52 bets eyeing posts in QC’s new districts
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - March 31, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A total of 114 candidates are competing this year for the 36 council seats in Quezon City, with almost half of them eyeing the additional seats that came with the creation of two new legislative districts.

Ballot templates released by the Commission on Elections showed that 31 council candidates are running in the fifth district, while 21 were allowed to run in sixth district. Six councilors are elected in each district.

The number of council candidates in the two new districts was higher than the 20 hopefuls in the second district, and the 14 candidates running each in the first, third, and fourth districts.

The new districts were created following the approval of the Republic Act 10170 in July 2012, which divided the current second legislative district into three.

Among those running for the fifth district council posts were incumbent second district councilors Godofredo Liban II and Aly Medalla, who belong to the administration slate of re-electionist Mayor Herbert Bautista (Liberal Party or LP).

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), while failing to field candidates for the city’s top posts, will carry several congressional and councilor candidates in Quezon City.

Among them are actor-comedian and former Parañaque vice mayor Anjo Yllana and singer Imelda Papin’s sister Aileen, who are both running for fifth district council posts.

Meanwhile, in the sixth district, incumbent second district Councilor Candy Medina will be joined by returning Councilor Lala Sotto, daughter of Sen. Tito Sotto. Her brother Gian is seeking council re-election in the third district. All of them are running under the LP slate.

Other prominent sixth district bets include independent candidates singer Heber Bartolome and former Bulacan board member Allan Robes.

Robes, the husband of re-electionist fourth district Councilor Jessica Castelo-Daza, is facing homicide charges for allegedly shooting the boyfriend of his mother-in-law, former Rep. Nanette Castelo-Daza. He claimed that he acted in self-defense.

Television host-actor Roderick Paulate will also seek re-election for a council post in the second district, while former councilor Ramon “Bu” Mathay is eyeing a return in the fourth district.

Singer Anthony Castelo and former basketball player Franz Pumaren are also running as independent candidates for councilor in the third district.

Unlike in recent years, fewer celebrities are eyeing local positions in what was previously dubbed as the “City of the Stars.”

Congressional race

Meanwhile, the congressional race in the newly created sixth district is relatively calm, with LP bet Kit Belmonte running unopposed.

The case is different in the fifth district, with actor and incumbent Councilor Alfred Vargas (LP) facing tough opponents former congressmen Dante Liban (UNA) and Annie Rosa Susano (KKK). Also joining the fray is broadcaster Gani Oro, who is running under the Aksyon Party.

Re-electionist fourth district congressman House Speaker Sonny Belmonte will again face Albert Hans Palacios (PMP), whom he defeated in the 2010 elections.

The congressional race in the second and third districts will be a rematch of sorts between LP incumbents Winston Castelo and Bolet Banal against former congressmen Ismael “Chuck” Mathay III (independent) and Mat Defensor (UNA).

The race in the first district will be a three-way fight between incumbent Councilor Francisco Calalay (LP), Rita Crisologo (UNA), and Gary Jamile (independent). They will vie for the seat that will be vacated by third-term congressman Vincent “Bingbong” Crisologo, Rita’s husband.

No prominent challengers

Meanwhile, no prominent opponents have challenged re-electionists Mayor Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte.

Independent candidates Johnny Chang and Henry Samonte are both gunning for the city’s top post, while independent Rolando Jota will face Belmonte in the vice mayoralty race.

Samonte, Chang, and Jota all ran in 2010 for the same posts they are eyeing in this year’s elections.

In a text message, Bautista’s chief of staff Aldrin Cuña said the administration’s campaign will start Monday with an inaugural Mass followed by a motorcade. The proclamation rally of the local LP bets in Quezon City is slated on April 7.

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