ILAGAN, ISABELA — When Maria Gracia Cielo ‘Grace’ Padaca was proclaimed governor of the northeastern province of Isabela in 2004 after a hotly contested election, she knew that an even tougher battle awaited her.
Padaca has been hailed by local and international media as a hero and a giant slayer, for defeating then Governor Faustino Dy Jr. and wresting the post that various members of the Dy family had monopolized for 34 years. Her supporters have since said that she has made a good beginning by opening up democratic space, granting unprecedented access to her constituents, and instituting programs that benefit many Isabelinos.
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