By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY—The duo of Senator Loren Legarda and Governor Rhodora “Dodod” Cadiao formally ended the more than 30-year rule of the Javier political clan in Antique province with a landslide win.
Legarda is now Antique’s congresswoman-elect after an overwhelming victory against Exequiel “Boy Ex” Javier, who interchangeably served as governor and congressman from 1987-2016.
Cadiao retained the governorship by defeating incumbent Congressman Paolo Javier, son of Boy Ex.
Both lady politicians crushed the father and son with huge margins. Legarda garnered 199,187 while Boy Ex only had 69,716 votes. Cadiao garnered 182,026 votes while Congressman Javier only had 91,608 votes.
Vice Governor Edgar Denosta, an ally of both Legarda and Cadiao, was also reelected.
The May 2019 elections marked the first time since 1987 that no member of Boy Ex’s family was able to win an elective position.
Legarda also halted the planned political comeback of Boy Ex, who lost the gubernatorial race to Cadiao during the May 2016 elections after facing numerous graft and corruption charges.
Legarda’s candidacy and eventual win was not smooth sailing. The former TV news anchor did not live in Antique and only transferred residency from Malabon only last January 2018. This led Boy Ex to file a disqualification case which was later junked by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Legarda’s Antiqueño roots came from her maternal grandparents who hail from Pandan town. She also said that her great grand uncle, Vicente Gella, served as Antique governor early in the 1920s.
Legarda’s first foray into local politics is set to bolster her existing partnership with Cadiao in bringing basic services to Antique, which used to be one of the country’s poorest provinces.
“Let us unite to defeat the real enemy which is poverty,” emphasized Legarda.
Before winning the congressional seat, Legarda played a pivotal role in getting national government agencies to fund infrastructure projects and socio-economic services for the people of Antique. She also pushed the private sector to invest and convinced Philippine Airlines (PAL) to operate a commercial flight to and from San Jose de Buenavista, the provincial capital.
Elected to the Antique Provincial Board are Mayella Plameras, Vincent Piccio III, Pio Sumande, Fernando Corvera, and Don-Don Niquia.