Nobody took him seriously because of his age.
But after 25-year-old Christian Sorongan won as mayor of the town of New Lucena in Iloilo, he officially ended the 30-year rule of the Mondejars.
“They said I was too young to be a mayor. No one took me seriously. They laughed at me because I’m contending a political dynasty,” said Sorongon.
But even before Sorongon ran for mayor, he was already recognized as one of the Philippines’ youngest councilors when he was elected for the position at age 19.
Sorongon took a leave of absence from the Ateneo de Manila Law School where he is already in his third year to challenge the husband of New Lucena’s incumbent Mayor Liecel Mondejar-Seville.
“There was a strong clamor of the people for change in New Lucena. The municipality remains the same in terms of development — that’s the general feeling of the people. And they saw the catalyst for change in me, because I had been a councilor from 2010 to 2013,” said Sorongon.
He said he was prepared to lose on election day since he was running against an opponent whose clan ruled his hometown for the past 30 years.
Aside from this, there were reports of rampant vote-buying.
“May mga taong sinasabi na na-sway na ang mga tao sa vote-buting, that they were not going to vote for me. I was really ready to lose during the last days of campaign. But when the votes were coming in, okay naman. Hindi nasilaw ang mga tao sa pera,” he said.
(There were people saying that voters were being swayed due to vote-buying, and they were not going to vote for me. I was really ready to lose during the last days of the campaign. But when the votes were coming in, it was okay. The people weren’t blinded by money.)
Sorongon garnered 6,088 votes while rival Ricco Seville had 5,107 votes. He won by a difference of 992 votes.
“This means that there is also opportunity for young leaders who don’t come from political families to become leaders in their own community,” he said.