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Former Miss Universe to run for governor in Southern Philippines

By Antonio Figueroa     Nov 22, 2009 in Politics
MANILA – Margarita Moran-Floirendo, the 1973 Miss Universe, is being groomed to run for governor of Davao del Norte, a province in Southern Philippines, against the incumbent governor, who is her husband’s uncle.
Moran, an award-winning television producer and a staunch environmentalist, has been endorsed by her spouse, former three-time congressman Antonio R. Floirendo, as the official gubernatorial bet for the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, the administration party, against Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario.
Del Rosario was former minister of environment and natural resources, assemblyman, congressman, presidential adviser on government sites and two-time governor. He is the younger brother of Rep. Floirendo’s mother, Nenita, who is married to Don Antonio, the Philippines’ ‘banana king.’
Asked on why he is encouraging his wife to run, Floirendo curtly responded that the exodus of administration stalwarts to another party and the lack of potential candidates are two of the reasons for the endorsement. “No one [has] accepted the challenge [to fight Gov. del Rosario] so I will let Margie run,” he said.
In a text message, Rep. Anton F. Lagdameo, Rep. Floirendo’s nephew, said negotiations are still being done to convince the former beauty queen to join politics, adding that the family “will get a final confirmation soon.”
The Floirendo-Del Rosario clan used to be partners in Tagum Development Corp., the world’s contiguous and family-owned banana plantation, but parted ways in 2007 after Rep. Floirendo decided to run for provincial despite intense preparations already made for vice governor Anthony del Rosario, son of the governor, to run for the highest provincial post.
As a result, the younger del Rosario’s candidacy was withdrawn and in lieu his father, who was President Gloria Arroyo’s campaign manager in the 2004 elections, returned to reclaim his old seat.
The younger del Rosario will be running for Congress to replace Rep. Arrel Olaño, who is serving final term.
News of the former Ms. Universe’s political plunge, however, is met with ambivalence.
Sectors supportive of the Floirendos, as expected, have expressed optimism that Margie’s candidacy will be successful, but political pundits believe the clout of Gov. del Rosario, who is known as a performer, remains potent and dominant.
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