Bicol’s political families remain in power




The Manila Times


Influential clans and veteran leaders continue to dominate the political arena in the Bicol Region. The May 9 elections showed that powerful local politicos prevailed in the provinces of Masbate, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes and Camarines Norte. In Masbate, Gov. Antonio Kho was elected for his third and last term after beating his rival in Masbate’s first district Rep. Narciso “Bong” Bravo Jr. Kho generated 240,825 votes while Bravo garnered 171,846 votes. Kho’s wife, Second District Rep. Elisa Olga Kho, also captured the vice gubernatorial seat against Jesi Howard Lanete, son of former Masbate governor Rizalina “Dyan” Lanete. Olga got 241,626 votes while Jesi had 128,945 votes. Olga, a physician by profession, will replace her daughter as vicegovernor. Their three children, Wilton, Richard and Ara were elected in Masbate’s three congressional districts as the people’s representatives. Wilton, the eldest son, secured the seat in the third district after defeating former governor Rizalina “Dyan” Lanete (NPC). Kho got 91,134 votes while Lanete generated 52,214 votes. Ara, the incumbent vice governor, defeated Dr. Scott Davies Lanete (NUP) in the second district. Ara got 122,225 votes against Lanete’s 41,123. Lanete is the son of the former governor. Richard, the newest member of the family to enter the political bandwagon, claimed the first district after beating Rep. Marvi Bravo, wife of Rep. Bong Bravo. Richard generated 49,418 votes and Marvi collected 34,243 votes. Wilton’s wife, Tintin Hao-Kho, was also elected mayor in the Municipality of Mandaon, Masbate. This is the first time in Bicol history that six members of the Kho family are elected into office. In Camarines Sur, the longtime political dynasty of the Villafuertes secured the province’s top post and two congressional seats. The Villafuertes’ reign started when the late governor Luis Robredo Villafuerte Sr. was elected in 1988. After his term, he passed on the baton to his son Luis Raymund “LRay” Favis Villafuerte Jr. LRay garnered 111,473 votes to retain his post. His opponent, Aba Abasola, received 30,324 votes. LRay’s eldest son, Miguel Luis “Migz” Villafuerte was elected as governor of Camarines Sur in 2013 after defeating his grandfather Luis. Migz, a three-termer governor in Camarines Sur, ran against Iriga City Mayor Madel Alfelor in the fifth district as representative. Migz garnered 153,852 votes while Alfelor generated 101,944 votes. Vincenzo Renato Luigi “LRV” Villafuerte, a neophyte in the political arena, will replace his older brother Migz as governor of Camarines Sur after he defeated former representative Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. and singer-turned-politician Vice Gov. Imelda Papin. Luigi got 492,415 votes while Andaya had 416,434 votes and Papin had 13,699 votes.