The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has proclaimed three members of the influential Villafuerte political family in Camarines Sur who all won handily over their respective rivals.
The father, Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte, was reelected to his third term as the province’s second-district congressional representative, while his sons—Miguel “Migz” Luis and Vincenzo “Luigi” Renato won as 5th district representative and governor, respectively, of the province.
The younger Villafuertes triumphed over powerful political clans in the province. Miguel toppled the Alfelors, represented by Iriga City Mayor Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen; and Vincenzo who is running for the first time for an elective post knocked out from the gubernatorial contest Rolando Andaya Jr. who used to represent Camarines Sur’s first district and had served as House Majority Floor Leader and Budget Secretary.
Andaya’s sister—Maribel Andaya Eusebio—ran in his stead as representative of the first district, but lost to Hori Horibata of PDP-Laban.
Both Miguel and Vincenzo ran under the Duterte-led PDP-Laban, while LRay ran under the banner of the National Unity Party (NUP), one of the administration’s political allies.
The latest unofficial voting results as of Wednesday showed that LRay garnered 111,743 votes as against the 30,324 votes of his rival Aba Abasola. Miguel racked up 153,852 votes as against Alfelor-Gazmen’s 101,944 votes, while Vincenzo got 492,415 votes as opposed to Andaya’s 416,43.
Meanwhile, House Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera said she was “grateful and humbled” as her party list group Bagong Henerasyon (BH) is poised to be elected for another three-year term in Congress.
As of latest count, BH ranks 34th in the party list polls, garnering 327,085 votes with 98.35 percent of election returns counted, but already enough for it to get a seat in the House of Representatives.
“We are utterly humbled by and deeply grateful to the electorate for their continued trust and confidence in BH party list,” Herrera said in a statement.
“Rest assured that we will continue and even double our efforts to provide our constituents the best public service they deserve. BH party list will keep on championing women and children’s rights, consumer protection, efficient internet and economic recovery,” she added.
Herrera said she was grateful to her supporters who helped spread the word about BH and its track record during the course of the campaign.
“We would like express our sincere gratitude to every single person whose dedication and sacrifice built the groundswell that was our campaign,” she said.
Herrera said she’s eager to return to Congress where she has much work left to do.
In fact, Herrera already hit the ground running by meeting with her legislative and political staff to be able to list down her priorities for the incoming 19th Congress.
“We are ready to give our full support and extend a helping hand to the next administration in pushing for much-needed and meaningful laws that would be beneficial to our countrymen,” she said.
As first nominee of BH, Herrera will be serving her third consecutive term as member of the Lower House.
Herrera, who has earned the moniker “Aksyonera” for getting things done fast, said BH P would remain the voice of women and children, as well as MSMEs in the legislature.
Prior to becoming Deputy Speaker, Herrera served as chair of the Committee on Women and Gender Equality and vice chair of the Committee on Welfare of Children in the current 18th Congress.
In her many years in Congress, Herrera authored several laws that significantly affect women, one of which is the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Act.
She also vigorously pushed for the bill banning child marriage in the country, which was recently signed into law by President Duterte.
To help the country navigate through the challenges of COVID-19, Herrera co-authored the Bayanihan laws that granted the President additional authority to combat COVID-19 and provided for pandemic response and recovery interventions.
She also fought for a stimulus package for MSMEs, which were among the hardest hit by COVID-19 due to the community quarantine restrictions.
The Deputy Speaker was also active in committee hearings and investigations imbued with public interest.