BACOLOD CITY – Four congressional candidates, including three incumbents, as well as six reelectionist board members in Negros Occidental are running unopposed.
This was based on the list released by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) after the filing of the certificates of candidacy (COCs) officially ended at 5 p.m. on Friday.
The candidates who filed their COCs belong to the National People’s Coalition (NPC), National Unity Party (NUP), Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas CMD), Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS), Reform PH-People’s Party, and United Negros Alliance (Unega).
With no opponents in the congressional race are reelectionists Gerardo Valmayor Jr. (1st District, NPC) and Juliet Ferrer (4th District, NUP/Unega), as well as outgoing Sagay City Mayor Alfredo Marañon III (2nd District, NUP/Unega) and former House of Representatives deputy speaker Mercedes Alvarez (6th District, NPC).
“We will continue our projects and programs, the infrastructures, and social services. We are now delivering major programs from the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority,” Ferrer said in an interview after her COC filing.
For infrastructure projects, those not yet completed will be continued in the next term, she added.
For board members, those running unopposed are Rommel Debulgado and Araceli Somosa (1st District, both NPC); Sixto Guanzon Jr. and Samson Mirhan (2nd District, Unega and NPC/Unega, respectively); and Valentino Miguel Alonso and Jeffrey Tubola (6th District, NPC).
In other posts, incumbent Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson (NPC) is being challenged by former Bacolod City lone district representative Juan “John” Orola Jr. (PDDS) and independent Ma. Socorro Sibulan Okada.
Running against Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer (NUP/Unega) is independent Jonry Gargarita.
In the 3rd District, incumbent Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez’s challenger is Bernard Ferraris of the Reform PH – People’s Party while board members Andrew Montelibano and Manuel Frederick Ko are running against independents Antonio Barello Jr. and Junee Occida.
Over at the 4th District, board member Jose Benito Alonso (NUP/Unega) is seeking reelection, along with newbie party mate Andrew Martin Torres, and is also up against Cleo Gaudite of PDDS.
In the 5th District, incumbent Rep. Maria Lourdes Arroyo (Lakas-CMD/Unega), sister-in-law of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is being challenged by independents Emilio Bernardino “Dino” Yulo, former vice governor and board member of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, and former village chief Anthony “Macoy” Javelosa of Aguisan, Himamaylan City.
Board member Rita Gatuslao (Unega) is seeking reelection with five others eyeing the remaining post, including Hernan Gatuslao Vista (NPC), Pete Bolaño (PDDS), Rolito Espinosa (Lakas-CMD), and independents Anthony Occeño and Patrick Montilla. (PNA)