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RIllIl.RY llEAT$ UP

By Valerie Damian
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BANGUEq ABRA-When Pre-
sident Duterte visited this
province last wee\ a local cen-
didate said it could be "the .

chance to bring change to Abra." Jocelyn Bernos


Mr. Duterte led the cam-
paign ralty of Partidb De-
mokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Authorities said they were
Bayan (PDP-Laban) at Divine stiu on the lookout for intense
Word College of Bangued here. political rivalry, which was al-
It was Mr. Duterte's first visit to ready evident during the PDP-
the province since becoming Laban campaign rally here.
President in2o16.
The province had earned no- 'Dictators'
toriety for having influential Before Mr. Duterte arrived to
families employing private give a speech, the Dolores town
armies. It also saw intense polit- nayor, Robert Victor Seares Jr.,
ical rivalries dating as far back had addressed the crowd and
as the early196os. called the curent political situa-
Among the prominent tion in the lone district ofAbra as
politicians killed due to political \one"l'being ruled by dictators."
rivalry was Rep. Luis "Chito" Seares, who is running for
Bersamin, brother of Chief Jus- Abra governor under PDP-La-
tice Lucas Bersamin and former barf said only a few Abreios
Gov? Eustaquio Bersamin. were willing to challenge incum-
bent officials. He is running
Task force against incumbent Gov. jocelyn
Last year, the province was Bei"nos of National Unity Party-
included in the government's Asenso, and his cousin, former
election watch list for the Abra Electric Cooperatiie gener-
barangay and Sangguniang Ka- al manager Loreto Seares Jr., an
bataan elections. For this year's independent candidate.
midterm elections, 10 towns Rep: Jos€ph Sto. Nino
were identified as "areas ofcon- Bernos, brother-inlaw of Go\.-
cem" by the Commission on ernor Bernos, is running against
Elections. two members of the Seares-Lu-
But Senior Insp. Crace Mar- na clan for the congressional
ron, information officer of the post: Victoda Corpus, Mayor
Abra police, said the province Seares' aunt and sister of for-
was no longer ad afea of concem mer Rip. Cecilia Seares-Luna,
for the May 13 €lections. and Derdrei Ifurung, Corpus'
Marron also dismissed re.: niece and Luna's daughter.
ports of.the presence of private Ana Marie Bersamin, daugh-
armies, but said intelligence ter of Luis Bersamin, is pitted
monitoring by the police on against reelectionist Vice Gov.
these groups was continuing, Ronald Balao-as.
Despite the exclusion of Former Bangued Mayor
Abra from the list of election Ryan Seares-Luna, cousin of
hot spots, the police have reac- ' Robert Victor Seares and broth-
tivated the special task force, er of Ifurung, is running against
called 'Abra Shield," to oversee incumbent Bangued Mayor Do-
peace and order in the province
during the election period.
minic Valera, father of Gover-
nor Bernos. tNe
"ptgt - Alo "