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Old Political Rivalries to Take Center Stage in the 2010 Caraga Elections

A major political realignment due revival of decades-old rivalries among dominating political families that might stir loyalties and affiliation of local politicians is one hundred percent possible for the May 2010 local elections in Caraga Region.

Former Agusan del Sur Provincial Administrator and Board Member Tyrone “Power” Calo confirmed to this writer that businessman Roberto “Bob” Aquino, son of former Agusan Congressman Jose C. Aquino, Sr. is definitely running for Congress representing first congressional district of Agusan del Sur.

Calo admitted he is working as official spokesperson for businessman Bob Aquino.

Aquino is brother of current Butuan City Rep. Jose “Joboy” Aquino, II of Lakas.

Current Agusan del Sur Governor Maria Valentina Plaza also has reportedly announced interest in running for Congress representing Agusan del Sur’s first district.

Plaza is daughter of late and legendary Agusan del Sur leader, former Governor and Congressman Democrito Otaza Plaza , Sr..

The late Agusan Congressman Jose C. Aquino, Sr or JCA as he is fondly called is political rival of the late Agusan del Sur Governor Democrito Otaza Plaza, Sr. also fondly called by his supporters and friends as “D.O. or Monting”.

Ironically, the two legendary political leaders engaged in logging business in the ‘60’s before joining politics

Surviving rival of the two legendary leaders is current Agusan del Norte Rep. Edelmiro Atega Amante. Amante, former Executive Secretary of Ramos Administration is father of incumbent Agusan del Norte Erlpe John Amante and former Governor and Congresswoman Maria Angelica Rossdell Amante-Matba.

Under KAMPI political partty, the lady Amante but lost to incumbent Mayor Democrito “Boy Daku” Plaza, II of Lakas-CMD in a tightly contested Butuan City Mayoralty race in 2007 elections. Plaza is son of legendary D.O. Plaza

Another old Plaza political rival, former Agusan del Sur Rep. Ceferino Paredes has also confirmed running against a Plaza bet, this time, for the second congressional district of Agusan del Sur.

Reportedly Paredes and Bob Aquino teamed up for one political party against the Plazas.

But adding to the political twist is the reported plans of incumbent Agusan del Sur Rep. Rodolfo “Ompong” Plaza to run for Governor in Agusan de Sur, this time, allegedly against his own younger brother, former Agusan del Sur Governor Eddie Bong Plaza who is also former PAGCOR Vice President for Social Services.

The former Agusan del Sur Governor Adolph Edward “Eddie Bong” Plaza earlier told this writer he is set to run for Governor, a seat he left three years ago in favor for his younger sister Maria Valentina , in the May 2010 elections.

He denied runors he is running for Agusan del Norte Governor.

On the other hand, Plaza’s brother, ithe ncumbent Agusan del Sur solon allegedly only responded to the clamor of the people in Agusan del Sur for leadership change. Plaza who authored many laws and pursued many infra and livelihood projects in Agusan del Sur is reportedly to be teamed up with businessman Roberto “Bob” Aquino and former Agusan del Sur Rep. Ceferino Paredes.

Although the Agusan del Sur solon has not personally confirmed yet his political plans, his close allies supporters and group were allegedly slowly working for him in answering the people’s clamor for political change.

He is also the son of the late Agusan del Sur Governor and Congressman Democrito Otaza Plaza , Sr. Their mother is former Agusan del Sur Governor Valentina Plaza.

VGP as she is fondly called by her avid supporters, chaired the Caraga Regional Development Council or RDC.

In Surigao del Norte, the once administration party stalwarts in the province, incumbent Governor Robert Ace Barbers and his brother, former Surigao del Norte Governor Robert Lyndon Barbers have allegedly resigning their fate over LAKAS-KAMPI merger and were allegedly contemplating to finally sealed their deal and full support to Nacionalista Party Presidential standard bearer Senator Manny Villar.

The two politically influential sons of late former Lakas-CMD national vice president and administration Senator Robert “Bobby” Barbers were conspicuously absent in the May 28, 2009 LAKAS-KAMPI convention held at the Manila Hotel.

Surigao City Mayor Alfonso Casurra who is Surigao City Lakas Party Chair and a staunch Barbers’ ally attended the Manila Hotel event.

Matugas’ brother, real estate developer and millionaire Engineer. Ernesto Matugas is reportedly making a political comeback and to run again as Surigao City Mayor in 2010 elections. Matugas was defeated by Casurra in the 2007 City Mayoralty race.

Intense political rivals of the Barbers, two incumbent Surigao del Norte congressmen, Representatives Francisco Matugas (KAMPI-Surigao del Norte first district) and Guillermo Romarate, Jr. (KAMPI-2nd district of Surigao del Norte) are now allegedly preparing their own set of local bets despite of the merger.

This reportedly irked local supporters of the Barbers which has its own local political line ups in the local level for the 19 municipalities of Surigao del Norte.

The Matugas-Romarate group also claimed the Barbers group were also preparing their own set of political line ups in the municpalities.

The situation further aggravated the already tense local political situation of Surigao del Norte after the Barbers’ political rival Congressman Francsico Matugas was elected as National Vice President for Mindanao by the Lakas-Kampi merger.

Allegedly majority of the Municipal Mayors of Surigao del Norte have aligned themselves to the closely knitted Matugas-Romarate group while some remained to be solid with the Barbers camp.

Former Surigao del Norte Governor Robert Lyndon Barbers is reportedly eyeing the Surigao City Mayoralty seat, a seat to be left by three termer City Mayor Alfonso Casurra. while brother Governor Robert Ace is seeking re-election for Governor.

While Matugas’ wife, Dep-Ed Regional Director Dr. Sol Matugas who hails from tourism haven Siargao Island is eyeing the congresional post of Siargao while husband Rep. Francisco Matugas is set to run for Surigao del Norte Governor, a seat he left before becoming the first Siargao Island solon.

Majority if not all politicians of Caraga Region were curent administration’s political allies belonging under political parties, Lakas-CMD, KAMPI and adminstration side Nationalist People’s Coalition or NPC.

Only the camp of former Butuan City Rep Charito Booc Plaza and businessman Engr. Sergio Pascual who arn but lost in the tightly contested Butuan Mayoralty race belonged to the United Opposition Party. (mindanao.com)

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