Valenzuela's Gatchalian brothers cast votes

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian. Photo from Gatchalian's facebook page

MANILA - Incumbent Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian and his brother, Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, cast their votes in Canumay Elementary School Monday.

Rex is running for re-election and is pitted against incumbent Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo.

This is the second time Rex is facing a Gunigundo in a mayoralty race. Last elections, he was up against Adelma Gunigundo, the wife of the incumbent congressman.

Rex said unlike the previous elections though, this one has been a real test of his time management skills since he is not only running his own local race, he is also helping in the presidential campaign of Senator Grace Poe.

Also this time, his name has been dragged in the Kentex rubber factory fire that killed 74 people.

The Office of the Ombudsman earlier ordered the dismissal of Gatchalian and other city officials for gross neglect of duty and misconduct. But he secured a temporary restraining order from the Court of Appeals.

Gatchalian said that under his administration, Valenzuela received a seal of good financial housekeeping from the Department of Finance and the Commission on Audit. The city has also been dubbed one of the most business-friendly cities in the country.

Rex expressed hope that the residents of Valenzuela will give him the same amount of support as they did the last election when he won in all voting precincts.

Should he be re-elected, he said he will focus on improving tertiary education in Valenzuela.

Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian. ABS-CBN News

Education will also be at the center of his brother Sherwin's legislative agenda should he secure a Senate seat.

At the early stages of Sherwin's campaign, he ranked low in the surveys. But recently, he has been ranking within the magic 12.

The bloc voting Iglesia in Cristo has endorsed Sherwin. He admitted seeking the INC's support because he has worked with them in various public service projects.

But he assured their endorsement will not affect his legislative judgment should he be elected.

This is the first time Sherwin is eyeing a national post after serving as Valenzuela mayor and 1st District representative in the past five elections.

Rep. Gunigundo, meanwhile, voted in Marulas Elementary School at 10:30 a.m.

Apart from the incumbent officials, hundreds of voters flocked to Canumay Elementary School.

While the election has been generally peaceful in this voting center so far, there were a few hiccups.

A number of voters had difficulty finding their precincts and names on the voters' list.

There was a group of PPCRV volunteers who assisted them.

But the volunteers said some of these voters have been delisted because of failure to register their biometrics.

There were also about three incidents in one precinct of vote counting machine rejecting ballots because of stray marks.

Marti Caberte, whose ballot was rejected, said the stray marks were not her doing. They were written using a ballpen, and she only had a marking pen.

But the Board of Election Inspectors denied marking the ballot.

Election supervisor Gloria Morenos said these voters were asked to return to the precinct at 4 p.m., an hour before closing time, so that they may be given a second ballot, if there are excess from registered voters who did not turn up.

Valenzuela has about 320,000 registered voters and is the 7th city in Metro Manila with the biggest number of voters.