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Home Region Chose Migs Over Koko

By Miriam Grace A. Go

Home Region Chose Migs Over KokoWhether Juan Miguel Zubiri of Team Unity (TU) finally bags the last winning slot in the Senate race, he has already won over Aquilino Pimentel III of the Genuine Opposition (GO) in a way that many politicians would pay their campaign strategists extra to achieve. In Pimentel’s own home province and city—Misamis Oriental, where Cagayan de Oro City is an independent city—Zubiri topped the elections.

In fact, in Northern Mindanao (Region 10), the region where they both come from, Zubiri emerged first (with 891,150 votes), while Pimentel was only 5th (with 600,523 votes).

Of the five provinces in Region 10, Zubiri was No. 1 in four: Bukidnon, whose third district he represented for nine years in Congress and where his father is governor; Camiguin; Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro, where Pimentel hails from and lost a mayoral bid in 2004; and Lanao del Norte, where the opposition alleged that the certificates of canvass from three municipalities were manipulated.

In these four provinces, Pimentel was 7th (Bukidnon), 6th (Camiguin), 4th (Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro), and 12th (Lanao del Norte). In the fifth province, Misamis Occidental, Zubiri also ranked higher than Pimentel: Zubiri was 2nd while Pimentel was 12th.

In the whole of Mindanao, according to the regional breakdown of votes published by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Zubiri got more votes, 2,941,974, than Pimentel, who got 2,553,784. Mindanao consists of six regions.

Zubiri’s popularity in Mindanao could be attributed to his advocacies that are popular among Mindanaoans, particularly the campaign for federalism. He was congressman of Bukidnon for nine years, continuing his father’s nine-year congressional stint. Pimentel, for his part, has mostly been more visible in the Manila scene, although he was commissioner for Mindanao of the National Youth Commission a decade ago.

Zubiri is one of the senatorial candidates in the Hall of Fame in terms of topping the race in their home provinces or regions, based on available data from the Comelec.

Of the 11 winners already proclaimed, eight topped the race in their home provinces or cities. These were Manuel Villar Jr. (Las Piñas), Edgardo Angara (Aurora), Francis Pangilinan (Pampanga), Benigno Aquino III (Tarlac), Panfilo Lacson (Cavite), Loren Legarda (Aklan), Francis Escudero (Sorsogon), and Joker Arroyo (Camarines Sur).

Others who finished No. 1 in their home provinces but didn’t make it to the national Magic 12 were Luis “Chavit Singson (in Ilocos Sur, where he’s been governor for a long time), Cesar Montano (Bohol), and Prospero Pichay (in Surigao del Sur, where he was a three-term congressman before joining the senatorial elections).

Five candidates finished No. 1 in their home regions: Escudero (Bicol), Legarda (Western Visayas), Zubiri (Northern Mindanao), Pichay (Caraga), and Jamalul Kiram (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, as of Comelec’s June 14 canvass). (See List of Regional Topnotchers)

In most provinces, the top slot went to either Legarda or Escudero, who finished first and second, respectively, in the national count.

We took note of candidates other than these two who topped provinces where they didn’t come from. They were Villar (Iloilo province and city; Guimaras), Angara (Negros Oriental, Siquijor), Pangilinan (Cebu province and city, Misamis Occidental); Pichay (Zamboanga del Norte, Dinagat Islands), Montano (Zamboanga Sibugay); and Lacson (Nueva Vizcaya, South Cotabato). (See List of Provincial Topnotchers)

There were candidates who ended up in the Hall of Shame, because they did poorly in their in their home provinces.

Vicente Magsaysay finished 10th in Zambales, where he’s governor. Ralph Recto was 9th in Batangas (Read: Batangas: Opposition Wins but Recto Brothers Lose), where he was congressman for nine years before becoming senator in 2001. Sonia Malasarte Roco was 14th in Bohol, and performed better in the Bicol provinces, where her late husband was a prominent political figure.

In Metro Manila, it was only Villar who topped in the city where he lives or he’d represented in the past—Las Piñas. It helped, of course, that his wife’s family has been in power there for a long time. His wife Cynthia is congresswoman, while his brother-in-law Vergel Aguilar is the mayor.

In Makati, Joker Arroyo was only 7th, even if he represented its first district for nine years before becoming senator in 2001. In fact, in his three terms as congressman, the only bill he filed and passed was that converting Makati into a city.

Neither of the two candidates who are registered voters of Malabon topped the elections there. Legarda finished second to Escudero. Tessie Aquino Oreta’s performance was worse—she ended up 15th in this city that she represented in Congress for nine years before she became senator in 1998, and where her brother-in-law is mayor.

Quezon City voters seemed to have gotten tired of their old-timers in politics. They didn’t put in No. 1 any of their former congressional representatives and local officials who ran for the Senate.

Michael Defensor and Nikki Coseteng, both former representatives of the city’s 3rd district, finished 16th and 17th, respectively. Vicente Sotto III, who was QC vice mayor before he became a topnotcher senator in 1992, was only 18th. Francis Pangilinan, once a councilor and an unsuccessful congressional aspirant of the city, was 6th in this year’s senatorial race.

Legarda would have swept all the Cordillera provinces, but Zosimo Paredes of Ang Kapatiran stole the thunder from her in Ifugao. Paredes topped the race in the province, which he used to represent in Congress.

The same was the case in Region 8 (Eastern Visayas). Legarda topped the race in all provinces except one, in Southern Leyte, which delivered the highest number of votes to Pichay.

Singson, who has fashioned himself as a leader of the Ilocos region, topped the vote in only one province—in Ilocos Sur, where he was governor for a long time before taking a shot at a national post. Pichay, who grew up in Mindanao but stressed as well his Ilocano roots during the campaign, finished 6th in Ilocos Sur, his father’s home province.

The Bicolanos, as usual, delivered for fellow Bicolanos (Read: Bicol Picked 3 Favorite Senatorial Bets). Escudero was No. 1 in Sorsogon, where he was congressman for nine years; in Camarines Norte; and in Catanduanes. He was 2nd to fellow Bicolano Joker Arroyo in Albay and Camarines Sur, the latter being Arroyo’s home province. Escudero was also 2nd in Masbate to Legarda. Arroyo was 11th in Camarines Norte, 4th in Catanduanes, Sorsogon, and Masbate.

Honasan was 2nd in his home province of Sorsogon, 7th in Albay, 9th in Camarines Norte, 8th in Camarines Sur, 6th in Catanduanes, 10th in Masbate. Roco, whose late husband Raul was a favorite son of the region, was 4th in Albay, 7th in Camarines Sur, 3rd in Camarines Sur, 3rd in Catanduanes, 5th in Sorsogon, and 19th in Masbate.

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