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Andok’s vs Cherry Foodarama in Leyte’s congressional race

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TACLOBAN CITY — Leyte’s second district will be the battleground between the wife of the owner of Andok’s Litson Manok and the scion of the Cherry Foodarama business in the 2019 polls.

Karen Lolita Javier, 43, filed his Certificate of Candidacy Wednesday under the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas to represent the district in next year’s polls.

She is the wife of Javier, Leyte Mayor Leonardo Javier, founder and owner of Andok’s Corporation which is famous for its roast chicken with hundreds of outlets nationwide. She will challenge the re-election bid of incumbent Rep. Henry Ong, who joined politics in 2016. Ong is running under the ruling PDP-Laban Party.

Ong’s family owns the former Cherry Foodarama, which has been in the business since the early 1950s as one of the pioneers in the grocery business. In 2015, SM Investments Corporation acquired the business.

Karen was accompanied by family members, Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla and several members of the influential Petilla clan, provincial board members, An Waray party-list officials, and mayors.

“I want to replicate development activities of Mayor Javier in his hometown in the past nine years. We will focus on livelihood programs for women and strengthen healthcare initiatives,” Karen told reporters.

Mayor Javier has close ties with local government leaders in Leyte being the former president of the municipal mayor’s league both in the national and provincial level. The official, who was instrumental in transforming his hometown, also provided immediate assistance to mayors after the 2013 super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

Karen, who speaks the native dialect fluently, said she decided to join the congressional race in response to clamor of mayors from the district’s 14 towns.

Some mayors who accompanied Ong’s filing of candidacy last week were also present at the Commission on Elections provincial office on Wednesday to show support to the political rookie.

“They supported Ong because they thought that I was not running. Now that I am officially a candidate, they’re here to support me,” said Karen, who used to be a print ad model in the 1990s.

Earlier, Ong said he’s ready to face whoever would run against his re-election bid. “The people will decide and I feel the people is on our side and they want me,” he said.

Meanwhile, incumbent Javier town Vice Mayor Michael Javier, will attempt to replace his father as mayor, after filing his COC on Tuesday.

The young Javier has been the town’s vice mayor since 2016. (PNA)