Former matinee idol and actor Richard Gomez with his wife Leyte 4th district Congressman Lucy Torres Gomez (Photo from the Philippine Star)

Contending for mayor in Ormoc: Will Richard Gomez win this time?

Ormoc City News – Actor Richard Gomez is at it again, running for mayor of Ormoc city where he was defeated by a slim margin in the 2013 elections.

Gomez whose wife Lucy Torres is Leyte’s congressional representative for its 4th Legislative District will face the same candidate that defeated him last, now incumbent mayor Edward Codilla.

Mayor Codilla is seeking another term and is reportedly not concerned about the comeback of his former political opponent.

Ormoc City Hall, Ormoc News
The imposing Ormoc City Hall is currently lorded over by the Codilla political machinery.

The Ormoc elections is expected to become more challenging even for the well-appreciated Rep. Torres whose achievements as congressman including her handling of Typhoon Yolanda recovery efforts will be measured by how 4th district voters will behave with the entry of national construction firm Yakal executive Violeta Codilla.

Businesswoman ‘Violy’ Codilla has filed her candidacy for congressman against Gomez. She is the wife of Ormoc mayor Edward Codilla.

Visayan Business Post interviewed some local residents in Ormoc to get an initial view of what is perceived to be an exciting 2016 bout between the Codilla and Gomez political machineries.

Manong Johnny, a resident of Barangay Macaboc and an active member of the Ormoc City Tricycle Operators and Driver’s Association believe that Ormoc city is ready for what he says is ‘much needed change in Ormoc’.

‘After so many years under Codilla dynasty’s rule, many of Codilla’s people have grown corrupt and abusive’, he said adding that ‘Richard Gomez might actually be able to help in this if the actor is elected.’

Ormoc 'red' tricycles, Ormoc News
Ormoc ‘red’ tricycle operators and drivers share the same complaints with their ‘blue’ counterparts as to the alleged debilitating regulatory fees city hall imposes on their meager income.

‘This mayor have not been very active, visible only during election time he was nowhere to be found during the Yolanda typhoon’, Joebert of Barangay San Antonio told the Visayan Business Post news team.

‘It was congressman Lucy Torres who helped many people recover from Yolanda by giving out motorized fiberglass boats that continues to give livelihood to many victims of the typhoon until today’, he added.

‘Things were different during Ormoc Mayor Dodong Codilla’s time, he was a good public servant who understood the needs of the people’, Junjun, another driver and a resident of Barangay Ipil said.

He added that it has become more difficult for drivers like him to earn these days with the local government exacting so many ‘regulatory fees’ even on so many poor tricycle drivers like him.

‘Maski high school mahirap na magpaaral ngayon sa liit ng kinikita naming sa pasada tapos marami pang babayaran sa City Hall’, he lamented.

Ormoc Fruit Vendor, Ormoc News
Crisanta Judan says she will not automatically vote for actor Richard Gomez even if she is happy about congressman Lucy Torres Gomez’ performance in office.

Fruit vendor Crisanta Judan, 67 believe that people should elect a mayor who knows how to take care of the people.

‘Umalis ako 15 years ago para magtrabaho abroad. Pagbalik ko parang walang gaanong pinagbago ang syudad’, she said.

Judan said she has been selling fruits for two years now and have noticed the economic decline of the city. ‘Wala na halos pera ang mga tao sa ngayon kaya kulang kami ng benta, minsan lugi pa. Walang mga trabaho ang karamihan’, she told VBP.

Crisanta said she has heard many good things about Congressman Lucy Torres as a good public servant. She however stressed that ‘it doesn’t mean I will vote for her husband, Richard, too. Depende pa, we will look at their programs first before me and my family decides whom to vote for in 2016’.

The official campaign period for the synchronized local and national elections will still start in 2016.

A lot about the people’s perceptions on the personalities who filed for their candidacies are expected to change with various political interests competing to position themselves in the minds of the voting populace.