By Rhaydz B. Barcia
LEGAZPI CITY (19-May-2013/PNA) – The quixotic attempt of movie celebrity Aga Muhlach to create a dent in the stronghold of the 105-year-old Fuentebella political dynasty in Camarines Sur nearly succeeded as he had been ahead in the vote count for while.
For a while, even his admirers and followers as well as anti-dynasty advocates were jubilant.
The might of the well-entrenched and well-experienced Fuentebella clan, however, prevailed at the end.
It was politics–the real life, not the reel life for an accomplished actor who always wins in his films at the end.
Wimpy Fuentebella eventually edged Muhlach out with 82,834 votes against the actor’s 80,629 votes or a 2,205-vote lead.
Wimpy will succeed his father, Arnulfo, as outgoing representative of the Fourth District of Camarines Sur and continue the reign of the Fuentebella political dynasty in the province.
He is among the fourth generation of the longest reigning political clan in the Bicol region.
With his election as a member of the House of Representatives, the Fuentebella clan has become one of the indestructible political dynasties in the country today.
The clan’s reign started with its patriarch, Don Mariano, former gobernadorcillo of Sañgay town and was Governor of Ambos Camarines during the American occupation.
Don Mariano’s sons — Manuel, Jose and Felix — followed his footsteps.
Jose helped found the Nationalista Party during the American occupation and had been associated with former President Manual L. Quezon and President Sergio Osmeña, the first two presidents of the Philippine Commonwealth.
All three sons served as representatives of the 2nd and 3rd districts of Camarines Sur, and held various local government positions.
Felix was governor from 1976 to 1986.
The second-generation Fuentebella passed on the banner to the next generation headed by Felix’s son, Arnulfo, the current representative of the 4th district and Deputy House Speaker.
Arnulfo entered politics in 1978 as representative of the Fourth District in the Batasang Pambansa during the Martial Law era.
After losing in the 1984 elections, he made a comeback in 1992.
Arnulfo finished his maximum three terms in 2001, which included a 72-day stint as Speaker of the House from November 2000 to January 2001.
He fielded his son Wimpy, who served one term in Congress.
Wimpy was part of the “brat pack” that initiated the move to impeach former Chief Justice Hilario Davide.
After Wimpy’s three-year term, Arnulfo ran again and won the 2004, 2007, and 2010 elections, strengthening his grip on the Fourth District.
Last Thursday evening, Wimpy was finally proclaimed by the Commission on Elections’ provincial board of canvassers despite election protest from the camp of Muhlach.
Prior to the proclamation, tension gripped between both camps of Muhlach (LP) and Wimpy (NPC).
About 5,000 supporters of Muhlach from various areas of Partido flocked to the canvassing hall in his hometown decrying the alleged political maneuverings of the Fuentebellas.
It was a neck-to-neck fight between Muhlach and Wimpy, the scion of 105-year-old political dynasty in th Partido area of Camarines Sur “whose constituents have remained in poverty with high case of malnutrition and slow development,” according to Muhlach.
The province of Camarines Sur has been in the grip of political dynasties–such as the Villafuertes, Fuentebellas, Andayas and Alfelors.
These big politicians had been the ones deciding the fate of the political newcomers for more than 100 years now.
But apparently, new players in politics emerged–Rep. Dato Arroyo (Lakas-CMD) of the Second District who defeated outgoing Governor Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte.
Representative-elect Leni Robredo of the Third District also won against Nelly Favis-Villafuerte.
Rep. Salvio Fortuno (LP) of the (5th District) retained his post by defeating one of the Alfelors.
Owing to his good record, Rep. Rolando Andaya retained his seat in first District. (PNA)