It’s all in the family in Caraga this May 10

In Caraga region, more than half of the 1,826 candidates in the May 10 elections – from governor to municipal and city councilors – are related to each other either by blood or by affinity or consanguinity.

Most are allies, but there are some who are pitted against each other, like in the case of Claver in Surigao del Norte. In this mineral rich town, the Gokiangkee brothers are competing for the top seat through their respective wife – incumbent Mayor George Gokiangkee through Georgia, and Ricardo Gokiangkee through Rosemarie Mira.

Husband and wife tandems are also not uncommon in the region, like in the case of Santiago town in Agusan del Norte, where Mayor Franklin Lim and his better half, Vice Mayor Zenaida Lim, are both running for re-election.

In some instances, parents seek mayoralty or vice mayoralty positions, while their sons, daughters, in-laws, nieces, nephews, and cousins run running for lower positions.

One of the most prominent political clans in region are the Plazas who, after having served in Butuan and Agusan del Sur, are now extending their political reach to Agusan del Norte where Roscoe Democrito Borja Plaza, son of incumbent Butuan Mayor Democrito Galido Plaza II, is running for mayor of Nasipit town.

Borja’s mother, Leonides Theresa Borja Plaza, is seeking to replace his father as Butuan City mayor.

The Amantes have also been in power for decades in Agusan del Norte. Erlpe John Malbas Amante is running for a third term as governor. His sister, Angelica Malbas Amante, who was governor for three terms before Erlpe John became governor in 2004, is running for second district representative.

An Amante – Ferdinand Magdamo Amante, Jr. – is challenging Leonides Theresa Borja Plaze in the Butuan mayoralty race.

Other political clans in the regions are the he Pimentels, who hold turf in Surigao del Sur; the Barbers, Matugases and Navarros of Surigao del Norte; and the Ecleos of Dinagat islands.

A unique case is two candidates running for governor in Surigao del Sur. Not only do they share the same surname, Lozada, but their nicknames – “Boy" and “Boylo" – are almost similar.

In Surigao del Sur, two Murillos are running for Congress representing the province’s first congressional district: former Tago Mayor Greg Murillo, brother of former Surigao del Sur Governor Primo Murillo, is pitted against a virtually unknown Anecito Murillo.

The Murillos alleged that Anecito Murillo was intentionally pitted against popular Greg Murillo to sow confusion among voters. - Ben Serrano with Carmela Lapeña/KBK, GMANews.TV

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