Philippine elections usher in fresh faces, new era of politics

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(From left to right: San Juan Mayor-elect Francis Zamora; Manila Mayor-elect Isko Moreno; and Pasig Mayor-elect Vico Sotto)
(From left to right: San Juan Mayor-elect Francis Zamora; Manila Mayor-elect Isko Moreno; and Pasig Mayor-elect Vico Sotto)

MANILA — As the mid-term elections nears its conclusion, results show that voters chose to try a new brand of leadership, not only in national posts but also in local governments as well.

Aside from the various issues that cropped up as the votes were counted, a more shocking moment also unfolded — the people have elected young, passionate, and idealistic leaders.

With these attributes combined with a fresh face and promise of change, these new local chief executives brought down incumbents with big names who ruled for generations.

Vico Sotto (Pasig City)

While he was born to TV host-comedian Vic Sotto and actress Coney Reyes, Vico seemed to have a different path to take on and is more than just an eye candy.

His mayoralty bid seemed to be like bumping into a thick wall as he faced incumbent Robert Eusebio, whose family ruled the city for 27 years.

The 29-year Pasig mayor-elect is a Political Science graduate from Ateneo de Manila University. He was recognized best-performing councilor in 2016.

The young politician banked on healthcare for Pasig residents, especially those from the eastern part of the city which he describes as the people who were left behind; localized freedom of information, and anti-corruption. He also mentioned although the city cradles PHP10.7-billion budget, one of the country’s biggest, residents do not get to benefit.

In 1992, Vicente “Enteng” Eusebio — the family’s patriarch — was elected as the city’s mayor. When his nine-year term ended in 2001, he was succeeded by his wife, Soledad Cruz-Eusebio. Vicente again ran in 2004 while Robert ran in 2007 and served as mayor until 2013. He ran again in 2016, replacing his wife Maribel, who served as mayor from 2013 to 2016.

Isko Moreno (Manila)

Manila mayor-elect Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, a former scavenger, vowed to restore the Philippine capital city to its old glory, describing it as “deteriorating” now because of dirty surroundings.

The former actor-turned-politician eyes to create physical development by building more green projects and more breathing spaces in the city.

Moreno, who also served as Manila councilor and vice mayor, also wanted the proposed social amelioration or poverty alleviation program and the 10-year infrastructure program to be felt by Manileño’s in the next 12 months.

The 44-year-old actor-turned-politician won against former president and reelectionist Joseph Estrada.

Prior to his candidacy for Manila mayor, Moreno also served as Undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Francis Zamora (San Juan)

After being a groomsman for a long time, this year’s election finally saw 41-year-old Francis Zamora become the groom.

Zamora, a former basketball player and businessman, defeated Janella Estrada, daughter of senatorial bet Jinggoy Estrada, in the mayoralty race.

After serving as vice mayor from 2010 to 2016, Zamora tried his luck for the city’s top post but lost to Guia Gomez, mother of senatorial bet JV Ejercito.

The victory of the long-time vice mayor put an end to the five-decade control of the Ejercito-Estrada clan in the City of San Juan.

The new mayor benchmarked his campaign on the promise of a new San Juan, offering its residents free WiFi in all public areas, high-rise in-city housing, and affordable healthcare.

He also spoke of transforming San Juan into a smart city that would compete once more with wealthy neighbors Makati, Taguig, and Quezon City.

Francis is the son of Lone District of San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora.

Estrada, meanwhile, anchored her campaign on the legacy of her family, which could be traced as far back as when her grandfather Joseph first won as mayor in 1969.

The former president was succeeded by Jinggoy, her uncle JV, and Gomez. — (By Christine Cudis/PNA)

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