What happened in the Seventh District?
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - May 25, 2019 - 12:00am

Yes, Congressman Peter Calderon is still invincible. The outcome of the last mid-term elections, as predicted by us, resulted in his victory over the ill-prepared, hurriedly-pushed younger brother of governor-elect Gwendolyn Garcia, Nelson. But Gwen won convincingly while Salimbangon was badly beaten by Junjun Davide.

While Gwen performed very well in this district, home to the Garcias, Nelson lost badly to the well-loved, well-organized and well-funded Duranos, Calderons, and a nephew of outgoing governor Agnes Magpale. Calderon’s only regret was not being able to carry to victory his party mate and close relative, Magpale. In Dumanjug, Magpale got 13,721 and Gwen got 13,707 votes. It was only 14 votes plurality, but it should be very painful to the Garcias as Noy Pabling was born in Bitoon, Dumanjug, but its incumbent barangay captain, Gwen's own first-degree cousin, supported the NPC.

Nelson was supposed to perform well because the Garcias supposedly controlled Dumanjug. He also had the support of Mayor Carmencita Lumain of Badian, although she still ran under NPC. Calderon trounced Nelson in Dumanjug, Ronda, Alcantara, Moalboal, Malabuyoc Badian, Alegria, and Ginatilan, but not in Malabuyoc where Nelson won by a measly seven votes, getting 5,196 votes to Calderon's 5,189. Overall, Calderon got a total of 71,123 votes or 66.30% against Garcia's only 36,147 or 33.70%. Calderon got 15,467 in Badian with Nelson biting the dust with only 1,677. Lumain only carried Gwen apparently. Or was there a deal between Lumain and Calderon?

Calderon also won over Garcia in Dumanjug, where Peter got 15,308 over Nelson's 10,765. That was a very bad setback for the Garcias in their own hometown. Garcia's candidates for mayor Cesar Baricuatro and vice mayor Noli Famor lost badly to Gungun Gica and Wado Gica. Of the eight councilors, seven belong to NPC and only Francis Famor was a Garcia party mate. Perhaps that was the worst debacle the Garcias suffered in their own bailiwick. Calderon also won in Ronda, Alcantara, Moalboal, Badian, Alegria, and Ginatilan. The mayors of these towns, except Malabuyoc, favor NPC. Lumain is NPC but abandoned Magpale and supported Gwen.

In fairness to the Garcias, Gwen won in all eight towns in the Seventh District, except her own Dumanjug, with a total of 62,930 votes or 56.42% while Magpale got only 48,614 or 43.58%. For vice governor, Governor Junjun got 56,815 or 61.92% over Daphne Salimbangon who garnered 34,928 or 38.08%. To be kind to Daphne, she didn’t really perform badly, considering she is from the north and this was the south, and she is a neophyte in provincial politics. In fact, I expected Davide to get no less than 80% because he is from the south and he poured a lot of public works and assistance into the Seventh District. Of course, Davide should be credited for winning in Dumanjug. Gwen was unable to carry Daphne in her dad's town as she herself lost there.

Gwen, nonetheless, is happiest these days, With her resounding victory, her daughter re-elected in Liloan, her son-in-law Duke Frasco beating Red Durano, and PJ Garcia finally regaining the Third District, plus the mayorship of Barili still under her other brother Marlon. The Garcias should count their blessings and forget Nelson's debacle and the pains inflicted by Dumanjug. People have short memory; they will soon forget the pains and remember only victories. Anyway, the Garcias had two districts, the seventh and the third. Now, they have the fifth, not bad.

PETER CALDERON
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