By SHIELA MAE BUTLIG
MISAMIS Oriental elections officer Aleli Dayo Ramirez expressed dismay over the absence of the entire provincial slate of the National Unity Party at Friday’s Provincial Candidates’ Forum at the University of Science and Technology in Southern Philippines (USTP).
“Kani unta nga arena is intended for all the candidates. The directive sa amoa sa Comelec nga muhatag mi og platform para ang tanan mga kandidato ma-introduce nila ang ilang mga kaugalingon para pud mailhan sila ug insakto sa atong mga botante,” Ramirez said after the entire slate of the NUP led by gubernatorial candidate Julio Uy and his wife Rep. Juliette Uy snubbed the Commission on Elections-sanctioned event.
The forum was organized by Comelec in partnership with the Jaycees, National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections, Lihuk, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, National Chaplains of the Philippines, National Police, and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
The Padayon Pilipino slate headed by reelectionist Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano came in full force. With Emano were congressional candidate for the 2nd District of the province Jose Benjamin Benaldo, vice gubernatorial candidate President Elipe and candidates for the provincial board Dexter Yasay, Syrae Mae Emano, Nancy Madjos, Bliss Panky Acain, Gerardo Sabal, Wayne Militante, Vincent Pelaez, Ken Nino Uyguangco, and Cancho Nicanor Guibone,
But the Emano group’s congressional candidate in the 1st District, Christian Unabia, was a no-show. One of the candidates said Unabia had an important engagement.
Also in attendance was Manuel Poe who is challenging Gov. Emano’s reelection bid.
Although there is no penalty for not attending the forum, Ramirez said, the absence of some candidates in the province told a lot about their politics.
“Makita nana sa mga botante ug kinsa ilang botaran. Simple nga imbitasyon sa Comelec, matuman ba na o dili,” Ramirez said.
Gov. Emano said he was saddened that the Uys and their cansdidates did not attend the forum.
“Kami pud nasakit sa wala pagtunga sa among kaatbang kay kuno toa sa Manticao nag-hand-shaking ug nag-rally,” said Emano.
He said his group also had a scheduled rally but decided to postpone it in order to attend to the Comelec-organized forum.
“Nganong motago man sila sa saya sa ilang mga tigpamaba ug dili man sila muatubang dinhi atubangan sa akong mga kauban ug tubagon ang ilang mga pagpangdaot batok kanako?” he said.