Rivals of Tan dynasty accept Samar results

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Opponents of the influential Tan family in Samar province conceded after months of intense political rivalries.

First to accept defeat was lawyer Christopher Bolastig, who ran as second district representative against Governor Sharee Ann Tan, who swapped post with her mother, Milagrosa.

Bolastig, in his social media post Thursday, thanked his supporters and family who walked with him in his journey during the election season.

“It was a good, clean fight for us. We have reached this far because of your support and I will forever be grateful,” Bolastig said. “Let’s continue providing services that the province of Samar deserves. Congratulations to Ann Tan.”

In response, Sharee Ann appreciated his sportsmanship. “It was indeed a respectable fight. I salute you for being such a true gentleman. Hoping to align our vision someday soon.”

Tan, who run under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan, earned 122,332 votes, compared to Bolastig’s 94,989 votes.

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.

Samar’s second legislative district is considered as the Tan clan’s bailiwick since they entered politics in 1992.

The district covers Catbalogan City and towns of Basey, Calbiga, Daram, Hinabangan, Jiabong, Marabut, Motiong, Paranas, Pinabacdao, San Jose de Buan, San Sebastian, Santa Rita, Talalora, Villareal, and Zumarraga.

Retired military officer Emil Zosa also conceded to governor-elect Milagrosa Tan, incumbent representative of Samar’s second district.

“The will of (the) people is supreme, so we respect the results of the
election. Congratulations to all winners,” he said in his social media
post on Thursday.

This election was Zosa’s second failed attempt to hold the gubernatorial post. He ran in 2016 but lost to Sharee Ann. He also thanked his family, supporters and political allies.

“To my rival, Governor-elect Mila Tan, I humbly ask you to accept this congratulatory message. My wish is that since you are now the mother of our province, please bring progress and development to Samar,” he said.

Zosa gained 193,233 votes, less than Milagrosa’s 202,719 votes. The matriarch was the governor for nine years until 2010.

She started her political career in 1998 as a candidate for the provincial board to replace her brother-in-law Ruben Tan, who was, in turn, a substitute for her late husband, Ricardo.

The family was engaged in general merchandising and micro-lending, which made them popular in town. After serving as provincial legislator, Mila ran for governor in 2001, beating incumbent Jose Roño.

Milagrosa’s running mate was her son, Reynolds Michael Tan. He is now vice governor-elect of the province after garnering 205,356 votes against the 158,270 votes received by Jesus Redaja, a former vice governor.

Reynolds, the newest clan member in politics, will replace his brother, incumbent Vice Governor Stephen James Tan, who lost his congressional bid in the first district against incumbent Edgar Mary Sarmiento.

The provincial board of canvassers announced the winners of key positions in Samar on Thursday night. The winning members of the Tan family were not present, prompting the provincial board of canvassers to hold the proclamation “in absentia”.

Several towns in Samar have been tagged as election areas of grave concern due to intense political rivalry, active private armies, and threats of the terrorist New People’s Army. (PNA)