FIRING LINE: Pandemic victories

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

The local elections in the National Capital Region (NCR) have seen the decisive reelection of eight mayors, including Mayor Joy Belmonte in Quezon City, here where I live.

Like Mayor Joy, the great majority of their constituents reelected Mayors Vico Sotto of Pasig (70 percent), Abby Binay of Makati (97 percent), Marcy Teodoro of Marikina (62 percent), Emi Calixto-Rubiano of Pasay (95 percent), Ike Ponce of Pateros (86 percent), Francis Zamora of San Juan (87 percent), and Imelda Aguilar of Las Piñas (93 percent).

Meanwhile, eight other cities in Metro Manila may be ushering in new mayors on June 30, but all remain political victories for the incumbents. These new or returning mayors are family members or political allies who merely switch places with the incumbent.

The victory of Mayor-elect Honey Lacuna of Manila, for instance, is still a continuation of the Asenso Manilenyo brand of leadership that is the signature of Yorme Isko Moreno’s administration. But take nothing away from the capital city’s first female chief executive. For Manilenos, who believe Isko is the best mayor they’ve had in their lifetime, Honey is absolutely of the same mold as a leader.

I believe the secret to these victories was the ability of these local government administrations to rise to the challenge of the pandemic. Dangerous and desperate times marked the last two years, and for the first time for many of us, we had to rely on the local government for food on our table.

Unique to this narrative, though, is the case of Malabon City, whose electorate chose to abandon the Oretas for the opposition. May your choice of Mayor-elect Jeanne Sandoval be a win for a better tomorrow as it is a victory for the spirit of democracy.

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My youngest daughter is weeping – literally. May 9 was her first election experience. She is shedding tears over a Marcos win. I took the role of comforting her and helping her make sense of it all.

I bet many of the youth share the same sentiment. That’s all I have to say about that.

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Meanwhile, the people of Camarines Norte have voted on giving reelectionist-Rep. Marisol Panotes a fresh term in Congress even if she left this world 10 days before the May 9 polls.

Her 18,138 votes (unofficial tally) carried her to an insurmountable 10,000+ lead over her closest rival. The numbers prove just how beloved my Tita Toots will always be to her province mates.

Now, congratulations are in order to my cousin, Tita Toots’ daughter, Rosemarie, in whom I have all confidence that – since she has inherited this landslide victory that now carries her to the Batasan – she would continue the great legacy both her late father (Uncle Elmer) and late mother had carved out as servant-legislators.

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