Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Neophyte crushes grizzled pol in Ecija capital

PALAYAN CITY – A neophyte politician has been proclaimed mayor-elect in this provincial capital, beating by landslide a grizzled former three-term congressman on the comeback trail in a monumental upset.
          Arriane Mae Cuevas of the Liberal Party garnered a total of 11,529 as against the 6,931 of former congressman Pacifico Fajardo of the Nationalist People’s Coalition-Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija (NPC-Balane)  or a margin of 4,598.
          In what city election officer Westly Rey Del Fonso said is one of the most lop-sided scores in this city’s political history, Cuevas won 65 percent of the votes in the 19 barangays in this city where the Fajardos used to be political kingpins.
          However, Cuevas’ running mate, outgoing three-term Mayor Romeo Capinpin lost to Florante Mercado in the vice mayoral race. Mercado of NPC-Balane - son of former three-term Makati vice mayor Nestor - amassed 10,375 votes as against Capinpin’s 7,391 or a vote difference of 2,984.
          Cuevas’ allies won six seats in the 10-man Sangguniang Panlungsod. They are Capinpin’s son Romaric who obtained 9,630 votes; Jesusa Fajardo (9,071), Abegail Bantegui (6,409), Rogelio Piadozo (6,126), Ernesto Lutap (6,116) and outgoing Vice Mayor Moises Carmona Jr. (5,374).
          Mercado’s partymates who won were Ian Howell Guyud (7,251) and Rosalia Merez (6,828). Independent Petronio Garcia got 6,433.
          Fajardo’s defeat could signal the end of a checkered political career for one of Nueva Ecija’s acknowledged political heavyweights which started when he became mayor for three terms.
          In 1992, he became congressman in a stunning upset,  bringing down Hermogenes Concepcion Jr., a former justice of the Supreme Court in the third congressional district. Their face-off was a classic David vs Goliath fight.
Fajardo handily won reelection in 1995 and 1998. His political clout as a Lakas-CMD stalwart resulted in three consecutive three-year terms as mayor for his wife Leonora and one term for their daughter, Lorelei, a former deputy presidential spokesperson and presidential assistant for Central Luzon under the administration of former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
          Fajardo ran for governor in 2001 but lost by landslide to then-governor Tomas Joson III. At the height of Edsa Dos which thrust Mrs. Aquino into power, Fajardo was appointed administrator of the Light Rail Transit Authority which he served for seven months.
          A successful businessman before he entered politics, Fajardo has held various posts in government and the private sector, including director of San Miguel Corp. (Manny Galvez) 


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