By Mutya Collander and Lalaine M. Jimenea
IT’S FINAL and definite. Ricahard Gomez, husband and chief of staff of Cong. Lucy Torres-Gomez, is running for Mayor of Ormoc City come 2013 and has announced it to a gathering of around 300 core leaders from Ormoc’s 110 barangays this Sunday, April 13, at the Badminton City in Brgy. Linao.
Gomez told his vilage leaders that it is all systems go as far as he and the Torres family is concerned. He is well prepared to take on the Codillas, he said.
With him were former congresswoman Vicky Locsin, who came in behalf of his son “Toto Leo” (Leo Carmelo Locsin Jr.), who is said to be running under Gomez’s ticket.
She said Toto Leo was in Manila to attend his son’s First Communion.
Also with Gomez were Lucy’s brother-in-law Vince Rama, her political affairs officer Lito Cotiangco, Atty. Coeli Fiel, Emma Fragata, Raquel Caluza, Linda Sacay, and city councilor Rolando Villasencio. Some of them will be running for city council with Richard.
“If we want to win, we have to work together for a better Ormoc,” he emphasized to the leaders gathered. As to the question of who will be his vice-mayor and form his final slate for council, he said, “We are still forming the group of councilors, and from them, we’ll see who will be vice mayor.”
Gomez said that on October 1, he would file his certificate of candidacy.
Gomez made his announcement after a professional survey team submitted its results on a survey from a sample population they made for the mayoralty post which showed him leading by an average of 65% over Eufrocino “Dodong” Codilla Sr. who posted an average of 21.6% and his son, Edward “Ondo” Codilla who got 8.5%.
Gomez was also the most popular choice over the city’s former Liberal Party standard-bearer Marcos “Macoy” Larrazabal who only got 4.3%.
A source said a separate survey would also be commissioned as to who would be best and acceptable for vice-mayor and city councilors.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Vicky Locsin, first cousin of Macoy, also debunked claims that her son Toto Leo would be Macoy’s running mate. Macoy has reportedly made his intention known to run for mayor again come 2013, which threatens to split and weaken the opposition once more like what a third ticket did in 2010.
Locsin said that if ever her son runs for office, it would be in Richard’s ticket. She called for solidarity and said, “Ngari gihapon kita kang Lucy og kang Richard”. She also added that Macoy has reportedly been telling people about his disappointment in running with the Gomezes last 2010. “Si Macoy kuno nagpadayag nga nagkadisgusto sila ni Richard. Dili kana tinuod. Sa side ni Richard og ni Lucy, wala’y problema. In fact, sa mga okasyon, pirmi siya imbitaron pero dili siya mutungha”, Mrs. Locsin bared.
For his part, Gomez said that even as the survey results suggest he enjoys a big margin over the Codilla patriarch, he vowed this only makes him want to work harder because it reflects the people’s sentiment that they want to see new leaders in Ormoc at the helm.
In previous talks, Gomez has always pointed out that “We’ve shown Ormoc there is such a thing as good governance. Lucy has shown Ormocanons and the people of the 4th district that there is such a thing called compassionate leadership, one that is inclusive and does away with the traditional politics of alienating people because they are not “ours or theirs”.”
When Lucy came into power, her first act was to continue her predecessor’s scholars despite demands from supporters to let their heads roll. “It is not the children’s fault that their parents are not my supporters”, she told supporters, and went on to fulfill her promise that she will just find ways to fund more scholarships for their children. Now, Lucy is one of the congresswomen with most scholars in her district.
With regards to implementation of government infrastructures, abiding by the Aquino administration’s slogan of having “the right projects, at the right cost and the right quality”, Richard and Lucy have shown constituents that government projects can be finished in record time compared to the previous norm of their political rivals. The most recent is the 6-classroom building at EVSU-Luna which was finished in 69 days or 111 days in advance to its completion schedule of 180 days.
Richard and Lucy have also brought in various programs from private entities that have previously not included Ormoc and the 4th district of Leyte in their implementation areas.
The power couple also brings pride to individual Ormocanons, putting the city in the map again in a favorable light. Contrary to the past when Ormoc was associated with a deadly flood, illegal loggers and extravagant cockfighting aficionados, locals who go places and introduce themselves “as from Ormoc” are pleased to hear that people are quick to say, “ah, kababayan ni Lucy”.