Nueva Ecija elects first female governor

Manny Galvez - The Philippine Star

CABANATUAN CITY, Philippines – The 2016 elections ushered in a new era for the province of Nueva Ecija with the election of its first female governor and four ladies as representatives in Congress.

“With a female governor and four congresswomen, Nueva Ecija has lost its Wild West-like image and machismo. Women politicians are fast making their way to public office,” board member Joseph Ortiz said.

Rep. Czarina Umali, a third-term lawmaker, won the gubernatorial post by over 215,000 votes, defeating former fourth district congressman Rodolfo Antonino.

Umali succeeded where three other women gubernatorial aspirants before her failed, two of whom were former congresswomen.

No woman had served as governor of Nueva Ecija. The closest to have come to the capitol seat was Inday Melencio as vice governor.

Umali had the support of the sitting governor, a privilege not enjoyed by the three previous female gubernatorial aspirants.

The four women who won seats in Congress were Estrellita Suansing for the first district; Micaela Violago for the second; Rosanna Vergara, third, and Magnolia Antonino, fourth district.

Suansing and Antonino are reelectionists while Violago and Vergara are political newbies, aided by their husbands who are both incumbents.

Suansing won over comebacking Rep. Josie Manuel-Joson while Violago defeated her brother-in-law, Joselito Violago.

Vergara stopped Gov. Aurelio Umali’s attempt to recover his seat in Congress while Antonino defeated a board member and a three-term mayor.

Ortiz said with women in power, Nueva Ecija, known for its history of political violence, is shedding its image as a macho country.

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