CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – It is either victory or defeat for local candidates endorsed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte proving that not all who got the presidential blessing were assured of winning in the just concluded midterm elections.
In this city, for instance, Mayor Oscar Moreno and his running mate, Vice Mayor Raineir Joaquin Uy, who are both reelectionists and are on their last term, were able to retain their posts, while most of their allies also won, notably Girlie Balaba, who was heavily endorsed by the President himself.
In the recent campaign sorties, Duterte personally asked Moreno to help Balaba and congressional bet Yan Lam Lim. Lim, however, lost to Rufus Rodriguez.
Even presidential daughter and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has also thrown her support to Balaba.
Moreno and his partymates belong to the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the party headed by Duterte.
Rodriguez, national president of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP), has forged an alliance with the Padayon Pilipino, founded by the late Vicente “Dongkoy” Emano, and the Davao City-based regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP).
HNP fielded Jose Gabriel “Pompee” La Viña for the mayoral race, with Emano’s daughter Nadya Emano-Elipe, who replaced her deceased father, as his running mate. Both lost to their opponents Moreno and Uy, respectively.
Both camps have the Presidential endorsement. La Viña showed on social media photos of Duterte raising his hand, while Duterte called up Moreno on two occasions in the middle of political rallies here, asking the local chief executive to help Balaba and Lim win.
Based on the latest canvassing results by the city board of canvassers, Moreno won with 159,172 votes, while La Viña got 90,834. Independent mayoral candidates Felix Borres Jr. and Ben Contreras garnered 1,011 and 1,000, respectively.
For the vice mayoralty, Uy got 142,817 votes; Emano-Elipe, 101,217 votes.
Balaba, a known friend of the Duterte family and a first-time political bet, mustered the second highest votes among the city councilor candidates, with 74,568 votes. She followed Edna Dahino, who got 80,224 votes.
Cagayan de Oro has 345,358 registered voters with 401 clustered precincts.
Days before the election, Moreno was the target of disinformation when fake orders supposedly coming from the Commission on Elections and the Sandiganbayan disqualified him.
Moreno’s camp accused La Viña as behind the spread of the Comelec and Sandiganbayan orders on social media, which the former Social Security Services official flatly denied.
In his campaign speeches, La Viña called Moreno “kawatan,” (thief) alluding to the number of graft cases the incumbent mayor is facing at the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan, many of which were already dismissed by the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Appeals.
La Viña also tagged Moreno as “the most anti-Duterte mayor in the country” despite the fact that Moreno and Duterte belong to the same political party.
In Misamis Oriental, where there are 624,030 voters, Emano’s son Yevgeny Vicente retained his gubernatorial post, but his running mate and brother-in-law President Elipe lost.
The younger Emano garnered 250,433 votes. His opponent Julio Uy got 198,197 votes. A third candidate Manuel Po garnered 3,221 votes.
For the vice gubernatorial race, Jeremy Pelaez won with 213,115 votes, while Elipe got 184,352 votes.
Meanwhile, in Malabang, Lanao del Sur, the more than five decades rule of the Balindong clan was challenged by Mohammad Yahya “Tomas” Macapodi.
Macapodi won by 9,379 votes. His rivals Rusty Balindong and Arrie Balindong got 3,717 and 2,115 votes, respectively.
Rocky Ali, Macapodi’s running mate who ran for vice mayor, also won by 6,443 votes, against Ahl Balindong, 3,221; Alexander Balindong, 2,682; and Aksara Balindong, 2,447.
It was reported that the Balindongs held political positions in Malabang for 53 years.
The incumbent Malabang officials are composed mostly of the members of the Balindong clan, except for one. (davaotoday.com)