Cebu gubernatorial race down to 3-way fight as Abag-Promdi backs out
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The gubernatorial race in Cebu is down to a three-way fight after several bets backed out during the last day of the filing of substitution on November 15.
Abag-Promdi’s gubernatorial candidate, Martin Mari Lozada, withdrew his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) on November 15, just 10 minutes shy from the 5 p.m. deadline.
Aside from Lozada, a Dalaguete-based pastor named Pablo Olmeda also junked his COC to run as governor independently and without naming anyone to substitute.
Like Olmeda, Lozada submitted his statement of withdrawal without nominating any substitute.
“It means that Abag-Promdi, wala nay gubernatorial candidate,” said Lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano, Provincial elections supervisor of the Commission on Elections-Cebu (Comelec-Cebu).
As a result, incumbent Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, former Tourism Secretary Joseph Felix Mari ‘Ace’ Durano, and a certain Nonito Magnanao will face off in the May 2022 elections.
It can be recalled that there were speculations of Abag-Promdi possibly fielding former Pinamungajan Mayor, Dr. Geraldine Yapha, as their candidate for governor in Cebu.
This developed after Presidential aspirant, Senator Manny Pacquiao, floated the possibility of Yapha gunning for the province’s top post under their group.
Pacquiao is the ‘honorary chairperson’ of Abag-Promdi, the political party created by late Cebu Governor Emilio Mario ‘Lito’ Osmeña.
Yapha, on the other hand, is its national executive vice president.
When it comes to substitution for the elections, candidates will have to outrightly nominate someone else once they recall their COCs.
“Even if the substituting candidate will come here after the withdrawing candidate filed his documents, and if there’s no nomination done upon withdrawal, there’s no substitution made,” Castillano explained in a mix of English and Cebuano.
Based on Comelec-Cebu’s tally, a total of five candidates — from Provincial Board to Congress — decided not to proceed with running in next year’s elections.
Two of them, both from Abag-Promdi, nominated someone else to run in the position they initially selected.
Incumbent Pinamungajan Councilor Jephthah Yapha will be replacing Romero Jimenez Jr. as the party’s candidate for Board Member in the 3rd District.
Jimenez withdrew his COC last Saturday, Comelec records showed.
Aspiring 3rd District Board Member Emmanuel Birao also backed out, and nominated Gayle Opsima-Birao as his substitute.
Candidates can still withdraw their COCs beyond November 15, but no substitution will be allowed, said Castillano.
Should they withdraw beyond December 15, their name will still appear in the ballots.
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