Kalayaan mayor faces 2 challengers
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - October 28, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The 223 voters in the lone barangay in the Kalayaan Island Group in the Spratlys face three choices for mayor.

As maritime tension is mounting in the Spratlys, so too is election fever in the country’s smallest town.

This developed after newly retired Navy commander Rodrigo Jaca and Pag-asa barangay captain Roberto del Munto decided to challenge the leadership of Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon, who is running for his third and last term.

“Everything happened when I left for the United States. While I was away, I entrusted everything, including our political plan for next year’s elections, to my local leaders, only to find out upon my return that our barangay captain is running against me,” Bito-onon said.

He was quick to add, however, that the political development is part of the democratic process.

Bito-onon left for the US late last month upon the invitation of US-Pinoys for Good Governance chaired by US-based philanthropist Loida Lewis for the launching of the Kalayaan Island Eco-Tourism Program.

Bito-onon said that before he left for the US, there was talk that he would have a challenger.

“I’ve been hearing about it already. I’m just surprised that I have two opponents. But it’s perfectly normal in Philippine politics. Even in our tiniest islet out here, politics is also at play,” he said.

Bito-onon said that he learned that one mayoralty contender is running under the United National Alliance of Vice President Jejomar Binay while the other is running as an independent.

He said that it is up to the 223 registered voters in their town to decide who is worthy to be elected.

ACIRC GOOD GOVERNANCE KALAYAAN ISLAND ECO-TOURISM PROGRAM KALAYAAN ISLAND GROUP KALAYAAN MAYOR EUGENIO BITO LOIDA LEWIS RODRIGO JACA AND PAG SPRATLYS UNITED NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF VICE PRESIDENT JEJOMAR BINAY UNITED STATES WHILE I
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