Roughly two months before the filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2019 midterm elections from October 1 to 5, Quezon City politics is brimming with shifting alliances and backdoor negotiations.
There are four unofficial candidates for mayor: 1st District Rep. Vincent “Bingbong” Crisologo, 2nd District Rep. Winnie Castelo, TV producer-host/businessman Willie Revillame, and incumbent Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte.
Crisologo was appointed chair of PartidoDemokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) Quezon City in February, putting him on direct collision with Belmonte who was sworn in as PDP-Laban member by Senator Koko Pimentel in May 2017. Will there be a PDP-Laban convention in Quezon City to determine who will be fielded by the party? Or will they settle the matter via a political arrangement beneficial to both?
Castelo, on the other hand, is now on his final term in Congress. He is reportedly being urged by senior political advisers to run for mayor considering that his Daza-Castelo-Sotto family is well represented and wields a lot of clout in all of the city’s districts.
Revillame, meanwhile, continues to meet with political bigwigs. He recently flew in his private chopper over Barangay BagongPag-asa, where he reportedly plans to build his “pabahay para samgamahihirap” (housing for the poor). He also visited Belmonte and actress/TV host Kris Aquino as seen in recent Instagram photos.
Revillame is reportedly telling friends that he will run for mayor if President Duterte asks him to do so. There is also serious talk among him, Crisologo, and Castelo for a possible alliance within PDP-Laban.
There were unconfirmed reports that the President already endorsed Belmonte as the party’s mayoral candidate in Quezon City during the One Mindanao event in Davao City in March.
Just in May, Belmonte, together with Taguig Mayor LaniCayetano and Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, launched the “Tapang at Malasakit” movement at Trinity University of Asia in Quezon City.
And interestingly coinciding with the President’s State of the Nation Address, Davao City and Quezon City renewed their 24-year sisterhood ties with Sara paying a visit to Quezon City Hall.
Right now, winning the mayoralty is a cinch for Belmonte, mainly due to the solid backing of her father, 4th District Rep. and former House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, and his “political son,” incumbent Mayor Herbert Bautista.
The legacy of these two gentlemen in the city’s continued progress and development will clearly work in her favor.
Senate President Tito Sotto’s son, 3rd District Councilor Gian Sotto, is being groomed as Belmonte’s running mate.
But there is also talk that Castelo might end up as her running mate come crunch time since he is a stronger candidate than Gian based on two previous surveys.
Bautista is expected to run for congressman in the third district, pitting him against perennial topnotcher, Councilor Allan Reyes, who is married to the powerful Lopez clan in Manila.
But Bautista is not discounting the possibility of running for senator after he ended up in the No. 12 to 14 position in the latest Malacañang-commissioned senatorial survey.