By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY — Incumbent Iloilo 3rd District Rep. Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr. is poised to win the gubernatorial race and set to replace his father, incumbent Gov. Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr.
Based on 99.63 percent of election returns, Rep. Defensor is leading the five-way gubernatorial race. He has a margin of 88,761 votes over 4th District Rep. Ferj Biron, his closest rival.
So far, Rep. Defensor garnered 477,692 votes while Biron has 388,931 votes.
This is an unexpected margin for Rep. Defensor. The well-oiled Biron campaign team cited a survey that projected Biron will win by 120,000 votes at the maximum or 60,000 votes at the minimum.
Vice Gov. Christine “Tingting” Garin is expected to be reelected. Her rival, Mayor Niel “Beng” Tupas III of Barotac Viejo town, has already conceded.
As of Wednesday, the provincial board of canvassers only proclaimed winning candidates for Iloilo 3rd District including incumbent Board Member Lorenz “Nonoy” Defensor as the congressman-elect. Also proclaimed are Mayor Jason Gonzales of Lambunao town and Vice Mayor Matt Palabrica of Bingawan town as the two board members.
Presumptive winners in the congressional seats are former health secretary Janette-Loreto Garin for 1st District, Mayor Michael Gorriceta of Pavia town for 2nd District and Mayor Braeden John Biron of Barotac Nuevo town for 4th District.
Incumbent Rep. Raul “Boboy” Tupas of 5th District is also expected to be reelected. He has a huge margin over his older brother, Niel “Junjun” Tupas Jr.
Atty. Roberto Salazar, Iloilo provincial director of Commission on Elections (Comelec), said all winning candidates are expected to be proclaimed by Thursday.