By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Aside from Moises Padilla Mayor Magdaleno Peña losing his reelection bid during last Monday’s midterm election, other local incumbent also fell to challengers.
Isabela Mayor Joselito Malabor lost to Dr. Irene Consunji Montilla, the wife of his predecessor, former Isabela Mayor Enrique Montilla III. The outgoing incumbent assumed the seat after the former mayor passed away in 2017.
Shortly after taking office, Malabor was met with resistance after issuing an executive order dismissing 232 Montilla appointees.
He was also a critic of Peña, claiming the outgoing Moises Padilla mayor masterminded the 2015 murder of former Negros Occidental Provincial Board Member Renato Malabor, Sr.
In addition, following recent deadly attacks in Moises Padilla, the outgoing Isabela mayor expressed his lack of confidence with both the military and police.
Meanwhile, Negros Occidental fifth district Rep. Alejandro Mirasol, who is in his third and final term, successfully defeated incumbent Binalbagan Mayor Manuel Aranda.
The greater majority of incumbent mayors across the province managed to hold on to their seats, including Peña’s son, Pulupandan Mayor Miguel Antonio Peña.
Newly-elected mayors in the province include former Negros Occidental Provincial Board Member Salvador Escalante, Jr. in Cadiz City, Alfonso Baguio in Calatrava, Melecio Yap – Escalante City, John Paul Alvarez – Ilog, Pedro Zayco – Kabankalan City, Renato Gustilo – San Carlos City, Raymond Tongson – Himamaylan City, and Maria Gina Lizares – Sipalay City./DGB, WDJ