[TRIVIA] ‘Loco’ local races

This is a #PHVote newsletter sent to Rappler subscribers on May 7, 2019.

Hello! I'm Michael Bueza, researcher and data curator for Rappler. This is my third election coverage, and boy, it's already an intense one.

Every election season is as crazy as it could get. The May 2019 midterm polls are no different.

It's the year when, for instance, in a 12-person Senate race, the opposition could field only 8 candidates, while an administration slate went with 13 bets. Not to be outdone, Catholic charismatic group El Shaddai endorsed 14 candidates!

Meanwhile, political dynasties and prominent personalities attempt to gain power through a different avenue: the party list, which is in dire need for reforms due to politicians' strategy of using it as a "shortcut" to Congress.

As you go down the ballot into the local races, things get even more "loco-lized" if you will.

With days to go before E-Day, here are 6 interesting, amusing trivia about some local races in 2019 across the nation:

'Wala na, finish na.' With the withdrawal of congressman Rodolfo Fariñas from the Ilocos Norte gubernatorial race a few days ago, Matthew Marcos Manotoc – son of senatorial bet and outgoing governor Imee Marcos – is now running unopposed.

He joins gubernatorial candidates in 7 provinces (Apayao, Compostela Valley, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, Northern Samar, Quirino, and Tarlac) who just need one vote to win.

Twelve candidates for vice governor and 34 congressional bets are also running unopposed in 2019, along with 215 mayors and 269 vice mayors.

Vice govs vs govs. In two provinces, vice governors are facing reelectionist governors in battles for the provincial hall.

Albay Vice Governor Harold Imperial is looking to deny a second term for his ninong (godfather), Governor Al Francis Bichara, in an 8-person race. Meanwhile, 3-termer Capiz Vice Governor Esteban Evan Contreras joins two other challengers against Governor Antonio del Rosario. 

Bal-lots of time needed. When my editor, Ms. Gemma Mendoza, was working on her newsletter yesterday, she had a question that didn't make her write-up: Which area has the ballot with the most number of candidates on it? This means voters would have a longer time filling out the ballot.

That distinction goes to Marawi City, Lanao del Sur. Besides the 62 candidates for governor and 134 party-list groups (which is present on all ballots), there are 120 more names on the Marawi City ballot, due to the huge number of candidates in both provincial and city races there.

Same old, brand new districts. There are 5 new congressional districts up for grabs in the 2019 polls.

The Dy dynasty members of Isabela will try to take two of them. In the 5th district, San Manuel Mayor Faustino Michael Dy III faces ex-congressman Edwin Uy. Another Dy, barangay chairman Faustino "Inno" Dy V, takes on former San Isidro mayor Abraham Lim for the 6th district seat.

Meanwhile, two incumbent congressmen will virtually move to newly-created districts because they are unopposed: Cavite 7th district Representative Abraham Tolentino to the 8th district, and Laguna 2nd district congressman Joaquin Chipeco Jr to the new Calamba City district.

In Aklan, now split into two districts, incumbent representative Carlito Marquez is running in the 1st district against two independent bets, including ex-Banga mayor Antonio Maming. Ex-representative Teodorico Haresco Jr is attempting a comeback, but 3 other candidates are gunning for the new House seat as well, including Anita Victoria Ramos, daughter of former congressman Godofredo Ramos. 

Berto Uy vs Berto Uy? In the 7-person race for governor of Zamboanga del Norte, there are two candidates with the name "UY, BERTO" on the ballot, though running under different parties. Both also have Roberto as their first names, adding to the confusion. 

The reelectionist governor is Roberto Yu Uy under the PDP-Laban banner. The other one is independent candidate Roberto Escobido Uy.

In late April, the Comelec First Division cancelled the candidacy of the second Berto Uy. His name will however remain on the ballot, as it had already been printed months ago.

What's in a name? I spent weeks cleaning up and organizing the data for the local races. It was a necessary but arduous, tedious work. What kept me amused at times were interesting and funny ballot names.

One such name is I think already known to some, after his campaign poster went viral on social media during the 2016 polls. Ernesto "Titing" Tumulak is pushing forth another campaign in 2019, this time for Lapu-Lapu City vice mayor, after his failed bid in the 2016 race for councilor.

There are 17 more candidates using the nickname "Titing" on the ballot, from the rather innocent Renefredo "Titing" Gerona (running for vice mayor in San Isidro, Davao Oriental) to the rather funny Sofronio "Titing" Pintado (running for councilor in Tuburan, Cebu). 

Stay tuned to Rappler for more local race rundowns ahead of the May 13 vote. You can also visit https://rappler.com/votewisely for the list of candidates and profiles of national candidates.

In the meantime, here are relevant reads you shouldn't miss:

Michael Bueza

Michael Bueza is a researcher and data curator under Rappler's Research Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.