"The alliance is seen to be more than enough to topple the reign of the Belmontes in Quezon City."
When I mentioned in my column last week that a battle royale in the political front in Quezon City is fast shaping up, it was merely a term that popped up into my mind that time as I grope for words to describe the looming political tiff between Anakalusugan Rep. Michael “Idol Mike” Defensor and incumbent city mayor Josefina “Joy’ Belmonte.
Latest developments indicate it might actually hold water.
Yesterday, a highly placed source, someone “very close” to the hierarchy of both Lakas-CMD and the Nationalist People’s Coalition told a select group of media that some of the biggest names in Quezon City politics have banded together to challenge the Belmontes in next year’s local elections.
According to the source, the families of the Defensors, Castelos, Crisologos, Reyes and Rillos are forming a powerhouse ticket for next year’s election which he claims will be more than enough to topple the reign of the Belmontes in Quezon City.
The alliance, the source bared, was forged after a powerful political family brokered the meeting among the families.
“The slate these families will be fielding will not only give the Belmontes a run for their money. We see this alliance to be more than enough to emerge victorious and the Belmontes political reign in Quezon City,” the source avers.
While it has already been decided Defensor would be standard bearer, the source says, former Congressman Winston “Winnie” Castelo has agreed to be his running mate under the banner of Malayang Quezon City.
For the city’s six congressional districts, the following will be fielded as the party’s official candidates:
District 1 – Incumbent Congressman Anthony Peter “Onyx” Crisologo;
District 2 – Incumbent Congressman Precious Hipolito-Castelo;
District 3 – Incumbent Congressman Allan Benedict Reyes;
District 4 – Former City Councilor Marvin Rillo;
District 5 – Carl Castelo; and,
District 6 – Former Congressman Vincent “Bingbong” Crisologo.
Crisologo lost to Joy Belmonte in the 2019 elections by a little more than 103,000 votes. According to political analysts, this was mainly due to the support thrown by the powerful Iglesia ni Cristo to Belmonte.
“Just imagine if the INC's support had gone the way of Crisologo, Joy would have surely lost big time,” the source says.
And contrary to the results of a survey being peddled by a newly-established opinion polling firm that Belmonte’s handling of the pandemic had earned her praises from her constituents, the source says it is actually her mishandling of the crisis which could lead to her downfall.
“From the beginning, she has been highly criticized. She was caught taking cue from the cameraman before handing out relief goods to some Quezon City residents. Instead of building quarantine facilities, she prioritized building a crematorium. Medical doctors in the Quezon City Medical Center threatened to resign en masse last year after complaining some of them were not paid even a single centavo for their servicers even as they risked their lives in this pandemic,” the source said.
“In a number of times, she had been tagged as the primary organizer of super spreader events as she continuously refused to hand over the ayuda by going house-to-house instead of having people line up for the dole outs wherein no social or physical distancing have been observed,” the source added.
“In fact, just a few weeks ago, one of her reported congressional candidates for next year in District 3, had gone under fire for organizing another super spreader event via a food distribution activity he had organized,” he said.
“These alone are enough to spell disaster for Belmonte. And then add to it this powerhouse ticket which will challenge her. It would be a double whammy for her,” said the source.
While it is still too early to gauge the sentiments of the Quezon City residents regarding next year’s local polls, the source said the decision to forge an alliance is already a positive sign for them.
“They have already drawn the line for next year’s battle and there could be no stopping them,” the source says