The recently concluded elections brought a double whammy to the Alfelor Clan, one of the major political forces in Camarines Sur. Felix “Nancing” Alfelor, Jr., lost his bid for provincial governor while his brother, and Emmanuel “Manny” Alfelor Sr., failed to catch the congressional seat by a very narrow margin. Hence the question: Where did the clan go wrong?
When Luis Villafuerte bolted from Palaka (Partido Lakas-Kampi) last year, a single whammy for the Alfelors was already written, at the least, on the sand. It should be noted that in 2007, the political stalwarts of the province — Alfelor, Andaya, and Villafuerte — formed a grand alliance similar to the “Alyansa kan Apat na Aguila” during the Marcos period. The 2007 alliance was intended to catapult the candidacy of Datu Arroyo and at the same time minimize election costs by not engaging in a political derby. The alliance was expected to go beyond the midterm elections that in 2008, political arrangements were already ironed out. However, when the Villafuertes expressed intent to join the Nationalist People’s Coalition and Partido Nacionalista of Villar, the well pressed political cloth got torned. Logically, this means the Villafuertes will be banging their heads against their former allies. And they did.
The problem: The Villafuertes control a larger pie of the voters. This threatened the hopes of getting Nonoy Andaya to the gubernatorial seat. To avoid the blunder, the Andayas set aside the 2008 compromise while Nonoy just expressed his intention to return as Congressman of the First District — an intention that sped up the moves of dividing Camarines Sur into five congressional districts.
With Nonoy Andaya out, Nancing Alfelor came in. He became the official candidate of Palaka for governor while Manny became the official candidate for the congressional elections in the Rinconada District. Staying with Palaka, however, became more of a baggage rather than an asset. This is their greatest political blunder. Either that they failed to notice Palaka’s internal decay or they were blinded by the idea of GMA being in control. Possibly, it could be also be an issue of resources as being in the administration slate could spell a bigger campaign kitty.
Second, when the Partido Liberal was consolidating its forces, the Alfelors didn’t stretch a hand despite the feelers and the emissaries. In 2004, the Alfelors are the last bastion of the Liberal Party in the Bicol Region and as such, there are people inside LP who floated the idea of accepting the Alfelors back. But the Alfelors stood by Palaka and as such, the electoral failure. This meant losing the votes of the Second District, the province’s biggest vote pocket, for the gubernatorial elections, and dividing Rinconada, particularly Iriga City, in the Congressional elections.
Third, the gubernatorial campaign of Nancing seemed to be out of touch with reality. By making bad PR, the gubernatorial campaign failed to stick the message. The biggest evidence to this are the tarpaulins stating that Camarines Sur is next to Maguindanao — an information that an ordinary voter will negate, even if true, because of the national media’s over-advertising of the CWC and the Caramoan, and sprouting of SM, LCC and other malls. Besides, if Camarines Sur is next to Maguindanao, why the increasing number of foreign and local tourists, an ordinary voter would ask
Of course, the clan fielding members in at least five elective posts will surely divide the resources.
Because of these, Nancing lost to L-Ray Villafuerte by209,624 votes while Manny Alfelor lost by a narrow margin of only 1,032 votes. If Manny was the only candidate from Iriga, he could have won by getting the larger share of the votes of Jay Dimaiwat and Mariano Trinidad. Dimaiwat generated 13,477 votes while Trinidad got 956 votes.
But even if 2010 was a double whammy for the Alfelors, they also got the Iriga City mayoralty seat with the re-election of Madel Alfelor-Gazmen, a seat in the provincial board with Rupert Alfelor; and a seat in the Iriga City Council with Emmanuel Alfelor, Jr.