ORMOC CITY MAYOR RICHARD GOMEZ
Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez is out
to prove that they can win the fight against
drugs, corruption, and poverty
BY LAKAMBINI BAUTISTA
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RON MENDOZA
GROOMING BY FLOE TAPAYAN
For Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, the road to public service was a long, rough journey full of twists and turns. In 2001, he ran under the party list, Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga (MAD). It earned 1.52 million votes, but it was disqualified by the Supreme Court because it did not belong to or represent the so-called “marginalized” sector, the ruling said. In 2007, he ran for senator, but lost. He tried for a seat in the House
of Representatives in 2010, but was disqualified due to residency issues. His wife Lucy then ran as his substitute and won. In 2013, he lost the mayoralty race to Edward Codilla by a slim margin of fewer than 3,000 votes. Finally, in the 2016 mayoralty race, he won against Liberal Party candidate Ondo Codilla.
Two things can be gleaned from his story: first, there is a time and place for everything; and second, being a showbiz personality does not preclude one from becoming a qualified public servant.
SHOWBIZ TO POLITICS
Gomez’s foray into public service began in 1998, shortly after he got married to Lucy Torres. “I was appointed by then President Erap Estrada as a member of his Cabinet. Eventually, I created MAD
and started this anti-drug campaign. At the same time, I was also a member of the national team, at doon ko nakita na if we don’t do anything, masisira talaga ang buhay ng younger generation with the proliferation of drugs. Under my office, I got to do different sports programs and projects, and I saw the
effects. I realized that I can help more people through government resources,” he says.
He admits that there were times when he felt frustrated—like when his partylist won but was not allowed to sit—but that only fired up his desire to do something more. “Sabi ko, even if we didn’t get to sit, I will just continue to do what I know best, which is to fight drugs and promote sports,” he adds.
LEARNING THE ROPES
Looking back on it now, Gomez believes that his past experiences and education have prepared him to become the mayor that Ormoc needs. “When Lucy became the congresswoman, I became her chief of staff. I was always in the district doing work,” he says. He also took three courses at UP National
PROFILE College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG), and finished his master’s degree in Business Administration.