“We have to (stop acting), because if I win as mayor, it is a full-time job,” Gomez told Rappler in a mix of Filipino and English. (READ: Why Richard Gomez is running for mayor of Ormoc)
“This will be the priority. And I’ve spoken to ABS-CBN about it. I have contracts remaining there, and, sabi ko, next time na lang yon,” says Gomez.
“You will have to give priority to, number one, your family. That is always a priority. Then second comes work. But in this case, it’s election now, so, it’s family, then elections. If we win, then work will be that one. So we’ll have to do a lot of work here now.”
Gomez is running against incumbent city mayor Edward “Ondo” Codilla. This will be their second face-off, after he ran for mayor but lost in 2013.
Battle of the couples
While Gomez and Ondo are slugging it out in Ormoc City, their wives Lucy Torres-Gomez and Violy Codilla are battling for the congressional seat of Leyte’s Fourth District. Ms Gomez is the incumbent representative.
In 2013, Ms Gomez fought and won the same position against Ormoc City mayor Eric Codilla.
Ms Gomez entered politics in 2010, when she substituted for her husband, who failed to comply with the minimum residency requirement.
She looks forward to working with her husband, because she said the current city administration has been “hostile” to her.
“Let’s not vote, just because they are popular,” is a message of one of Codilla’s jingles in Bisaya.
People in Ormoc have expressed their reservations about the prospect of Mr Gomez being an absentee mayor. The politically entrenched Codillas have made it a point to use the Gomezes’ celebrity status as campaign ammunition.
The actor hopes to reassure voters of his presence in the city despite his acting career.
His wife looks at it differently: “Maybe it’s an advantage that people already know us. I don’t rest on that. That’s not the core of our campaign and why we’re running.”
“I don’t wanna be known as the pretty congresswoman. That’s why it’s very important for me that people are able to measure me by my performance. I don’t wanna cruise through an entire term and not have anything to show for it.”
Since 2010, she tried to balance her work as Leyte congresswoman, gradually giving up her acting and modeling engagements in Manila.
She recalls begging off from a contract renewal with TV5 a day before Yolanda hit Eastern Visayas in 2013.
“I just didn’t want to anymore. I remember messaging my handler from across the table in the room and I said, whatever they offer, just don’t accept it,” she told Rappler.
“I don’t know if it was a premonition. Maybe it was providential because Yolanda happened the day after. And I was so busy with the rebuilding efforts. I would never have any time anyway to squeeze in a showbiz commitment, I mean, a regular show.”
But there’s something else Lucy has in mind:
“If there’s a project I want to do, I really wanna get pregnant. I think I’m gonna concentrate on that.” – Rappler.com
Jed Cortes is a Rappler Mover.