SAN JOSE, Antique – Women power ended the 32-year Javier dynasty in Antique. Reelectionist governor Rhodora Cadiao defeated challenger Cong. Paolo Javier while Sen. Loren Legarda was elected congresswoman of the province at the expense of Javier’s father Exequiel, a former governor and congressman.
This is the first election in Antique since 1987 that no Javier has won any post.
Legarda vanquished the elder Javier, popularly known by his nickname Boy Ex, in all of Antique’s 18 towns. She had 199,187 votes (74 percent) against Javier’s 69,716 votes (26 percent). She was proclaimed the winner yesterday.
Meanwhile, Cadiao got 182,026 votes, twice as many as the younger Javier’s 91,608 votes.
“Now that the election is over, we should start working together. I extend my hand to every Antiqueño — let us unite to defeat the real enemy, which is poverty,” said Legarda.
Antique has the highest poverty incidence in Western Visayas, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
The elder Javier tried to stop Legarda’s proclamation. Arguing that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc had not yet resolved his motion for reconsideration questioning Legarda’s residency, he filed a motion to defer the proclamation.
Part of his motion stated: “It is the right of the people of Antique to be represented by one of their own, not a latecomer who only sprouted like a mushroom in the light of day.”
But Legarda’s lawyer George Garcia said the senator is a resident of Barangay Mag-aba in Pandan town and stated this fact in her certificate of candidacy.
The senator has roots in Antique. Her maternal grandmother was Carmen Gella Bautista of Pandan.
Three days before Monday’s midterm election, the elder Javier slammed a fake news that he had withdrawn from the race for congressman due to the many charges filed against him.
The fake news was traced to the website Philippine News Organization published on May 10. According to Javier, the fake news was aimed to hurt his candidacy.
SECOND CRUSHING DEFEAT
This was the second consecutive election defeat of Javier. In the 2016 polls, Cadiao defeated him for governor.
Cadiao won with an insurmountable 134,693 votes against Javier’s 102,686 votes – a lead of 32,007 votes.
Javier had been running undefeated, either for governor or congressman, for 30 straight years since 1987.
Cadiao, a former flight stewardess, fist entered politics when she ran and was elected vice governor of Antique in 2007. She was reelected in 2010 and again in 2013.
In February 2015, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ordered her to take over Javier as governor after the poll body ordered the latter’s disqualification.
The Comelec disqualified Javier because he suspended Mayor Joyce Roquero of Valderrama town within 60 days before the May 10, 2013 election in violation of Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code.
The Supreme Court, however, reinstated Javier, assigning error to the Comelec’s decision.
When he returned to the capitol on March 28, 2016 Javier said the high court’s ruling would boost his reelection chances. The election results of May 9, 2016 proved him wrong.
‘VICTORY FOR ANTIQUE’
Meanwhile, Legarda thanked “all Antiqueños who voted for me, especially those who supported me from the start. This victory is not for me alone, but for Antique and the Antiqueños.”
“We are determined to do more in Antique in the next three years than has been done in the last 30 years, and prove that every province has the potential to bring prosperity to its people,” said Legarda.
This is Legarda’s first entry into local politics, being at the end of her second consecutive term in the Senate.
She has served 18 years as senator, championing causes such as environmental protection, sustainable development, and women and children’s rights.
“I ran for Congress to bring my two decades of Senate work to the grassroots, and make Antique a role model for sustainable development for the rest of the country,” she said./PN