COCKTALES | Ex-PAL prexy battles a Duavit for Congress; GMA, Chavit, Toby, Floirendo run unopposed
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Retired Philippine Airlines president Avelino Zapanta has been bitten by the political bug quite seriously. He had decided to go in his very first political foray, right in his Rizal hometown, against the very established Duavit family.
Zapanta, 73, is running as representative of the province's first district towns of Cainta, Taytay (where Zapanta hails from), Angono and Binangonan against the returning, three-term (2001-2010) congressman, Michael John "Jack" Duavit.
The current congressman, Duavit's younger brother, Joel Roy, has decided to no longer seek a third term.
Currently a director of GMA Network, Jack Duavit, 45, had served as vice chairman of the House committees on economic affairs, appropriations, and trade and industry.
Duavit's father, Gilberto Sr., had served as congressman during the Marcos, Ramos and Estrada years, aside from being a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention.
Like Zapanta, Jack Duavit also happens to be a board regent of the University of Rizal System.
Zapanta himself offers a one-line explanation on his website for his decision to take the political plunge, running as independent: "In the twilight of my existence, I hope to take part in the construction of strong monuments of goodness for our country."
No campaigning, but already winners
Banana heir Antonio Floirendo Jr. is not only blessed with good fortune and a beauty queen wife, the former congressman is even returning to his legislative district unopposed.
Tony Boy Floirendo will be replacing his nephew, third-termer Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Lagdameo Jr. The only hitch: the comebacking congressman is suffering from an undisclosed ailment, apparently serious enough that Forbes Park's Santuario de San Antonio Parish is asking the faithful for prayers.
Over at the north, Edsa II hero Luis "Chavit" Singson will play second fiddle to his son, reelectionist Ilocos Sur Gov. Ryan Luis Singson, after deciding not to reclaim his old seat but instead slide down to vice governor. Both father and son are running unopposed for the 2016 elections.
In Pampanga, Inquirer columnist and sociology professor Randolf David chose prudence over valor on his famous threat to contest the congressional seat of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; the former president is now seeking her third and last term unopposed.
In Metro Manila, opposition spokesman Toby Tiangco is waltzing by his lonesome self to his last term as Navotas representative. Ditto with his brother, Navotas Mayor John Rey Tiangco.
Elsewhere, the following incumbents and candidates have also built such formidable strongholds over their respective territories that not a single soul has mounted even a token opposition:
• Mountain Province Gov. Leonard Mayaen and Rep. Maximo Dalog;
• Apayao Gov. Elias Bulut Jr. and his sister, Rep. Eleanor Bulut-Begtang;
• Aurora Gov. Gerardo Noveras;
• Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil;
• Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda and San Fernando Mayor Edwin Santiago;
• Bataan Gov. Albert Garcia and his father, vice governatorial candidate Enrique Garcia.
The Garcia patriarch, who is on his last term as congressman, will in turn be replaced by another son, graduating Balanga City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III.
To complete the rigodon, youngest son, SBMA director Francis Garcia, will step up, also unopposed, to become Balanga mayor.
A sister, current Dinalupihan Mayor Gila Garcia, is not as lucky, as she will be running against former Dinalupihan mayor Lucy Payumo, who, according to the political chatter from the peninsula, will be replaced at the last-minute by no less than the Garcias' long-time rival, former congressman and SBMA chairman Feliciano "Tong" Payumo.
• Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop and Rizal Rep. Isidro Rodriguez Jr.;
• Santa Rosa, Laguna Mayor Arlene Garcia and Rep. Dan Fernandez are trading positions, with both running unopposed.
Incumbent Binan Mayor Marlyn Alonte-Naguiat has also won the electoral jackpot this early, ending her third term to become the city's first congressional representative, with no one standing up against her.
• Imus Rep. Alex Advincula and Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino;
• Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Representatives Leo Rafael Cueva and Mercedes Alvarez; and
• Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles.
The new province of Davao Occidental also has a lone candidate for governor, Claude Bautista, who is relinquishing his first-term governorship of Davao del Sur in exchange for the honor of being the founding chief executive of the new province.
His sister, Lorna Bautista-Bantigan, is also running unopposed as the province's congressional representative, her first electoral venture.
Another sibling, incumbent Davao del Sur Rep. Franklin Bautista, has also decided to forego his House seat and is instead running for vice governor under his brother, also unopposed.
Another brother, Malita Mayor Joseph Bautista, has also decided to slide down as vice mayor, also unopposed, to give way to a nephew, Bradley Bautista, likewise running without an opponent.
Over in North Cotabato, the local media has all but declared Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza as reelected since only one has dared to contest her candidacy, a tricycle driver who had picked up only 100 out of the nearly 70,000 votes when he ran for Kidapawan mayor in the 2013 elections.
Heard through the grapevine
The inheritance feud roiling the Tambunting family has re-ignited.
The Supreme Court of New York has scheduled an appellate hearing today, November 23, against pawnshop patriarch Jose Tambunting Jr., whose ownership claim on an Upper East Side apartment is still being contested by his daughters Aurora and Maria Regina despite their father having already won the bitter legal battle at the lower court.
Email Vic Agustin at firstname.lastname@example.org.