The eyes of not only the residents of Quezon City but the rest of the metropolis are now glued on the political developments in the City as the mayoralty election has started to heat up with a good five months going to the scheduled May 9, 2022 synchronized national and local elections.
With AnaKalusugan Party-List Representative and former Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Mike Defensor mounting a serious challenge to unseat the incumbent Mayor Maria Josefina Tanya ‘Joy’ Belmonte Alimurung, political experts believe that the 30-year reign of the Belmontes in the city of almost three million residents is coming to a monumental collapse.
Defensor figured prominently in the latest non-commissioned Pulso ng Pilipino survey conducted by The Issues and Advocacy Center (The Center) from Dec. 13-19 covering the 16 cities and one municipality of the National Capital Region as he posted a high 51% to end the year 2021 on a high note as he steps into the New Year brimming with hope and confidence armed with a 19% margin over Mayor Joy Belmonte who was the choice of 32% of those who were asked whom they will vote for if the elections were held on the dates the survey was conducted. Some seven per cent went to the other mayoralty candidates while five per cent are undecided.
Ed M. Malay, director of The Center, explained that the survey ratings are no different from the actual elections because both are influenced by a common factor – the media and the environment. This is the reason why Belmonte isn’t doing very well in the surveys because of the negative media reportage of the miscues that she has committed as the Local Chief Executive of the city particularly in the way the road caravan of presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos and his running mate Inday Sara Duterte was handled by the city authorities.
The organizers of the caravan have requested that they be allowed the use of the Liwasang Aurora Stage inside the Quezon Memorial Circle but this request was thumbed down by the QC government prompting the organizers to hold the caravan on the streets of QC. And the supporters of both Marcos and Duterte turned out in large numbers which clogged the major thoroughfares in the city creating a traffic Armageddon.
By the time the QC government realized their error in judgment it was too late. Administrative miscues such as this and the city’s earlier decision to build crematoriums instead of quarantine facilities, alleged overpricing in the purchase of face shields ayuda packs heavily affected the public’s perception index of their incumbent mayor.
To recoup what it may have lost in terms of public opinion as a result of the glaring mismanagement of the traffic arrangements for the Unity Team Caravan and such other bloopers related to the city government’s handling of the pandemic, some enterprising supporters of the Mayor tried to negate the negative impact of the traffic Armageddon that the public blamed on the Belmonte Administration by making it appear that the Mayor is in an alliance with the BBM-Sara Unity Team. This, however, did not sit well with the Quezon City residents who said the time has finally come to put an an end to the 30-year reign of the Belmontes who turned the city into a family fiefdom.
In the 2019 elections Mayor Belmonte cornered about 54% of the 907,912 registered voters who voted out of the city’s 1.33 million voters to win over the term ended representative of the city’s first district Congressman Bingbong Crisologo who was the choice of 42.19% of those who actually voted. But while Crisologo was the people’s choice his campaign was hampered by lack of funds especially during the end-game phase of the campaign.
Malay noted that the odds in this year’s mayoral elections in Quezon City seem to favor Defensor as he is running in tandem with one of the city’s accomplished political leaders – Winnie Castelo who currently leads incumbent Vice Mayor Gian Sotto by a whopping 27% margin. In the same pre-poll survey of Pulso ng Pilipino, Castelo was favored by 49% of those polled as against the 22% of Sotto.
Five of the big guns running for the city’s six congressional districts are allied with Defensor with only incumbent Rep. Bong Suntay of the city’s fourth district who is seeking a second term under the ticket of Belmonte and Sotto. But Suntay is facing a stiff competition from Councilor Marvin Rillo who boasts of a very strong support from the masses on the ground.
Elsewhere in the metropolis, at least six incumbent Mayors are assured of getting reelected while 11 Mayoral posts will have new occupants on June 30, 2022. The Center said that those who are assured of getting reelected are Mayors Imelda ‘Mel’ AGUILAR of Las Pinas City, Mar-Len Abigail ‘Abby’ BINAY-CAMPOS of Makati, Pasay City’s Imelda ‘Emi’ CALIXTO RUBIANO, Victor Maria Regis ‘Vico’ Nubla SOTTO of Pasig City, Miguel ‘Ike’ PONCE III of Pateros and. Francisco Javier ‘Francis’ ZAMORA of San Juan City.