By Jing Villamente, Ritchie Horario and Neil Alcober Reporters
SAVE for some areas where politicians have finished their term, Metro Manila’s political landscape remains practically the same in the aftermath of Monday’s polls as most incumbents managed to get reelected to their posts.
In Quezon City, for instance, local Team PNoy candidates led by Mayor Herbert Bautista swept the May 13 mid-term polls with all six congressional seats being taken by members of the ruling Liberal Party.
In a proclamation rite yesterday at the city’s Albert Hall, Bautista and his vice mayor, Joy Belmonte, were declared winners of the mayoralty and vice mayoralty race garnering 524,835 votes and 528,912 votes, respectively.
The tight congressional fight in District 1 was won by three-termer councilor Francisco Boy Calalay with 62,710 votes against the wife of outgoing Rep. Bingbong Crisologo, Rita, who got 57,642 votes.
In District 2, it was an easy win for incumbent and reelectionist House Rep. Winnie Castelo who garnered 81,645 votes against comebacking congressman Ismael “Chuck” Mathay Jr. with 46,521 votes.
The close fight in District 3, with a rematch between Jorge “Bolet” Banal” and Mat Defensor was won by the former with 49,731 votes against the latter’s 39,513 votes.
House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte virtually ate up his opponent with 96,682 votes against 9,762 votes of his lone contender, Hans Palacios.
The new District 5 (Novaliches ) has Councilor Alfred Vargas as the winner in the four-way race with 67,753 votes. He bested former congresswoman Annie Susano and former congressman Dante Liban and radio commentator Isagani “Gani” Oro.
The other new District 6 (Tandang Sora area) had an unopposed congressional bet in Christopher ‘Kit” Belmonte, nephew of Speaker Belmonte.
“It is also a hard-fought victories as two of our congressmen [Calalay and Banal] who had a close fight [with their opponents],” Belmonte said.
He added that what had happened was an indication that the city is very supportive to the Aquino Administration.
Bautista thanked his constituents who gave him a wide margin over his two opponents.
“This means that yung mga boto nila at sila mismo ay may mga concerns na dapat nating trabahuhin. We will find what are those and work for it. Meantime it’s back to work. In fact may execom [executive committee meeting]na tayo bukas,” he told The Manila Times.
Binay’s second term
Also in Makati City, incumbent Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Jun-Jun” Binay won a second term in the May 13 midterm elections.
He beat his opponent by an overwhelming margin.
Binay was proclaimed winner after garnering 224,740 votes. His lone rival, Renato Bondal, got 27,505 votes.
The Board of Canvassers (BOC) also proclaimed Jun-Jun’s sibling, Abigail, winner of the congressional seat of Makati’s second district with 117,066 votes and Monique Lagdameo as winner in the first district with 92,348 votes.
Likewise, Makati Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña of the Liberal Party was also reelected with 129,499 votes.
Guia’s landslide win
In the so-called Estrada country, second-termer Mayor Guia Gomez was proclaimed winner on Tuesday morning.
Gomez, a former actress and mother of senatorial candidate Joseph Victor Ejercito-Estrada, was reelected through a landslide victory.
She garnered 33, 994 votes, while her rivals Alton Angeles and Eduardo San Pascual Jr. received only 7, 247 and 2, 398 votes, respectively.
Gomez ran under the United National Alliance, a coalition co-founded by former president and Manila mayor-elect Joseph Estrada.
Meanwhile, a daughter of Senator Jinggoy Estrada topped the race for the city council.
Janella Marie Ejercito, 23, is the youngest councilor in the city. She garnered the most votes for councilor in the second district of San Juan City.
But former Executive Secretary Ronnie Zamora defeated his closest rival, Jannah Ejercito, the niece of former President Estrada, for the congressional seat.
Incumbent Vice Mayor Francis Zamora was also reelected to his post in San Juan.
Incumbent Mayor Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. of Mandaluyong City was also proclaimed winner on Tuesday morning.
Tension simmered after the BOC refused an earlier appeal by the camp of Abalos to be proclaimed as the winner since 99 percent of the total number of votes was already counted.
The chief of the city canvassers earlier stalled the proclamation based on a memorandum requiring all 100 percent of the votes should be accounted for.
Abalos Jr. defeated Danny De Guzman and independent candidate Florencio Solomon for the post of mayor.
Liberal Party’s vice mayoral candidate Edward Bartolome defeated independent candidate Doki Pe.
Rep. Neptali Gonzales of Mandaluyong City was also reelected.
Gonzales, now on his third and last term,edged out rivals Frank Reyes, Gerard Castillo and Renato Panem for the congressional seat in Mandaluyong.
Pasig mayor’s wife
In Pasig City, Nacionalista Party candidate Maribel Andaya-Eusebio was elected local chief executive vice her husband, Mayor Robert “Bobby” Eusebio.
Polls result showed that Eusebio garnered 226, 776 votes against her two rivals—Wainright Rivera of Liberal Party who got 11, 345 votes and lawyer Ismael Mejia, an independent candidate, who had 6,737 votes.
Eusebio’s victory came from the 98.59 percent of the votes counted. She garnered the highest number of votes in the history of elections in the city.
The Liberal Party’s congressional candidate, Roman Romulo, was also proclaimed winner.
Romulo, husband of president Aquino’s former girlfriend Shalani Soledad, is now in his third term as congressman.
In the municipality of Pateros, incumbent Mayor Joey Medina of the Nacionalista Party (NP) won by a slim margin against his rival, Miguel Ponce 3rd of LP.
In Parañaque City, First District Rep. Edwin Olivarez, son of former mayor Pablo Olivarez, won over the son of outgoing Mayor Florencio Bernabe, Jr., Councilor Benjo Bernabe who only got 68,130 votes compared to the 95,417 votes for Olivarez.
Incumbent Las Pinas City Mayor Vergel “Nene” Aguilar, who ran unopposed, garnered 138,121 votes to defeat his closest opponent, independent candidate Conrado Miranda, who only got 3,782.
In Pasay City, incumbent Mayor Tony Calixto of LP was a runaway winner with 100,717 votes, defeating Jorge Del Rosario of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), 24,380 and former mayor Peewee Trinidad with 18,797.
In Muntinlupa City, comebacking former mayor Jaime Fresnedi of LP beat incumbent Mayor Aldrin San Pedro, who ran under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Fresnedi, who was Muntinlupa mayor for three terms, had 88,071 votes, beating San Pedro’s 83,337.
The Comelec also proclaimed incumbent Rep. Rodolfo Biazon; Vice Mayor Artemio Simundac and councilors from the team of Mayor San Pedro.
Taguig City fight
Meanwhile, in Taguig City, mayoralty candidate Rica Tinga would not give up the fight easily as she plans to question the outcome of the elections although incumbent Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano appeared to be heading to victory.
But Lyle Niño Pasco, the legal counsel of the Nacionalista Party-Taguig described as “dirty tactics” the move by the Tinga camp to question the credibility of the elections.
“They are trying to cast a shadow of doubt on the vote of the people of Taguig as a last ditch effort to frustrate the will of Taguigenos. But they will not prevail,” he said.
He said the camp of Tinga has been feeding the media with false information in order to lay down the basis for the delay of the proclamation of the winners in Taguig’s local polls and subsequently cast shadow on the results of the elections.
“It is another desperate attempt to derail the imminent victory of Mayor Lani as she is poised to overcome her rival by a mile,” Pasco said on Tuesday.
Pasco issued the statement after the camp of Tinga threatened to file before the Comelec a Petition to Declare Failure of Elections in the city brought about by massive cheating.
“So Rica Tinga is moving heaven and earth to prevent this by engaging in dirty tactics and questionable strategies,” Pasco added. He said “the only thing towering over the shadow Tinga is trying to conjure is the landslide victory of Mayor Lani in the May 13 polls.”
Not as lucky
In Caloocan City, Ricojudge “RJ” Echiverri was not as lucky. He lost the mayoralty race to former lawmaker Oscar Malapitan.
The young Echiverri, son of three-termer Mayor Enrico, lost because the influential Iglesia Ni Cristo decided to go for Malapitan. The former mayor, on the other hand, nearly lost his congressional bid, a sign that the Echiverris are beginning to lose hold of the City.