558 bets in local polls unopposed

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - A total of 558 candidates for local positions are running unopposed in the May 9 polls, including re-electionist governors Imee Marcos of Ilocos Norte and Ryan Luis Singson of Ilocos Sur, records of the Commission on Elections showed.

Even the runningmates of Marcos and Singson, vice gubernatorial candidates Eugenio Angelo Barba and Jerry Singson, respectively, are also unopposed. They all belong to the Nationalista Party (NP).

The others are re-electionist Pangasinan 2nd District Rep. Pol Bataoil, Marikina 2nd District Rep. Miro Quimbo, Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Winnie Castelo and Quezon City 5th District Alfred Vargas, all of the Liberal Party, among others.

Comelec records showed that of the 558 posts, 32 are for congressmen, 194 for municipal mayors, 226 for municipal vice mayors, 30 for municipal councilors, 21 for city mayors, 23 for city vice mayors, one for city councilor, 12 for governors, 11 for provincial vice-governors and eight for Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

According to Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, unopposed candidates are not automatic winners as they have to get at least one valid vote.

Record indicated that the Ilocos region had the most number of unopposed candidates with 66, followed by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with 64, Western Visayas with 57, Cordillera Administrative Region 40, Cagayan Valley 39, Mimaropa 38 and Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao and Caraga, with 36 each.

In an interview, veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said that having unopposed candidates could be a result of various factors.

“Sometimes if a candidate is very popular and is known for his good performance, nobody would run against him because that will only be a waste of time and money,” he noted.

Macalintal added that if a candidate is a scion of a political dynasty or a family that has been in control of a locality, “no one would also dare oppose him in an election because they are likely to win anyway.”

“To ensure peaceful elections, having unopposed candidates is good but it leaves the voters with no choice.  It also deprives new leaders an opportunity to run in elections,” he maintained. 



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