Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez and Leyte 4th district Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez. (Photo from FB page of Mayor Richard Gomez)
TACLOBAN CITY – This year’s mid-term polls ended the 27-year dynasty of the Codilla family in northwestern Leyte as the Torres-Gomez clan succeeded in expanding their turf.
The clan took the last bailiwick of the Codilla family – the town of Kananga, Leyte -- after Board Member Matt Torres beat incumbent Mayor Rowena Codilla in the mayoral race. It was a tight race with 15,350 votes gained by Matt against 13,310 obtained by Rowena.
Rowena’s husband, Elmer, mayor of Kananga from 2007 to 2016, also lost in the vice mayoral race after Matt’s running mate, Miguel Tan, garnered 13,911 votes, slightly higher than the 13,672 votes received by Elmer.
Matt is the brother of actress-turned-congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez, wife of actor-turned-mayor Richard Gomez. The celebrity couple got a fresh term in their respective posts -- Richard as Ormoc City mayor, and Lucy as Leyte fourth district representative.
Replacing Matt in the provincial board is his sister Carmen Torres-Rama, a new face in politics.
The election in Kananga town is crucial since it is the remaining area in western Leyte controlled by the Codillas, a political clan established by Elmer’s father, Eufrocino Codilla Sr.
Eufrocino, who died in 2016, was known as “Man of the Masses” in Leyte’s northwest area due to his ties with the common people. He entered politics as Ormoc City mayor in 1992. In 2001, he was elected as a lawmaker and served for nine years.
Two of his children also served as Ormoc’s local government. Eric was three-term mayor of Ormoc (2004-2013) while Edward served as mayor for only one term because Richard Gomez stopped his re-election bid in 2016.
Another son of Eufrocino, Winnie, crashed out of the congressional race after garnering only 50,969 votes, a fraction of the 177,938 votes obtained by Lucy.
Rico, the youngest member of the Codilla political clan, lost his bid to represent Leyte’s 4th district in the provincial board.
In Ormoc City’s mayoralty race, Richard beat Eric by nearly 48,000 votes. Eric is publicly known as the friendliest son of the late Codilla patriarch.
In a statement Wednesday, the actor thanked the people for their support to his family and political allies. His entire slate in Ormoc City won in this year’s elections.
Gomez credited his re-election bid's success to the support of city government employees who helped implement the projects and programs of his administration.
“Our campaign wouldn’t be successful without the support of all departments who had helped us make Ormoc City a beautiful place since 2016. We will again ask you to work harder, work together to make Ormoc more progressive,” he said. (PNA)