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Leyte town mayor is ‘happy and gay’


LEYTE Mayor Arnold James Ysidoro. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

LEYTE, Leyte—While others hide in the closet, the mayor of Leyte, a sleepy town in Leyte province, is proud to be gay.

Mayor Arnold James Ysidoro says his sexuality doesn’t affect how he leads his 37,000 constituents.

“I never hide my being gay. The people of my town know my personality and I have nothing to be ashamed of. They have accepted me for what I am,” said Ysidoro, 53, who sports a shoulder-length hair.

Ysidoro was elected mayor in 1998 and won two more terms in 2001 and 2004. Due to the constitutional term limit, he stepped down in 2007. His older brother, Armando, took over as mayor for one term.

In 2010, Ysidoro ran again and won. A United Nationalist Alliance  candidate, he is now seeking reelection against the Liberal Party’s Ma. Victoria David, daughter of Rep. Andres Salvacion of Leyte’s third district.

Though he is “happy and gay,” Ysidoro said that when he was first asked to run for mayor to replace his father, Romeo, whose term was ending in 1998, he was apprehensive, fearing that his opponents might use his sexuality against him.

“In politics, anything goes,” he said.

Indeed, his rivals pounced on his sexual preference and called him unfit to serve. “I was hurt. But I learned to ignore them even if they were relentless in calling me names relative to my sexuality,” he said.

The black propaganda didn’t work. Ysidoro went to win, and, more than that, he had earned the respect of his people.

PO2 Manuel Carel, municipal police finance officer, said the policemen didn’t mind that their mayor was gay, stressing that it did not affect his governance.

In fact, he said, the mayor was very strict, especially when it came to peace and order. Ysidoro does not hesitate to put troublemakers behind bars, he said.

“He is professional when he deals with us, coupled with the fact that he gives us his total support by providing us necessary equipment like vehicles,” Carel said.

Rosalyn Delima, 40, of Barangay Poblacion, described Ysidoro as a “good mayor.”

“He attends to the needs of his people. He always visits the barangays and asks residents what their problems are,” she said.

The mayor wants every work done on time, said Cristina Poliño, a youth development officer of the municipality’s social welfare and development office.

“He hates it when he learns that our clients have been waiting for hours before they are attended to. He berates us when he sees that what we are doing is not correct. Of course, he does it at his office and not in public,” Poliño said.

Ysidoro described himself as a “hands-on” mayor who would often visit Leyte’s 30 barangays to know the people’s concerns, such as health, peace and order and even personal family matters. He deals with the problems personally and finds satisfaction in being able to address these.

Before, he said, he was a “bitch” and did not like to mingle with strangers. But that changed when he became a mayor.

“I have learned to [accept] how they actually live. I have to deal with the common people, which I truly enjoy,” he said.

After serving 12 years as mayor, Ysidoro still has plans for the fourth-class municipality (annual income: P75 million), located more than 90 kilometers from the capital of Tacloban City.

If given a fresh mandate, he wants to give priority to the construction of farm-to-market roads and day-care centers, and the beautification of the town.

Asked about his love life, Ysidoro admitted that he ended a four-year romance with a man from Davao two years ago. “We remain friends,” he said. So far, he had at least four serious relationships which lasted two to five years.

The mayor swore that he never had a relationship with someone from Leyte. “While there were some who openly flirted with me, I never gave in. I have to respect my position,” he said.

Although he is gay, Ysidoro said he was not subscribing to same-sex marriage. “That kind of relationship does not last anyway.”

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • randyaltarejos

    I think what matters most is how someone translates promises into concrete results Gender bias has nothing to do with political performance.

    • Guest

      tama ka din..wag lang manglalake at baka mapariwara siya..ibusin ni mayor kaba ng bayan tsk tsk

  • virgoyap

    I don’t care whether he is straight or gay, what I do care is that he is not a trapo and not engaged in dynastic politics.

  • Max Tandan

    Alexander the Great and most of his armies, Julius Cesar, Shakespeare, Lino Brocka, Elton John, rocker David Bowie, in the Secret Gospel of Mark, Jesus Christ is gay.

    • $5699914

      Bastos ka rin.

    • Mark

      Kung bakla ka wag mo ng isama si Kristo sa kalokohan mo, wala nman pumipigil sau na maging bakla at humada.

      • James F Garcia

        magsaliksik po muna tayo bago magreact palibhasa mababaw ang mga aral at doktrina ng inyong simbahan kaya kung anu na lng sabihin ng pari o pastor tatanggapin niyo kahit walang patunay sa ORIHINAL na BIBLIYA. Magbasa ka ng Original Greek and Hebrew na mismong isinulat ng apostol hindi ung modern translation na madaming nadagdag at nabawas na salita ng Dios

      • tagaDumantay

        Nagbasa ka ba ng orihinal na Greek at Hebrew bible o nabasa mo lang ang intrepretasyon sa internet noong nagbasa daw ng original?

    • James F Garcia

      Thats true Max

  • D L

    gay or not it doesn’t matter.
    what matters
    father -> him -> his brother -> him again
    one family rules the town.

  • southernsons

    Mabuti pa sya nagtatrabaho para sa bayan. Keep up the good work.

  • kilabot

    happy and gay, yes;
    but no matter how educated,
    no matter how high in the social ladder,
    no matter how sophisticated and refined,
    no matter a mayor or senator or president,
    a gay will always fall for the dirty anus;
    like a pig that always delights in the mud.

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