November 16, 2017 at 09:28 pm
Rio N. Araja
THREE former Quezon City councilors are expected to join the congressional race in District 4 in the 2019 elections to replace three-termer Rep. Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr., the former House Speaker.
City hall sources said Thursday they knew of plans that Nanette Daza, a former councilor and representative, would seek a return to Congress despite her busy schedule campaigning for her brother, District 2 Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo.
“There are issues that she will run,” one of the sources told the Manila Standard on condition of anonymity. “But she is seen elsewhere as Winston’s campaign manager.”
Winnie Castelo, also a last-term lawmaker, is touted to run as vice mayor against three-termer District 3 Councilor Gian Carlo Sotto, son of Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto and veteran actress Helen Gamboa.
Other councilors seen running for the District 4 House seat are Marvin Rillo and Jesus Emmanuel “Bong” Suntay.
Despite three-term District 4 Councilor Rillo’s plan to stay away from politics in 2019, City Hall observers believe he could still break his promise. Another source, however, told the Standard Rillo “is gentleman enough” to make good on his promise to give way to Suntay’s congressional bid.
“They have an arrangement that [Rillo] is not running for as long as there will be [solid] support for his wife, who will run as councilor,” the Standard source said, also requesting he not be named.
When asked, Suntay said: “This is a free country. Anyone can run [for election].”
He said Rillo had told him he would not run for Congress.
As far as Daza is concerned, Suntay said the her joining the congressional race could set back Castelo’s bid.
“Of course, they have to shell out their own resources [and divide their time],” he told the Standard.
“[Rillo] would always tell me he will not run. But I am prepared for any eventuality.”
During the launch of the Super Health Assistance Card for solo parents in District 4 in September, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said Suntay, the project proponent, “does not need to do this. He is running unopposed in District 4.”
Suntay, for his part, said if he wins, he would adopt the policies and reforms of the older Belmonte to ensure continuity.
He disclosed he will join the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan from being an independent candidate in the last elections.