Gonzaga-Veloso tandem final
For lawyer Agustinus Gonzaga, the pact has been made between him and former city vice mayor Jose Antonio Veloso to be running-mates in next year’s elections.
With the mayor – vice mayor tandem already settled, the question of clinching the official endorsement of the administration’s Liberal Party (LP) is likewise a “done deal”, so Gonzaga claims in an interview.
Gonzaga bared LP stalwarts here have given their blessings during a gathering at the residence of former city mayor Jose Torralba on Wednesday, to celebrate the birthday of City Councilor Alberta Torralba.
As Gonzaga disclosed in the interview, present were Gov. Edgar Chatto, First District Rep. Rene Relampagos and other local party officials.
He said there is an agreement in the LP hierarchy that nomination of local bets (official city and municipal candidates) is delegated to the provincial chairman (Chatto) and the district chairman (Relampagos).
“I don’t want to pre-empt them (Chatto and Relampagos) but I am confident of the likelihood that we (Gonzaga-Veloso tandem) will get the party nomination,” Gonzaga declared.
Based on Gonzaga’s statement, it is the prerogative of Gov. Chatto and Rep. Relampagos to issue certificates of nomination and acceptance (Cona) for their official candidates in Tagbilaran.
Gonzaga, who served as Tagbilaran city councilor in the early 80s, is brother-in-law of Relampagos while Veloso is also brother-in-law of Chatto.
Having worked as Senate staff of Sen. Franklin Drilon, LP national vice chairman, Gonzaga’s clout goes beyond the local scene. He is currently a staff of Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile.
Asked on what he thinks of other political groups also aspiring for the LP endorsement, Gonzaga refused to comment, but said he respects their plans.
He likewise indicated of maintaining a “friendly” and “open communication” with another mayoralty timbre, City Councilor John Geesnell Yap.
“In one of our meetings, he (Yap) expressed regret that he cannot back out from his plans of seeking the mayoralty and that nahinayak na siya,” Gonzaga further bared.
Gonzaga claims he and Veloso will present a “strong slate” in the May 2013 polls.
RENE’S FULL SUPPORT
Rep. Rene Relampagos ended speculations regarding whom he would be endorsing for city mayor and vice mayor in 2013 as he declared in an interview his “unequivocal” support to the Gonzaga-Veloso tandem.
Relampagos disclosed that in a meeting of all the key leaders of the administration’s local party coming from the 15 barangays of the city, there was unanimity among them all to give their all-out support for the victory of the Gonzaga-Veloso team up.
Relampagos said that what the city needs is a transition leader who is mature, has competent educational background, has the experience and has access to the present national leadership.
The solon said that Tagbilaran is very unfortunate to have lagged behind over the years. He added that the people of Tagbilaran need to capitalize on the fact that the governor and himself as first district representative have direct access to Malacañang and so for Tagbilaran to be propelled to more progress and development, the city needs a leader who can effectively work and relate with the governor and congressman to get funding for the city’s needed projects.
Relampagos foresees that under a Gonzaga-Veloso leadership in the city by 2013, a lot can be accomplished for the city insofar as addressing the different problems besetting it today is concerned.
Looking at his educational attainment, Dodong Gonzaga as he is fondly called by friends finished both his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of the Philippines in Diliman.
After which, he attended a post graduate program at the Harvard Law School in the United States. For his professional experience, he was elected governor by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for Eastern Visayas. He also became IBP’s National Director, chairman of its National Legal Aid Management Committee and representative of its Legal Education committee. For his religious upbringing, he has membership to religious groups such as the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP), since 1995; Couples for Christ, and Cursillos in Christianity (Rollista) in Bohol. He is also very active in socio-cultural activities as he is a former president of the Tagbilaran Association of Metro Manila Inc.; former vice president of the Bohol Association of Metro Manila Inc.; former president of the Bohol “Sandugo” Jaycees; former director of Philippine National Red Cross, Bohol Chapter and a member of Rotary Club of Makati Central.
Gonzaga was also an awardee of IBP’s Presidential Distinguished Service Award; Plaque of Recognition from the UP Law Alumni Association Class of 1972 and IBP’s Board of Governors Distinguished Service Award, to name a few.
With Gonzaga’s background, Relampagos said he is confident that he is the leader the city needs in its quest for good governance to maximize its potential for progress and development with the end in view of creating jobs and more economic and livelihood opportunities for Tagbilaranons.
VELOSO: SACRIFICE FOR CITY’S GOOD
In a separate interview, Veloso said his sliding down for vice mayor after expressing earlier an interest for mayorship is a “great sacrifice” to keep the strength of the group while consolidating with new forces.
Veloso’s move is also considered by their group’s allies as a wise choice to ensure victory and bring about the best transition at city hall with Gonzaga as chief executive and Veloso presiding over the legislature, which is the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
Veloso admitted that it was not easy for him sliding down to vice mayor, a supreme decision perceived by many, especially his supporters, as a selfless personal and political act.
It was then even harder explaining and convincing his family, and staunch leaders to understand and support his decision.
While the tandem is formed to ensure victory, Veloso is himself convinced by the equal good motive, credibility and competence of Gonzaga to handle the city affairs in the crucial transition.
Different sectors have faith in the duo to cause positive reforms and restore city hall dignity, which have been both the crying demands of the constituents.
The probables for the Gonzaga-Veloso slate for councilors include prominent names who are perceived to be strong contenders.
In a recent meeting attended by Relampagos together with Gov. Chatto, Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II, First District Board Members Cesar Tomas Lopez, Abeleon Damalerio and Benjie Arcamo, and former city mayor Jose Torralba, among others, a consensus was made on fielding the Gonzaga-Veloso tandem for the city mayoralty and vice mayoralty race.
Torralba said his wife, incumbent City Councilor Alberta Torralba, is seeking reelection in the Gonzaga-Veloso slate precisely because “this is the group of our governor, the group of our congressman, and this is our group.”
The former mayor has joined Gonzaga and Veloso in barangay rounds as the team-up is steadily gaining more grounds, wider acceptance and stronger support.
With the Gonzaga-Veloso merger, Relampagos hinted that next year’s poll for city mayor is going to look like a three-cornered fight.
Last-termer Mayor Dan Lim has openly pushed his US-based brother, Abraham “Abe” Lim, to succeed him while their nephew, Councilor “Baba” Yap, who is an incumbent first-termer councilor is also running for mayor.
Veloso is an alumnus of the National College of Public Administration and Governance of the University of the Philippines and Development Academy of the Philippines.
Gonzaga is married to a sister of the congressman. He is also a brother-in-law of local retail giant Fred Ong of Bohol Quality, the latter’s wife being Gonzaga’s sister.
Veloso, on the other hand, is brother of the governor’s wife, Pureza Veloso-Chatto.