Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez filed his certificate of candidacy on Wednesday, October 6, seeking to swap posts with his wife, Leyte 4th District Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez, in the May 2022 elections. Torres-Gomez, who accompanied Gomez, plans to file her own certificate of candidacy for the mayoralty on Friday, October 8.
Relatives, supporters, and members of their camp, the Ormoc Development Team (ODT), accompanied the celebrity couple to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Leyte Provincial Office in Tacloban City.
In an interview with Rappler, Gomez asked his constituents to continue their support for his slate so that they could continue the progress and development that they had started, adding, “It is very important to have continuity in our plans and programs in Ormoc and the 4th District of Leyte.”
“It is very important that our government officials are not linked to drugs and corruption and it is also important to see the good track record of our leaders and candidates,” he added.
Gomez also filed his certificate of nomination and acceptance (CONA) under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
If elected, Gomez said he will partner with mayors in the district to continue legislative programs on local concerns, national government agency funding, and infrastructure programs.
Gomez also revealed to Rappler his main priorities in Congress once elected:
- Strengthen the libel law or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. He aims “to hold online platforms accountable over trolls or fictitious users on their platforms.”
- Strengthen the Anti-Fake News Bill. “(This legislation will have) clear parameters to avoid ‘sensationalized news or over-publicized political propaganda.”
- Introduce a bill on the Ormoc-Leyte railway system.
- A legislation supporting health programs in battling COVID-19.
- Active participation in the budget preparation and legislation. “The budget legislation is one of the biggest laws congress (needs) to pass every year,” Gomez said.
The city mayor will face Former Commission on Elections commissioner Gregorio “Goyo” Larrazabal, who already filed his candidacy for Leyte 4th District representative.
Meanwhile, Torres-Gomez will be running against former Ormoc City mayor Edward “Ondo” Codilla, who has announced his bid for the city’s mayoral race.
The couple and their political allies achieved their goal to dominate the Leyte 4th District after their bets were victorious in the 2019 midterm polls, effectively ending the decades-long rule of the Codilla family.
The congresswoman, who has served three terms in Congress since 2010, passed up on offers from the PDP-Laban wing of Alfonso Cusi and the Partido Reporma chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson.
Over the past 11 years, the couple’s political careers faced a series of challenges through disqualification cases.
Torres-Gomez was first elected representative as a substitute for her husband, who was disqualified by Comelec for lack of residency in Ormoc City.
The Supreme Court stripped her of the post in March 2013, saying she “did not validly substitute” for her actor-husband. In May of the same year, however, Torres-Gomez won her congressional seat. Her husband handily won the Ormoc mayoralty race.
Torres-Gomez started political careers as members of the Liberal Party. But she and her husband joined the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in June 2016 shortly after President Rodrigo Duterte won the elections. Mayor Gomez was listed in the 2016 polls as a Nationalist People’s Coalition (NP) candidate.
According to the House of Representative website, Torres-Gomez is chairperson of the Committee on Disaster Resilience. She is vice chair of three other committees, on the Creative Industry and Performing Arts, Tourism, and Women and Gender Equality. – Rappler.com