Back in October, the Urban Roamer highlighted some local races in Metro Manila for the 2019 elections which were seen as the most interesting to watch out for. Now after the elections held last May 13 and the results that swiftly came afterwards, it is but proper to look at those races and see how they turned out. And I have to say, the results of Election 2019 have been very, very interesting.
Erap Estrada falls in Manila
For a while, it seemed that it would be a heated 3-way race between the incumbent Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada, former Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, and former mayor Alfredo Lim. But as the campaign period drew, it became apparent that it was going to be Erap vs. Isko fight. In a way that battle was a surrogate battle drawn on different lines: incumbent vs. challenger, old-timer vs. new blood, the transferee from San Juan (though born in Manila) vs. the “Batang Maynila”.
Eventually, it was Isko Moreno who emerged triumphant, handily beating Estrada by almost 150,000 votes. To top it off, Moreno’s running mate Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna won over Estrada’s running mate, former Rep. Amado Bagatsing, plus a sizeable majority in the city council.
Apparently, the years of decay and neglect under Estrada, and even under his predecessor Lim, have forced Manileños to go with the new blood, who promised change for Manila. Of course, it remains to be seen whether he would be able to fulfill his promises to the city. But for now, the promise of a new person at the helm of Manila gives many people a sense of hope.
P.S. Estrada’s daughter Jerika Ejercito-Estrada also ran as councilor representing Manila’s 4th District/Sampaloc. Unfortunately, she lost badly in the race as well. Which brings us to…
House Estrada falls in San Juan
Looking back, it was remiss for this Urban Roamer to miss out the local race in San Juan, which saw Janella Ejercito-Estrada, incumbent vice mayor, granddaughter of former Pres. and incumbent Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and daughter of former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada of the city’s ruling Ejercito-Estrada clan duke it out against Francis Zamora, former vice mayor and councilor and son of incumbent Rep. Ronaldo Zamora.
On paper, Janella had the upper hand. Her lineage, incumbency in position, not to mention the incumbent mayor is Joseph Estrada’s mistress Guia Gomez, who is Ejercito-Estrada’s…somewhat grandmother? I don’t know. But apparently, the people of San Juan have grown tired of the clan that has dominated San Juan for 40 years now. Thus, Janella lost to her challenger, Francis Zamora, a former congressman and son of incumbent Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, by a 10,000+ vote margin. Zamora’s team also managed to sweep the Estrada-led group, with his dad beating the Estrada’s bet, actor Edu Manzano, and most of the seats in the city council won by the group as well.
Interestingly, the Zamoras used to be allies of the Estradas in San Juan, until their relationship fell apart shortly before the 2016 elections, which saw Francis Zamora face off against Guia Gomez for San Juan mayor but failed to unseat her. Fast forward to today, the Zamoras finally beat the Estradas in their own turf as the Estradas themselves face an uncertain future. With the loss of Jinggoy and JV possibly losing too in the Senate, it will be interesting to see how the Estrada clan will get back on its feet after those stinging defeats in the national and local scenes in San Juan and Manila.
Abby Binay wins…at a great cost
There was skepticism among some people that the fight between incumbent Mayor Abby Binay and her brother and former Mayor Junjun Binay for Makati’s mayoralty race was all a show. After all, a Binay’s gonna win in Makati anyway. But then, the incident at a forum inside the San Ildefonso Church happened. And there was no denying that the incident changed everything, so to speak.
When I say “changed everything”, it does not refer to either Abby or Junjun. Objectively speaking, both looked bad coming out of the incident, though Abby at the very least managed to win another term as Makati mayor. (which means she can continue to pursue her “Makati subway” project) The greater casualties in the fight were the other members of the Binay family who are vying for posts this election. Elder sister Nancy is now finding herself dead last in the “Magic 12” in the Senate slate despite early surveys placing her on a higher position. Worse was the fate of their father, former Vice President Jejomar Binay who actually lost in the race for the congressional seat in Makati’s 1st District against Romulo “Kid” Peña, the one time interim mayor who served after Junjun Binay’s dismissal from office in 2015 and was eventually beaten by Abby Binay when sought for the seat in his own right in 2016.
Unlike the Estradas, the Binays are still standing tall, especially in Makati. But it is clear right now that their brand has suffered tremendously. That being said, an Abby-Junjun reconciliation of sorts might be in the offing as a way to at least prevent further erosion of the Binay name. Or maybe none at all and they might go on their own paths just like what JV Ejercito and Jinggoy Estrada did.
The chaos of the Quezon City race
As in the case of Manila, what was initially perceived as 3-way race for mayor of Quezon City between incumbent Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, incumbent Rep. Bingbong Crisologo, and former Rep. Chuck Mathay eventually became a heated one-on-one battle between Belmonte and Crisologo. And as election day drew closer, the race became more heated and ugly.
The race sank to its lows during the last day of campaigning as accusations of vote buying were raised by the Belmonte and Crisologo camps against each other. Belmonte, on one hand, was accused of vote buying when it was alleged that one of her invited guests, television host Willie Revillame supposedly handed out money to some of the attendees. Then there was the arrest of Crisologo for “obstruction of justice” during a supposed police activity in response to vote-buying practices being engaged in an area where Crisologo happens to be at.
Crisologo was eventually released, but there was little doubt that the incident swayed voters on election day. Thus, Joy Belmonte emerged victorious as Quezon City’s mayor-elect, with the rest of her slate gaining a majority across the 6 districts. While Bingbong’s son and daughter in law managed to win as congressman and councilor, respectively.
Vico is victorious as the Eusebios are toppled down
Finally, we head over to Pasig where we witnessed most interesting of the local races not only in Metro Manila, but in the country in this recent election. Some have called it a fairy tale of sorts that became a reality, an inspiring story of how one upstart managed to topple down one of the most formidable political forces in the metropolis.
I’m of course talking about Vico Sotto, an incumbent councilor and son of notable actors Vic Sotto and Coney Reyes, who defeated incumbent Mayor Robert Eusebio, whose family ruled over Pasig since 1992. It was a hard-fought battle, one which involved alleged harassment directed against Vico and partymate Roman Romulo, who was running as congressman of the city against Robert’s brother Ricky.
Of course, Vico’s showbiz and political pedigree played a part in the campaign. But it was his brand of new politics and grassroots campaigning which helped boost his chances, not to mention a lingering sense of longingness among the people of Pasig who are seeking change for the city., Then there are the endorsements from the Iglesia ni Cristo and from Pres. Rodrigo Duterte which capped things off with regards to his chances.
Eventually, Sotto and Romulo managed to trounce the Eusebio brothers with wide margin wins, which the Eusebio camp tried to hold off in vain. But as they say, things are just getting started for Vico Sotto in his new role as mayor. I can only hope that he would at least strive to live up to the expectations of the people.
Again, congratulations to all who won in this Election 2019 and may you be the exemplary public servants this country needs.