By Ben Serrano
The ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and local party Padajon Surigao coalition candidates for Surigao City and Surigao del Norte province were among early birds in filing their respective certificates of candidacy (CoC) for May 2019 local elections in Caraga region.
Among the first to file their COCs on the first day that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has set for political hopefuls were former Rep. Francisco “Lalo” Matugas, who will run for governor and his wife, incumbent Gov. Sol Matugas.
Matugas, known for his Panambay Sa Barangay or medical mission in barangays of the province was former governor for three terms before he was elected congressman; first district now occupied by his son and namesake Rep. Francisco Jose “Bingo” Matugas, who is seeking re-election.
Matugas’ running mate to run for vice governor is senior board member Geed Gokiangkee who also filed his (CoC.)
Seeking a fresh term for Surigao del Norte’s second congressional district is incumbent Gov. Sol Matugas.
In Surigao City, another son and father tandem have filed their respective COCs, incumbent Surigao City Mayor Ernesto “Nitoy” Matugas, who could no longer run for re-election after serving three terms, is seeking the vice mayoral post.
His son and namesake incumbent City Councilor Ernesto “Estong” Matugas, Jr. filed his COC on Thursday as a mayoralty bet in next year’s elections
Running for councilors under PDP-Laban-Padajon Surigao coalition were incumbent Councilor Sim Castrence, Mario Gesta, Joy Yuipco, Vic Borja, Joe Edradan, Jigs Bayana, Atty. Cacel Azarcon, Basti Nagas and Balgamelo “Bb” Ma.
The PDP Laban-Padajon Surigao bets marched the city streets to greet supporters and the public on their way to the provincial and city offices of the Commission on Electionsto file their COCs.
The next to file their COCs is the group of incumbent Rep. Ace Barbers and his brother, former Surigao del Norte Governor Robert Lyndon Barbers.
Both are running under the Nacionalista Party (NP). They were accompanied with their respective supporters and the town mayors in province.
The Barbers group is expected to field local candidates for Surigao City and Surigao del Norte to rival the Matugas group in the May 13, 2019 in the usually hotly contested local elections.