Ormoc City—Actor-turned-politician Richard Gomez on Tuesday thanked his supporters for electing him, after two failed attempts, as the fourth district representative of Leyte.
Gomez, the outgoing mayor of Ormoc City, became emotional as he recalled his more than two decades of struggle to win a congressional seat.
“This was a 21-year journey. In 2001, I ran as representative of Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga and garnered enough votes, but the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualified our party-list. In 2010, I participated in the congressional elections, but again I was disqualified by Comelec,” Gomez recalled.
According to the Comelec, Gomez failed to establish residency in Ormoc City in 2010.
His wife, Lucy Torres-Gomez, took his place and won.
In 2013, he ran for mayor of Ormoc but lost. In 2016, he ran again and won, and was reelected in May 2019.
In this year’s elections, Richard, who served as mayor of Ormoc for six years, earned 148,941 votes in the congressional race against former Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal who garnered 117,912 votes.
“I am very glad that I won. I will work hard and do my best to bring progress that will make a difference in the lives of the people,” Richard told local officials and supporters during their oath-taking at the Ormoc Superdome.
Lucy, the outgoing Leyte 4th district representative, is the new mayor of Ormoc, defeating former mayor Edward Codilla. She has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2010.
“I have learned so much from Richard’s dedication and passion. It’s a challenge for our team to sustain the development started by Mayor Richard. We are committed to nurture what the previous administration has accomplished,” she said.
Among her priorities are the continuation of the fight against illegal drugs, sustaining the city’s status as peaceful and orderly, health services, infrastructure projects, the building of libraries, the boost in agriculture production, and tourism development.
Joining the oath-taking were winning city councilors, all allies of the celebrity couple.
The Torres-Gomez clan has further tightened their political grip in Leyte’s 4th district in this year’s elections.
Among the winning officials from the clan are Kananga town Mayor Matthew Torres (Lucy’s younger brother), Ormoc councilor Caren Torres-Rama (Lucy’s elder sister), and 4th district board member Vince Rama (Caren’s husband).