BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – In the last 2019 polls, ruling local party Grupo Progreso (Group for Progress) almost swept the entire 15 elective posts up for grabs at City Hall.
In that midterm polls (or halfway into the six-year term of President Duterte), sitting Mayor Evelio Leonardia and GP won big with Leonardia, Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya, and Vice-Mayor El Cid Familiaran getting re-elected.
It almost dominated the local city council with only one opposition candidate, Wilson “Jun” Gamboa Jr making it to the 12-member body.
The GP candidates who routed their rivals were lawyer Renecito Novero (131,672 votes), former village council member and pastor Simplicia Distrito, (123,194), Carlos Jose Lopez (119,883), Al Victor Espino (116,412), Archie Baribar (114,567), Israel Salanga (114,300), Dindo Ramos (108,218), Bartolome Orola Sr. (106,353), Ana Marie Palermo (105,683), Elmer Sy (100,867), and Gamboa Jr. (87,301).
That year Novero, Ramos, Orola, Palermo, Sy and Gamboa were all reelectionists while Lopez, Espino and Baribar were comebacking council members, State news agency PNA reported.
Distrito, mother of then former councilor Caesar and Salanga, a youth leader who had lost in his previous bids, were both elected for the first time that year.
This year, Team Asenso dominated the council with seven of its allies winning seven of the 12 seats.
Jude Thaddeus Sayson, a comebacking official who ran and lost in 2016 under the Asenso para sa Buas-damlag sang Bacolodnon-Magbinuligay Kita sa Kauswagan (ABB-MKK) of Leonardia’s former archrival, Monico Puentevella, topped the field of 38 candidates.
He got what could be the highest number of votes for a councilor at 134,635 folowed by GP’s Israel Salanga (123,237), Cindy Rojas (122,629), Em Ang (116,953), followed by Asenso’s Al Espino (115,197), Vladi Gonzalez (113,145),
GP’s Renecito (113,046), followed by five other Asenso candidates: Jason Villarosa (111,207), Kalaw Puentevella (108,950), Simple Distrito (107,030), Celia Flor (103,768), and Pao Sy (98,978).
Sayson is a comebacking former vice mayor like Ang who is a former longtime councilor but ran the local Emergency Operations Center as executive director.
Salanga, Distrito, and Rojas are all re-electionists while Gonzalez had previously ran but lost for various positions.
Novero won a fresh mandate for a third three-year term while Villarosa is a newly-elected city dad.
Puentevella, son of Monico, is also a comebacking official while Sy ran as an incumbent who replaced her father, Elmer, who died in office.