A Young Idealist Is Pasig City’s New Mayor
By Rose de la Cruz
Vico Sotto – son of celebrity parents Vic Sotto of Eat Bulaga fame and Coney Reyes (also from the early years of Eat Bulaga) and whose uncle is Senate president Vicente “Tito” Sotto III —is a young idealist whose values would be put to the litmus test in Pasig City. His edge though is his youth and openness to realities without necessarily forsaking his idealistic values.
He ended the 27-year rule of the Eusebio clan, something unheard of in a democracy that is marked by political dynasties.
The 29- year old Vico (full name Victor Maria Regis Nubla Sotto) symbolizes change for one of Metro Manila’s most progressive cities, a change not just in names and faces but, hopefully, “a change in the system,” his message in the campaign.
([The clamor] is not for change in faces or names, but a change in the system. That is going to be our message in the campaign.)
Educated from elementary to graduate school at Ateneo de Manila University, Sotto prepared himself academically for the political sphere through a master’s degree in public administration at ADMU’s School of Governance.
He lived all his life in Pasig City, which is why he has seen the rise and fall of the city in the changing hands of these dynast leaders.
Despite his good looks, he remains a bachelor because he focused all his energies on leading on the platform of change. He said he is not looking for a girlfriend and leaves this in the hands of God.
He said in recent television news he remains single simply because he didn’t have time for relationships. “Pag may free time ako, mas gusto ko pang matulog o magpahinga na lang.”
Sotto’s first act was to attend a mass oath-taking of new Aksyon Demokratiko members in San Juan when he said people in the Pasig villages want a new phase in the city’s government.
Twenty-seven years in Pasig City, 4 mayors, one surname. I believe that it is time for a change in our city. If you get a chance to visit our villages, there are many crying for change, he declared.
He admitted having a tough time defeating his foe, Mayor Robert “Bobby” Eusebio.
“Our opponents — they have the same last names for mayor and congressman. They are brothers,” he said.
“We know that they have the machinery, they have the resources, but I think we have the message for change, and it is much stronger than any machinery or any resource,” he added.
Sotto’s running mate, former Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo, also displaced his opponent, Rep. Ricky Eusebio, the mayor’s brother, for the congressional seat with 202,653 votes versus the latter’s 88,404 votes.
“Everything ends,” Sotto told the Inquirer before his proclamation. “Every empire, dynasty, regime. Every period has ended.”
The political newcomer, who ran under Aksyon Demokratiko, did not field a vice mayor, leaving incumbent Iyo Christian Caruncho Bernardo unopposed.
Sotto frequently decried the “culture of fear” at City Hall, saying that at the start of his campaign, residents wouldn’t even answer their doors, believing that even interacting with him might lead them to lose certain benefits.
But over the campaign, that began to change.
“People felt that No. 1, we have a serious candidate, and this guy might actually have a chance,” Sotto said.
“Years and years of pent-up frustration, it all came out.”