By Ben Rosario
The stigma of being named in President Duterte’s list of narco-politicos failed to stop the poll victory of the majority of those in it.
Only a handful of those included in the “narco list club,” released at the start of the election campaign period of local government candidates, lost or have decided to drop out from the contest.
One local executive whose name was in the list released to the media on March 13 is winning in the congressional race in the first district of Misamis Occidental canvassing results indicated as of press time.
Oroquieta City Mayor Jason Paredes Almonte is leading with 21,246 votes against closest rival, Diego Ty in the congressional contest in the capital city of Misamis Occidental. He is the son of outgoing Rep. Jorge Almonte.
Mayor David M. Navarro of Clarin town also in Misamis Occidental has pulled away from challenger Marissa Villa with 12,164 and 6,587 votes, respectively.
Incumbent Sinacaban Mayor Crisinciano Enot Mahilac did not run but his name was likewise in Duterte’s narco-list. Mahilac and his family left for Singapore a week after being implicated in the illegal drugs trade.
Oroquieta City, Sinacaban and Clarin are neighboring towns of Ozamis City, scene of the deadly drug raid staged by police operatives at dawn on July 30, 2017. Killed during the police operation that resulted in an alleged shootout were Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, his wife, Susan and five other persons.
Outgoing Pangasinan Rep. Jesus Celeste did not run but a member of the Celeste political clan from Bolinao is winning the congressional race.
Bolinao Mayor Arnold “Noli” Celeste has led rival, former Metro Manila Development Authority General Manager Thomas Orbos in a tightly contested fight for representative of the first district of Pangasinan.
But former Rep. Arthur Celeste, elder brother of Jesus, was defeated by re-electionist Gov. Amado Espino III.
Zambales Rep. Jeffrey Khonghun and his son, Subic Mayor Jefferson Khonghun, were among those linked by Duterte to illegal narcotics.
Poll results showed they won against respective opponents, former Rep. Mitos Magsayssay and Liberal Party bet Ramon Lacbain.
Mayor Marjorie Apil Salazar of Lasam, Cagayan, reportedly did not run.
She was replaced by a relative, Juddy Salazar who is losing to Vice Mayor Dandex Agatep in the mayoral contest.
Region I and III
In Region III, expected winners whose names were included in the Duterte narco list are Mayor Ferdinand Aguinaldo of Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte; Mayor Erlon Agustin of Camiling, Tarlac; Mayor Cirpriano Violago Jr. of San Rafael, Bulacan.
Region IV-A and IV-B
For Region IV-A and IV-B, Mayor Bruno Ramos’s name is not in the list of candidates vying for a vacant seat in Bay, Laguna.
But one Edwin Ramos, apparently a relative of Bruno, lost to rival, Jose Padrid for the mayoral post.
So is the name of Mayor Juan Torreja of Ibaan, Batangas.
Aside from the case of Ramos, all of the two regions’ narco list politicians are expected to emerge victorious based on the latest counts.
They are Mayors Caesar Perez , Los Banos, Laguna; Raul Palino, Teresa, Rizal; mayoral bet Dennis Hernandez of Rodriguez, Rizal; Loreto Amante of San Pablo City, Laguna; Mayor Roderick Alcala of Lucena City, Quezon and Mayor Eulalio Alilio of Lemery, Batangas are sure victors in their mayoralty bids.
On the other hand, Rizal 2nd District board member Rommel Cruz-Ayuson is expected to retain his seat.
Recent poll results indicated that Rodriguez town Mayor Cecilio Hernandez is winning in his vice mayoralty bid. He is in the narco list.
Mayor Nieves Rosente of El Nido, Palawan denied any links to illegal drug trade after being named in Duterte’s list.
But her re-election bid suffered as she is being defeated by rival, Edna Lim.
Two Western Visayas politicians implicated by Duterte won their mayoralty bids while two others were defeated.
Culasi, Antique Vice Mayor Ariel Tabugo Jr. and Mayor Mariano Malones Sr. of Maasin were defeated.
On the other hand, Mayor Julius Ronaldo Pacificador of Hamtic, Antique emerged victorious in the vice mayoralty race.
So did Mayor Siegfriedo Alfuente Betita of Carles, Iloilo, who enjoys a slight edge over challenger Merle Tupas.
San Fernando, Cebu Vice Mayor Franz Sabalones was reported to have been killed in Quezon City last April 19.
On the other hand, alleged “narcogeneral” and Mayor Vicente Loot of Daanbantayan, Cebu, did not join the midterm elections.
In the Zamboanga peninsula, incumbent Siwarai, Zamboanga del Norte Mayor Gamar Ahay Janihim will retain his seat while Mayor Leonida Albor Angcap of Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur may not. Janohim and Angcap are in the narco list.
Narco list club member Mayor Roberto Luna Jr. of Lingig, Surigao del Sur, is also in the victory column over Edgar Agdog in the mayoral race.
In Region XII, South Cotabato Mayors Albert Palencia of Banga and Pablo Mondejar Matinong Jr. of Sto. Niño was able to skirt the “narco tag” and win their respective races.
But Mayor Abubakar Pendatun Maulana of Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat, was not as lucky.
He is far from winning a vice mayoral seat and placed No. 4 in the contest.
A number of Muslim candidates in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are feeling the effects of being tagged as a narcolist member.
Vice Mayor Jamal Abina Pangndamun and Mayor Mamaulan Abinal Mulok have reportedly been defeated in their respective re-eleciton bids. Both are from Maguing, Lanao del Sur.
Vice Mayor Anida Dimaukom was unsuccessful in his challenge of administration bet, Edris Sidatokok in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao. Dimaukom’s name is in the Duterte list.
But the local elections in Maguindanao also saw victories for listed Vice Mayor Abdulwahad Sabal of Talitay; Vice Mayor Ohto Caumbo Montawal of Datu Montawal, and Mayor Vicman Kambang Montawal who ran for mayor and vice mayor, respectively.