By Ali G. Macabalang
KIDAPAWAN CITY – The elected governor and vice governor of (North) Cotabato province belong to rival political parties, but their camps have assured of better collaboration in the next three years in the name of “professionalism” and for public welfare.
Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza, the sitting vice governor, won the recent gubernatorial election with a slight margin over incumbent Gov. Nancy Alaan Catamco, regaining the gubernatorial post she held for three terms (2010-2019).
Taliño-Mendoza’s current slot will be occupied on June 30 by Efren “Boy” Piñol, who won the vice gubernatorial race with over 40,000 votes over rival candidate Shirlyn “Neneng” Macasarte. Macasarte had served as longtime board member and once a vice governor.
Piñol, a running-mate of Gov. Catamco under the PDP-Laban, and Taliño-Mendoza, Macasarte’s running-mate under the Nationalist Party, were proclaimed winners by the Provincial Board of Canvassers on May 11 at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan hall at Barangay Amas in this city.
The vice governor-elect is the younger brother of Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol, a former governor and member of President Duterte’s cabinet. The elder Piñol, a rival of Taliño-Mendoza in two previous gubernatorial elections, ran in the recent senatorial race but did not make it.
On Saturday, May 14, Vice Governor-elect Piñol told the Philippine Muslim Today news that his initial policy would be to set aside political party lines and promote a cohesive collaboration between the office of the governor and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
“I will support the official priorities of our governor…Our people elected us to work for public welfare, not to promote political boundaries,” said Piñol, who had once served as provincial administrator and elected mayor of Magpet town.
The provincial legislature has 10 elective seats. Taliño-Mendoza’s party-mates won seven of the slots, with just three of Piñol’s party-mates winning the rest.
The elected and re-elected board members were outgoing City Mayor Joseph Evangelista, Noel Baynosa, Dr. Phil Malaluan, RJ Caoagdan, Roland Jungco, Sittie Eljorie Antao and Ivy Dalumpines (all of NP), and Edwin Cruzado, Dr. Kris Piñol-Solis, and Manuel Rabara (all of PDP-Laban).
Piñol expressed optimism that while he has only three party-mates in the provincial board, their counterparts from the NP would function professionally in accordance with his desire for cohesion in the new administration.
Since 2019, the executive and legislative branches led respectively by Gov. Catamco and Vice Gov. Taliño-Mendoza have been at odds over policy differences.
According to media reports, Catamco and Taliño-Mendoza had traded suits over administrative issues, including a tussle on authority to appoint job order (JO) workers in the legislature.
Taliño-Mendoza was not available for comment as of press time. But her staff have hinted that she would reciprocate Piñol’s call for cohesion. (AGM)