MANILA, Philippines – Celebrity couple Richard Gomez and Lucy Torres-Gomez have both won seats in Leyte in the 2016 elections. The former was proclaimed in the early morning of Tuesday, May 10, as Mayor of Ormoc City, while the latter has just received a fresh mandate to represent the 4th District of Leyte in the House of Representatives.
Representative Torres-Gomez's constituency includes Ormoc City, as well as the municipalities of lbuera, Isabel, Kananga, Matag-ob, Merida, and Palompon.
Torres-Gomez, the incumbent representative and a member of the Liberal Party (LP), took 60.8% (60,141) of the votes against her opponent from the Aksyon Demokratiko party, Violeta Codilla (39.2%, 38,788).
In 2013, she won against the incumbent Ormoc City Mayor, Eric Codilla.
Torres-Gomez first entered politics in 2010 to substitute for her husband in the same position; however, he failed to comply with the minimum residency requirement.
Prior to the 2013 midterm elections, her election to the post was also invalidated by the Supreme Court. The high court voted that her substitution was invalid.
Making the next 3 years count
Speaking to Rappler at Gomez's proclamation, Representative Torres-Gomez said, "I always had a feeling, this particular elections that we would make it but the journey was tedious and the process was long but I’m very happy. I’m happy that the people have spoken, and now the real work begins."
She said that she will continue some of the programs that they started in her last term, as well as initiate new ones.
In the 16th Congress, she was Assistant Majority Leader and Vice Chairperson of the Committee on Public Order and Safety. Among the achievements she lists on her website, she passed a law which established a state university in the municipality of Palompon. During her term, her congressional district was awarded as the Best Performing one in the Eastern Visayas Region (VIII).
"I'm excited to finally be able to work with the [Local Government Unit] of Ormoc. Because for the longest time, we weren’t really seeing eye to eye, so now I’m very hopeful that we can effect change quickly. I'm just excited for the days to come," she said.
She also said, "I foresee a very dynamic tourism program and sports program for the city of Ormoc."
Her brother, Matthew Torres, was also proclaimed as the Board Member in her congressional district in Leyte.
Lucy Gomez's bro Matt Torres proclaimed winner as 4th Dist. Board Member of Leyte. @rapplerdotcom @MovePH #PHVote pic.twitter.com/kdRA0DdmFw — Derek Alviola (@derekalviola) May 11, 2016
When asked about how things will be different in her new term, she told Rappler at her own proclamation: "The Ormoc LGU will no longer be hostile, and we can really concentrate on getting things done swiftly on the ground."
In a previous interview, she said that she had looked forward to working with her husband, as the previous Codilla administration had been "hostile" to her.
Torres-Gomez took a leave from showbiz shortly after the catastrophic super typhoon Yolanda, which claimed thousands of lives in the region. She called it a "game-changer."
"The way the local leaders were able to respond or not respond to it played a very big role in the results of their respective elections," she said.
She emphasized how there is a need for her to continue what she started in her previous term, and spoke of instituting livelihood projects down the pipeline.
"You know how it is when they say that 3 years is really short. It's really short, so as we start another term, you just fortify what you've already started, you continue it," she said.
"You continue also to pursue new projects because our aim talaga (really) is to make those 3 years really siksik. (make those 3 years count)." – with reports from Jed Cortes, Derek Aviola, Shahoney Jane Zamora, and Moesha Castillo/Rappler.com