Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista has given up seeking an elective position in the 2019 midterm polls in favor of spending time with his three children, a key aide said.
Ares Gutierrez, Public Affairs and Information Services Office chief, said that hours before the last day of filing on Wednesday, Bautista told him he would no longer file his certificate of candidacy.
Members of the media had waited for the mayor to arrive at the Commission on Elections office on North Avenue, believing he would run for vice mayor or congressman.
At around 6:15 pm, or over an hour past the deadline of filing CoCs, Gutierrez confirmed that Bautista was no longer interested in running.
He said the mayor, in the past few months, was “consistent” in telling him and his closest friends that he has not given much time to his children because of his political career.
“[The mayor] was telling me he has not seen his children grow,” Gutierrez said.
Bautista, who is on his third and last term as mayor, was being touted to run for Congress against District 3 Councilor Allan Benedict Reyes, an independent candidate.
He earlier told the Manila Standard that he was toying with the idea of sliding down to vice mayor or seeking a seat in the House of Representatives, as the law limits elective officials to three successive terms only.
City Secretary to the Mayor Tadeo Palma and Bautista’s personal secretary Sahlee Francisco told the Manila Standard they had no direct knowledge if Bautista would file and what time he would submit his CoC.
“I have reminded the mayor that today [Wednesday] is the last day for filing. All he said to me was, ‘yes, I know,’” Gutierrez told the Standard at the launch of the Smart Sustainable City Summit at Vertis North.
Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, who is seeking to replace Bautista as mayor, pushed for illegal drug testing for athletes competing in sports events hosted in Quezon City.
To align with the nationwide campaign to discourage athletes from using illegal drugs, the 37-member Quezon City council, which Belmonte presides over, has passed an ordinance proposing mandatory drug test for athletes competing in sports bouts.
Dubbed “Drug Resistant Sports Person,” the council’s proposal requires athletes, coaching staff and referees participating in professional and commercial leagues and tournaments in the city to take a mandatory drug test one week before the scheduled game or series of games.
“Quezon City is a hotbed for sports competitions, and this proposal is one of the ways through which we can help make sure our athletes are not using illegal drugs,” she said.
The Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Basketball Association, and other national sports entities have already committed to rally against the use of performance-enhancing drugs among athletes, she said.
This commitment followed an incident where PBA Rookie of the Year Kiefer Ravena had failed a doping test conducted by the International Basketball Association earlier this year.
“With that in mind, we know it’s important for the local government to align with our national sports associations in the campaign against doping,” Belmonte said.