By Restituto Cayubit
NAVAL, Biliran – Governor Gerry Espina was proclaimed representative of the Lone District of Biliran last May 14, while his elder brother incumbent Congressman Roger Espina succeeded in his bid for the gubernatorial post.
The congressman’s twin brother, re-electionist Mayor Rudy Espina won his 3rd term in Kawayan town and his son Mayor Gerard Espina garnered overwhelming votes for a 2nd term in the provincial capital town of Naval.
Kokoy Caneja, a long time Espina ally and incumbent member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan will now sit as Vice Governor. All in all, the Bando Espina slate won a landslide victory from the congressional seat down to the members of the provincial board in both 1st and 2nd districts. Of the 8 mayoralty posts in the province, 7 were won by Bando Espina candidates.
Likewise, majority of Sangguniang Bayan seats were won by partymates. Bando Espina was established by Gerry Sr, the family patriarch and a former assemblyman of Manila. When Biliran gained a provincial status in 1992, he won the congressional seat in 1995 and held it for 3 terms until his namesake Gerryboy replaced him in 2004.
Despite the landslide victory, the recent congressional race was hotly contested when a former ally turned a bitter rival for the house, but Espina managed to edge his opponent with a margin of almost 8,000 votes winning in 7 of the 8 towns.
Against issues of dynastism, the Espina family countered with accomplishments and results, including the distinction of being the only province in region 8 to achieve the Seal of Good Local Governance for two years in a row, being the province with the lowest poverty incidence in the region, and being a drug-cleared province.“Nagpapasalamat ako sa patuloy na pagtitiwala ng mga Biliranon sa akin at sa Bando Espina. Pipilitin ko po na abutin ang ating hangad na kaunlaran, ngunit kailangan ko rin po ang inyong tulong, upang sama-sama po tayo tungo sa kaunlaran ng ating probinsya” says Congressman-elect Gerryboy Espina Jr.