MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) - It was a family affair over at the Batangas Capitol building on Monday morning as re-elected Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto took her oath of office together with her husband, returning senator Ralph Recto.
Along with the couple, winning provincial candidates from the Liberal Party (LP) were also present for their own oath-taking, including Vice Governor Mark Leviste, winning board members, most notably actor Christopher de Leon, and Congressmen Tomas Apacible and Hermilando Mandanas.
The event was simple, perhaps echoing what LP standard bearer and President-elect Benigno Aquino III planned for his own inauguration on Wednesday.
Only LP candidates were on hand at the event, a product of the intense local race and campaign season in Batangas where party lines and alliances were clearly drawn.
Last May, a big number of mayoralty candidates decided to support Santos’s political rival, Edna Sanchez.
In her inaugural speech, Santos stressed the importance of reaching out to her critics.
One of the main criticisms that Santos received during the campaign period was that she was an absentee governor who would often film or promote her movies rather than work for the people, an accusation she repeatedly denied.
Perhaps as a show of faith, Santos did announce to the media that she would temporarily step back from show business, and that she would not be making any film anytime soon.
Meanwhile, Recto, for his part, said he wanted to take the oath with his wife as a symbol of his gratitude to the Batangueños. Santos, however, made several mistakes while administering the oath to her husband, eliciting laughter from the crowd gathered at Batangas Capitol building.
Santos admitted that she was nervous. “Kabado ako talaga dahil hindi ko pa nagawa ang oath-taking sa mister ko.”
The senator quipped that his wife forced him, and that his oath-taking was a renewal of their marriage vows, not only as husband and wife but as political partners.
Recto added his return to the Senate marks the first time that he will be working with his wife as governor. -With a report from Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News