By JOEY NACALABAN
FORMER councilor President Elipe yesterday claimed that the Padayon Pilipino nomination for the vacant seat in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan was first offered to the family of the late provincial board member Mario Emano but none of them wanted it.
Over Magnum Radio, Elipe said Emano’s family was the priority, and the nomination was even offered to the late official’s mother and brother Omar, barangay chairman of Poblacion, Tagoloan town, but they supposedly declined.
Elipe also claimed that he was nominated by the Padayon Pilipino and not just by party head Vicente Emano, a former governor and mayor, following a consensus.
He said it was a decision that involved his wife Nadya, his father-in-law Vicente, brother-in-law Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano, provincial board members, Misamis Oriental mayors and other officials.
Elipe’s wife, a city councilor, is the chairperson of the Padayon Pilipino while the elder Emano is the party’s president. Gov. Emano, meanwhile, is the vice chairman of the party.
Elipe’s claims contradicted Padayon Pilipino deputy secretary general and provincial board member Gerardo Sabal III’s pronouncements that there were merely informal discussions in the party about the ex-councilor’s nomination. But Sabal said he would abide by the decision of the party’s head.
Asked if the nomination of Elipe was a result of consultations in the Padayon Pilipino, Gov. Emano sent this reply via SMS: “Naa man siguro.” The governor did not elaborate.
Elipe maintained that his nomination was based on a consensus although it did not come during a convention.
He claimed he could not remember any Padayon Pilipino convention since he became a member of the party in 1998. This paper checked its database and found out that the Padayon Pilipino actually had a convention in Tagoloan town in December 2016 where Elipe’s wife, father-in-law and brother-in-law were elected as chairperson, president and vice chairman, respectively. The same convention also resulted in the election of Councilor Leon Gan as Padayon Pilipino vice president, ex-congressman Jose Benjamin Benaldo as secretary general, provincial board member Sabal as deputy secretary general, and former city administrator Grisilda Joson as treasurer.
Elipe claimed there were several meetings where he was repeatedly asked if he was interested on replacing the late provincial member Emano.
He said he did not take interest at first because he was already contented with his work as general manager of the capitolun sports complex. He claimed that he told his partymates to make him the least of their priorities because he realized that there were others in the Padayon Pilipino that had the potentials.
But since the nomination was already submitted to the interior department, he asked rhetorically, “Who am I to decline?”
Elipe said he was proud of the nomination but at the same time, he felt awkward because the Padayon Pilipino chairperson is his wife.
He however pointed out that although he lost in the 2016 elections, he ranked No. 6 in that year’s race for provincial board seats next to the late Mario Emano.
“I just hope the people will accept me,” he said.
According to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Elipe’s nomination documents were already submitted but these were subsequently sent back so the party could have these certified as true copies.
DILG director for Misamis Oriental Edward Bhagwani said Elipe’s nomination certificate was signed by the nominee’s father-in-law as leader of the party.
This paper also learned that it was Elipe’s wife Nadya who wrote to Malacañang about her husband’s nomination. She subsequently received a reply letter, informing her of the need for the party of comply with all the requirements before the nomination could be sent to the office of President Duterte for approval.