NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Former Vice Governor Julius Herrera failed to file his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) with the Commission on Election during the last day for substitution last Monday.
The former Bohol official was all set to substitute for Fabio Ontong, Jr. when he was informed that the latter could not be contacted until the closing of the COMELEC offices at 5 o’clock Monday afternoon.
If he could have filed his COC, Herrera will be running against re-electionist Rep. Edgar Chatto who is bidding for his second term as congressman in Bohol’s first district.
Herrera was informed that Ontong was in Baguio City on the day and his (Ontong) mobile phone could not be reached on Sunday which was the last day for substitution.
“The one who will benefit,” could be the mastermind in “hiding” Ontong so nobody can substitute him as a candidate for congressman in the first district, Herrera told the Chronicle.
Earlier, Ontong was already perceived as a candidate who will be substituted during the last days allowed for substitution.
Ontong filed under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), the same party as Herrera.
DENIED BEING BOUGHT
Ontong, during a phone interview with the Chronicle last night said he was never bought by anyone in exchange for his alleged “hiding” in order not to be substituted as a candidate for congressman.
He narrated that he left his phone last Sunday in Manila while he went to Baguio City to escort a friend. It was already late Monday afternoon that he got the message about Herrera wanting to substitute him
However, he admitted that he was anticipating being substituted by last termer City Mayor Baba Yap. However, until the day he left for Manila, Mayor Yap himself told him that he is not running for congressman in the first district. He last met the mayor during the visit of presidential bet Senator Manny Pacquiao at the Bohol Wisdom School gym last Oct. 30.
In fact, he said that if only he was notified earlier of Herrera wanting to substitute him, that he would be willing to withdraw his candidacy in favor of Herrera whom he respects being a former vice-governor.
He laughed off rumors circulating that he was paid P1 million in order to prevent anyone from substituting him.
Ontong said that his trips to Manila could not be considered as unusual as he is engaged in the trade of supplying medicines.