Celebrity Couple Richard and Lucy Torres.
Celebrity Couple Richard and Lucy Torres.

ORMOC CITY, Leyte, March 2 (PNA) -– Celebrity couple Richard Gomez and Rep. Lucy Marie Torres-Gomez was a no-show during the peace covenant signing held at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Church here on Tuesday.

The lady solon is seeking another term while her husband is running again for mayor after losing in 2013.

Vice Mayor Leo Carmelo L. Locsin Jr., who led their group, said Gomez didn’t make it to the activity as he received an acting award from the National Commission on Culture and the Arts at the 8th Ani ng Dangal Awards the previous night for his role in the indie film “Janitor.”

This is not the first time that the couple was not present during a peace signing ceremony. Gomez did the same thing on March 6, 2010 when he first ran for Leyte 4th district representative.

Husband and wife also did not attend a similar exercise on Feb. 12, 2013 as they opted to attend the proclamation rally of the Liberal Party in Manila.

On the other hand, the competing administration party led by re-electionist Mayor Edward C. Codilla wasn’t complete also. His wife Violeta who is challenging Rep. Gomez’s re-election bid couldn’t make it either but she sent her daughter Caroline to represent her.

In their signed pledge, the candidates committed to not threaten, intimidate voters or use force and violence, and organized partisan armed group to thwart the will of the people; not influence the voters’ will through the use of money, gifts or material assistance; conduct their campaign in accordance with law and in the spirit of good grace and friendly rivalry; and raise the level of their campaign by addressing issues and platforms, and avoiding character assassination of opponents; among others.

Fr. Isagani Petilos, Ormoc parish priest, expressed gladness that the activity was held inside their church to remind the candidates of the sanctity of their pledge that they recited in front of the altar. He added that politics is supposed to be good, being a means to improve the people’s lot.

“I would like to point out the seriousness and gravity of this endeavor. This campaign is not a plaything but offering yourselves to public service,” Petilos went on.

Sr. Supt. Ferdinand Garay, city police director, vowed that his office will ensure the safety of voters and candidates alike on May 9 and that the city will be free of any election related violence.

He also guaranteed the safety of ballots. “Our personnel shall ensure the conduct of security coverage to sustain a free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible 2016 elections,” he said.

“In behalf of the 253 men and women of Ormoc Police Office, we assure everyone that our office shall remain apolitical during the entirety of the exercise. In so doing, utmost respect will be accorded to the public wherein no civil, political, constitutional and human rights will be violated,” Garay said.

Col. Francisco Mendoza Jr., commander of the 802nd Brigade informed that the Army, Philippine National Police and Comelec in the region have signed a joint security plan two weeks ago. The plan outlines their tasks and responsibilities to secure the elections.

Mendoza assured that they will do their best to give Ormoc a just, honest, orderly and peaceful election. “But this also lies on the candidates’ part. I call on the candidates to really stand by your commitment to your pledge and rest assured that your army will do its part to be apolitical, non-partisan and neutral,” he went on.

City Election Officer Ramon J. Dadulla Jr. concluded the program by saying that Comelec, armed with neutrality and their dedication to serve the people, will see to it that the voice of every people in Ormoc will be heard and respected on May 9. (PNA)