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Mother, sons, daughter: Tan dynasty seeks tighter grip on Samar politics

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The Tan political clan is tightening their grip on Samar province with mother, sons, and daughter filing their Certificates of Candidacy (COCs) on Wednesday afternoon for next year’s mid-term elections.

Four members of Tan family are vying for the elective posts in the two congressional districts of Samar and two top positions in the provincial government.

Incumbent Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan-de los Santos, who is on her last term, will run as representative in the 2nd district against a native of Catbalogan City, lawyer Chris Bolastig, who is former employee of the Bureau of Customs.

Sharee Ann used to be a district representative and was the country’s youngest member of Congress in 2007. In 2010, her mother, Milagrosa, switched places with her.

After nine years, the mother and daughter will again swap their respective posts to further tighten their grip in the impoverished province.

Milagrosa, incumbent representative, will run for governor, the post she held for nine years until 2010. Her opponent is former military officer Emil Soza, who ran and lost in the previous election against Sharee Ann. Soza is the husband of Santa Margarita town Mayor Gemma Soza.

The Tan matriarch faced several graft and corruption cases during her stint in the provincial government from 2001 to 2010, but was never convicted.

Another son, Vice Governor Stephen James Tan will try his luck in the 1st district congressional race against incumbent Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento. The first district is known as an election hot spot due to a series of shooting incidents attributed to intense political rivalry.

The youngest family member, Michael, is eyeing to take over Stephen James’ post against former Vice Governor Jesus Redaja.

Sharee Ann described the family’s filing of COC as an intimate moment that did not allow media coverage.

“Without any fanfare nor grand gestures, we humbly submit ourselves to once again serve the people of Samar. Allow us to continue the various programs under the Spark Samar Development Agenda,” the governor said in a statement after filing her COC.

Sharee Ann launched the Spark Samar Campaign that focuses on tourism as an economic driver of the province addressing problem on poverty and insurgency. The program was awarded this year as best tourism-oriented local government by the Department of Tourism and tour operators.

Stephen James thanked the people who supported him in his journey in the political arena and in his first bid for a seat in congress.

“This is a hard decision for my part, I am doing this for the welfare of our constituents in the first district,” he said. (PNA)