ORMOC CITY – With Ormoc Mayor Richard Gomez firmly in front of the race for the congressional seat of the 4th district of Leyte, rival and former election commissioner Gregorio “Goyo” Larrazabal and his supporters have grown more desperate in a last-ditch attempt to grab elusive votes, the former’s camp said Tuesday.
In a statement, Gomez’s camp said Larrazabal has been “trailing dismally” in different independent surveys since February, as proven by various rallies of Larrazabal’s slate in vote-rich Ormoc that showed more empty seats than warm bodies.
Larrazabal also does not have a candidate for mayor in Merida town to support his bid, while Gomez enjoys the support of most local executives in Leyte’s 4th district, the latter’s camp noted.
Gomez hopes to succeed his wife, Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, in Congress, while she is running to take the former actor’s mayoral seat in Ormoc City Hall.
Various surveys in previous months showed that Gomez enjoys the trust of almost 80% of Leytenos in the 4th district, while Larrazabal is preferred by less than 20 percent.
In February, Gomez was preferred by 74.8% voters, which grew to 79.5% by April, among 5,000 voters surveyed with a margin of error of plus-minus 3%.
Larrazabal, on the other hand, posted a 15.9% rating in February, which only improved a little by April at 17.1%.
While Gomez is allied with the incumbent mayors in the district, Larrazabal has aligned himself with the once-powerful Codillas and their opposition slate, whom the Gomez couple and their allies had routed overwhelmingly in the past two local elections.
In 2019, the district delivered 177,938 votes to Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, the mayor’s wife, to just 50,969 to her opponent, Eufrocino “Winnie” Codilla Jr.
In Ormoc, Richard Gomez and his slate made a complete sweep with 77,573 votes over his opponent Eric Codilla’s 29,785.
Meanwhile, Larrazabal, a third-generation member of the landed clan that originally came from the Basque region of Spain, has pressed his kin, their families and workers to vote for the lawyer and former poll commissioner, Gomez’s camp claimed.
The Larrazabals were also spreading a narrative that Gomez and his Ormoc Development Team (ODT) were not “true Ormocanons,” the latter’s camp added.
With peace and order at the core of his platform, Gomez in 2016 was able to flip Ormoc City — once known as the drug capital of Eastern Visayas — into the safest city in the country in 2017, 2018, and 2020.
It was also under his leadership that Ormoc enjoyed a boom, becoming the richest and most progressive city in Eastern Visayas, Gomez’s camp said.