MANILA, Philippines?Former actor and vice mayor Herbert Bautista was finally proclaimed the winner in the Quezon City mayoral race Tuesday morning, beating his closest rival Mike Defensor by a wide margin.
Bautista, the anointed candidate of outgoing mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr., said the landslide win was akin to getting an early birthday present as his birthday is on Wednesday.
The Liberal Party made a clean sweep of the mayor, vice mayor and congressional seats in Quezon City with all winners in the said positions coming from Bautista?s local slate.
Winning as congressmen were Liberal Party bets Bingbong Crisologo for District 1, Winnie Castelo for District 2, Bolet Banal for District 3 and Belmonte for District 4.
The three-termer Bautista won with 497,965 votes over Defensor?s 126,246, a win perceived to be due to Belmonte?s endorsement and that of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
?The city government will be more action oriented than making laws. Of course I will be continuing our outgoing mayor?s projects and new ones as well which will be outlined in our first 100 days,? he said.
The proclamation Tuesday morning at the Quezon City Hall ended months of speculation and tension marred by mudslinging between the two rivals? camps.
Other contenders in the mayoral race, such as congresswoman Annie Susano, got 68,035 while former mayor Ismael Mathay Jr. got 22,117.
City councilor Antonio Inton Jr., who got 12,185 votes, told the Inquirer earlier in the day that he was conceding the race to Bautista as he was seen leading it since early Tuesday.
?I admit I got few votes, probably because I started late and of other factors, but at least I am sure that those votes are really my votes,? Inton said.
Bautista?s running mate from the Liberal Party, Joy Belmonte, also won by a landslide over Defensor?s partner, city councilor Aiko Melendez.
The younger Belmonte won with 501,129 despite being a virtual newcomer to Quezon City politics, against the much more seasoned Melendez who got 121,941.
Incumbent city councilor Janet Malaya, Susano?s running mate, came in third with 74,916 votes.
The younger Belmonte promised to continue the projects of her father, who won a new term as congressman in District 4.
?I will also implement my own programs, particularly my advocacies for social services especially for the marginalized sector, daycare center for kids, education and livelihood. I also want to improve health services,? she said in an interview after the proclamation.
Joy, an archaeologist by profession, said she wishes to see all children in Quezon City finish at least up to secondary school with help from the government.
Bautista, meanwhile said he remains friends with Defensor who was his bitter rival in the recently concluded elections.
Asked on how he plans to leave his mark on Quezon City as the new mayor-elect and no longer just Belmonte?s vice mayor, Bautista said each mayor?s contribution to Quezon City was similar to a jigsaw puzzle.
?Each mayor puts his own piece, his own contribution to the city?s development as a beautiful city. This is also my way of adding my piece to make Quezon City even better,? he said.
The canvassing of votes for the local positions ended almost 17 hours after the voting closed on Monday evening at 7 p.m.
The Quezon City Board of Canvassers also announced the 24 new councilors of the City Council, some who sought reelection this year.
The new city councilors are as follows:
Alex Herrera, RJ Belmonte, Onyx Crisologo, Francisco Calalay, Dorothy Delarmente and Joseph Juico for District 1; Mary Grace Castillo, actors Alfred Vargas and Roderick Paulate, Julienne Medalla, Eden Medina and Godofredo Liban for District 2;
Julian Cosetent, Allan Reyes, Jimmy Borres, Don de Leon, Giancarlo Sotto and Eufemio Lagumbay for District 3; and Edcel Lagman, Jesus Suntay, Jessica Daza, Raquel Malangen, Vincent Belmonte and Marvin Rillo for District 4.
Other celebrities who ran for city councilor, such as Ogie Diaz, Arnel Ignacio, Ricky Davao, Jaime Fabregas, Ara Mina and Ma. Isabel Yokohama, meanwhile lost.