4-cornered fight looms for Panglao mayor race

The election fever heats up this early in Panglao town as reports have surfaced about three contenders going up against the incumbent come 2019 polls.

The politics of Bohol’s tourism crown jewel has been picking up,and some say, it is getting too intense this early.

Despite the elections being more than a year away, a Bohol Tribune source revealed the coming elections in Panglao would become a huge political extravaganza, with political titans trying to slug it out to claim the top local executive spot.

The source said a four-cornered fight looms in the town, contesting the mayorship of Panglao.

Panglao has become a fertile political battleground with its potential as a prime economic engine.

Backed by the presence of the airport, Panglao has all the ingredients to become not just a first-class town in the future, but maybe a city, next to Tagbilaran.

Panglao, located 40 minutes away from Tagbilaran, remains a third-class municipality in Bohol.

IN THIS CORNER

The source said suspended Panglao Mayor Leonila Montero will try to close out her hold on to the mayorship by exhausting her third and final term.

Earlier, Montero voiced her desire to run for a third and last term in a radio interview over dyTR’s Open Forum programbefore Christmas last year.

She said she wants to bring forth the needed reforms to make the life of her successor more comfortable and make the town stronger than ever.

On the opposite corner, it looms Acting Panglao Mayor Pedro Fuertes is also interested in becoming mayor and running for the post come 2019.

Fuertes will have a taste of the mayorship as he assumes the role of acting mayor after Montero got suspended for threemonths by the Ombudsman.

On the blue cornerare Acting Vice Governor and Senior Board Member Venzencio “Benjie” Arcamo, who has been rumored to be eying the top post of Panglao.

The same source said Arcamo is interested to run as mayor as he is going to step down as board member come 2019.

On the red corner, the fourth contender is the comeback Dr. Doloreich Dumaluan.

“Dumaluan will try to reclaim his former post in the town hall,” said the source.

Another Tribune source said having too many candidates contesting a single post will favor the incumbent.

The opposition should unite to have a fighting chance against incumbent Montero, who has gained a solid support base after winning two terms as mayor of Panglao.

SUSPENSION

However, Montero has a lot on her plate, before she can make a run on a third and final term come 2019.

The lady mayor was finally served her suspension two Wednesdays ago, as she maintains her innocence in the face of the charge leveled against her.

Montero, in a radio interview over dyTR’s Newsmakers ug Uban Pa with anchor and Bohol Tribune’s managing editor Ardy Araneta-Batoy, said she was made aware about the serving of the suspension ordered by the Ombudsman.

She maintained her actions were done in good faith and considered the personnel she hired as the right persons to help her run the town,especially during her first term.

She said she had received a copy of the Ombudsman’s suspension order right before Christmas.

Fuertes was sworn into office as the new acting mayor of Panglao town.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales suspended Montero for three months after being found guilty of simple misconduct.

The suspension stems from the unlawful appointment of four losing candidates in the 2013 elections as consultants.

The Ombudsman also ordered the filing of charge for violation of Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and four counts of unlawful appointments under Article 244 of the Revised Penal Code against the Panglao town mayor.

TIP OF THE ICEBERG

A source revealed to the Tribune Montero is going to have a handful of legal battles to face. The current case is just the tip of the iceberg, added the source.

The source said at least eight to 11 cases hadbeen filed against the Panglao mayor by different persons.

While the source could not name all the case at the top of the head, the revelation indicates the legal challenges for Montero is far from over.

For her part, Montero said she is acted in good faith over the cases,and she will be proven right in the end.

DEGOMA CITES THREAT

Montero’s chief critic councilor Rogelin Degoma cried foul over threats directed against her as some sectors try to pin the suspension of the mayor as her handiwork.

The councilor said she was at the receiving end of harsh text messages for her purported involvement in the suspension of the Panglao mayor.

She maintains she had no hand in the filing of the case that turned out to be the one that caused the suspension.

The councilor in her Facebook post hinted about hiring a bodyguard for her personal protection.

When asked for comment, she cited several text messages she received threatening her for her alleged “involvement” in Montero’s suspension.

Montero has since exonerated Degoma from any involvement in the case.

The case that got Montero suspended for three months was filed by her erstwhile ally, Augustin Cloribel, who was once her secretary at the Rotary Club of Panglao. (DSA)

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