BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Thirteen reelectionists and two board member aspirants in Negros Occidental, who are either affiliated with Love Negros and United Negros Alliance (UNegA), yesterday filed their Certificates for Candidacy (COC) before the Commission on Election, which temporarily holds office at the Provincial Capitol Social Hall in Bacolod City because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the candidates, nine of them are aspiring for the position as board members, four are running for congressional positions, one for governor and one for vice governor.
Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson was accompanied yesterday by some Love-Negros members, while he and Rep. Gerardo Valmayor (1st district, Negros Occ) filed their COCs.
On the other hand, reelectionist Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer, UNegA president, and his wife, Rep. Juliet Ferrer (4th district, Negros Occ) also filed their respective COCs, almost an hour after the group of Lacson left, to avoid the overcrowding at the Provincial Capitol Social Hall.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson was accompanied by some Love Negros members in the filing of his COC.
Aspiring for the position as board members, who also filed their COCs, were reelectionist Andrew Montelibano and Manuel Frederick Ko, Jose Benito Alonso, Jeffrey Tubola, Araceli Somosa, Samson Mirhan and Rommel Debulgado.
Also filed their COCs as board members were Bago City Councilor Andrew Martin Torres and Julian Gatuslao, nephew of Board Member Ernesto Agustin Gatuslao.
Rep. Maria Lourdes Arroyo (5th district, Negros Occ) also filed her COC. She was accompanied by her husband, John Lesaca.
Former House deputy speaker Mercedes Alvarez-Lansang is also making a comeback in politics.
Incumbent Rep. Genaro Alvarez (6th district, Negros Occ), said that he is no longer seeking reelection, as he will give way to his daughter, Mercedes.
Mercedes was accompanied by her husband, Army Maj. Drandreb Lansang, and her father in the filing of her COC as a representative of the 6th district of Negros Occidental.
Newly-designated provincial Comelec supervisor Atty. Ian Lee Ananoria personally supervised the filing of COCs at the Provincial Capitol Social Hall in Bacolod City, with candidates religiously following the mandated health protocols.
PLt. Abegael Donasco, deputy spokesperson of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, disclosed that the first day of COCs filing was peaceful, with no untoward incident reported by the different city and municipal police stations.
Donasco said they are hoping that it will continue until the last day of filing of COCs in October 8.
A certain Jonry Gargarita of Brgy. Progreso, Binalbagan, tried to file his COC. However, he was unable to do so after the Comelec found out that his submitted documents were incomplete.
He also advised by the Comelec to return, as soon as he completes the required documents.*