With the elections less than a month away, the campaigning becomes more frenzied, as candidates try to win as many brownie points from the voting populace to improve their standing. In the national elections, it appears that the triumvirate power of UNA's Binay, Estrada and Ponce Enrile, is only really strong enough to pull in their children to the Senate; the current popularity of the President seems to be an effective foil.
In the local elections, I'm more interested in
the races in Quezon City, since I am a long-time resident. There will be
no fight for the leaders of the city, as no credible opponent was
foolhardy enough to challenge the partnership of Mayor Herbert Bautista
and Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte, and with good reason. The pair seems to
have made the most of their three years in office, and have proven to be
effective leaders; thus, it would be a waste of time and money for a
candidate to challenge them at this point.
congressional races provide slightly more interest, as the once-large
second district has been carved up into more manageable districts;
instead of four, QC will now have six districts. The realignment of
forces will be interesting to watch this May.
six, the new fifth district, which covers Novaliches and parts of
Fairview, will be the most interesting to watch, since it will be a
three-way battle between two former representatives and an
actor-turned-councilor. Former representatives Dante Liban (now with
UNA) and Annie Susano (KKK) will face off against 2nd district councilor
Alfred Vargas (LP). It's likely that Vargas will have the inside track,
as Liban looks to be a spent political force, and Susano has always
struck me as a bit whacked, although she will have the financial
resources to put up a fight. It may go down the wire between Vargas and
The new second district, which remains the largest
populated district despite being made up of only five barangays, will
be another battlefield to watch, as the incumbent, Rep. Winston Castelo
(LP), will face former 2nd district representative, Ismael "Chuck"
Mathay III (Ind.), whose main source of recognition appears to be the
father of actress Ara Mina. Mathay was ineffective when he was
representative, so Castelo will probably have no problem winning the
The third district will also
provide an entertaining battle, as former representative Mat Defensor
(UNA) will face incumbent Jorge Banal (LP). Defensor's family has close
ties with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as children Mike and
Maita were also 3rd district representatives; Mike Defensor was even
part of Arroyo's Cabinet. It appears he has decided to flit over to
Binay's UNA, which makes me wonder what reason UNA will give for
including another former Arroyo ally in its fold. I'm not too familiar
with Banal, except for the fact that he used to be a councilor, that he
is presenting himself as a strong reading advocate, and he was involved
in producing evidence against impeached Supreme Court Chief Justice
The first district is basically a
battle of dynasties, as the Rita Crisologo (UNA), the wife of outgoing
representative Bingbong Crisologo, will be running against former
representative and current councilor Francisco Calalay, Jr (LP).
Calalay, however, will have to answer charges of having 'ghost' employees as a councilor,
for which he was ordered suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman.
While he and fellow councilor Roderick Paulate have managed to secure a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the suspension, the issue will likely haunt the congressional candidate (pun intended).
fourth district looks to be a cakewalk for incumbent House Speaker
Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte, Jr. (LP), who will face token opposition
from a Hans Palacios (PMP), whose name doesn't seem to produce any
useful material on Google. Belmonte, at this point, is just too powerful in his bailiwick.
new sixth district has only one contender, Christopher "Kit" Belmonte, a
nephew of current House Speaker and QC 4th district representative
Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte, Jr. Belmonte came in second in the 2nd
district election in 2010, so only a disqualification will stop him from
becoming a congressman. I'm currently voting in the sixth district, so
it makes my vote simpler, although I'll need to do a bit of research
before I cast my vote for Belmonte.
All in all, the
Quezon City electoral races will be a mix of old battles and new, with
the creation of the two new districts. Admittedly, it will mean that the
bureaucracy will grow larger with the addition of 2 more congressmen
and 12 councilors, but the former second district is just too large to
manage. Hopefully, the division will mean better services rendered to
each district, but that will also depend on who will be elected. If it's
just more of the same trapo, no real change can occur.