and 2010 but his half-brother is in the bottom half of the winning circle as of press time.

Incidentally, while Novo Ecijanos were the top supporters of FPJ, virtually none joined the protests against the alleged cheating done by GMA to win the 2004 election. This was because counting there was relatively clean and because the protests were conducted while farmers were busy tending to their rice fields. Politics had to take a back seat insofar as Novo Ecijanos are concerned.

Still on Nueva Ecija, it looks like the sun is setting on the Joson family whose dominance started in 1953 with the election of patriarch Eduardo Joson as governor. Rep. Josie Joson lost by a huge margin to reelectionist Gov. Oyie Umali. Her brother-in-law, Ding Liit Joson lost to reelectionist Vice Gov. Gay Padiernos. Her husband, former Vice Gov. Cristino
“Boyet” Joson, looks set to be edged out by Ging Suansing of the Umali group in the second congressional district, the only district won by a Joson (Josie) in 2010. Now, it looks like the stronghold of the Josons is limited to their hometown of Quezon where Dean Joson is mayor.

The eclipse of the Josons doesn’t mean Novo Ecijanos are against political dynasties. Governor Umali’s wife, Cherry Umali was reelected as congressman in the third district, winning over UNA firebrand JV Bautista.

Based on partial unofficial returns of the Comelec, the sun also appears to be setting on the Garcia family in Cebu, one of the most influential during the tenure of GMA. Rep. Pablo John Garcia of the National Unity Party is behind LP’s Hilarion Davide 3rd by 16 percent. Reelectionist Rep. Pablo Garcia of the second district, the family patriarch and former governor, is trailing Willy Caminero of the LP. Suspended Gov. Gwen Garcia has a small lead over Geraldine Yapha in the second district.

Oh yes, congratulations to veteran lawmaker Raul del Mar of the Liberal Party who is way ahead of his nearest rival by almost 4-1 margin in the first congressional district of Cebu City. Congratulations, too, to former congressman and reelectionist Mayor Junie Martinez, LP, of Bogo City. The province and city of Cebu could well be said to be a Liberal country.

The only fly in the ointment is the strong showing of reelectionist Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama over Rep. and former mayor Tommy Osmena.

The Dazas of Northern Samar also appear to be losing their grip on the province. The family patriarch, Gov. Raul Daza, is behind his erstwhile ally former Rep. Harlin Aba­yon, in the first district, while his son, Rep. Paul Daza trails former Rep. Jose Ong Jr. in the race for governor. Jun Ong’s brother, Emil, is winning reelection in the second congressional district without a sweat. I wonder if the declaration by the New People’s Army of the Dazas as “enemies of the people” had any bearing on the election results.

Meanwhile, the Garcias of Bataan appear set to cement their domination of provincial politics. Again, based on partial, unofficial Comelec results, Rep. Abet Garcia is on his way to the capitol to succeed his father Tet. Tet may also gain the distinction of being the only winner without spending even a day of campaigning. He’s enjoying a wide margin over former Gov. Ding Roman in the second congressional district although he has been confined to a wheelchair since he suffered from a stroke in December 2011. A son, Joet Garcia, easily won reelection as mayor of Balanga City. The most surprising win was registered by daughter Gila who defeated former Mayor Jose Payumo of Dinalupihan. This town was long considered a Payumo country until Gila, who transferred to the locality only a few years ago, ended the family’s political supremacy.

The Mercados of Southern Leyte have also stamped their leadership in the province. Rep. Oging Mercado won as governor while his brother, Gov. Damian Mercado won as congressman.


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