Candidates of the Liberal Party (LP) in Tagbilaran City are on an upbeat mood following poll results indicating a surge of public support to candidates opposing the slate fielded by City Mayor Dan Lim. The phenomenal shift came at a time that the election campaign period has winded down less than 40 days to the elections on May 13. The Liberal Party city mayoralty and vice mayoralty candidates are the biggest gainers of the recent poll, with lawyer Agustinus “Dodong” Gonzaga, bet for city mayor, registering a growing support across all age groups and social classes. The awareness rate for Gonzaga surge so high enjoying an edge over the early starter and closest rival John Geesnell “Baba” Yap of the Pundok Panaghiusa group. Gonzaga’s advocacy for clean and pro-active governance has gained a momentum, presenting to city residents a contrast on the present city administration of outgoing mayor Dan Lim, marred with allegations of corruption, fiscal mismanagement and neglect of city roads. Showing data from the Holy Name University Research center, LP mayoralty candidate Gonzaga managed to attain the 30-percent mark despite announcing his mayoralty bid several months behind his two opponents – Dr. Abraham Lim, the mayor’s brother, and City Councilor John Geesnell Yap, also a nephew of the mayor.
In a meeting with media last Thursday, LP candidate for City Councilor, Zenaido “Djingo” Rama, said results of the latest Bohol Poll released by the Holy Name University Research Center (HNU-RC) are “all indicative of a shifting public opinion on the administration of the sitting mayor towards the advocacies being conveyed by the main opposition – which is embodied by the LP ticket.” Former Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso, on a bid to reclaim his old post, likewise showed a commanding lead over two lady opponents, the incumbent Vice Mayor Nuevas Montes and City Councilor Anne Mariquit Oppus. Comebacking former city councilor Zenaido “Djingo” Rama noted that Veloso already breached the 40-percent mark (41%) early into the start of the campaign for local candidates, with a solid margin of 17-percentage points against Montes who obtained 24% in the survey. Public satisfaction with City Mayor Lim has nosedived to its lowest on record with less than 3 months left before he is scheduled to step down from his post, ending a 9-year term. The Bohol Poll, conducted last March 2 – 22, gave the city mayor a net satisfaction rating of -2 or down by 38 percentage points since the last survey conducted last year where Lim obtained a +36 satisfaction rating from survey respondents. Since the second half of 2012, Mayor Lim, who is running for congressman in the First District, has increased his radio airtime which he regularly uses to openly promote the candidacies of his brother and his entire city slate with city-paid time slots in one radio station during the morning and early afternoons, daily. “Obviously this did not help his [the mayor] cause, even with so much media exposure, city electors are now rationalizing the kind of media information they are getting,” Rama declared.
The HNU-RC poll also found that majority of Tagbilaran voters will not support Mayor Lim’s candidacy for congressman. The poll results have showed that over the past 8 years of the Lim administration, the mayor has continually registered a dipping satisfaction rating, in fact, in the middle of his second term, he still enjoyed a very high 75% rating. “With the mayor’s rating falling into negative territory, it is clear that Tagbilaranons are recognizing the many negative issues against the mayor – from irregular fund use, inefficient delivery of services to mismanagement and political attacks against other government officials,” Rama explained. Rama likewise attributed the unpopularity of the city mayor to the “toxic campaign” he is waging against top provincial officials, including Gov. Edgar Chatto and First District Rep. Rene Relampagos, who continue to enjoy high trust and performance ratings in the Bohol Poll surveys. “In fact, the mayor’s unpopularity could also poison the candidacies of his allies in the city, district, provincial and even national candidates whom he is currently endorsing for the May 13 elections,” Rama concluded. (30)