President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has fulfilled an earlier promise after administering the oathtaking of this city’s elected officials on Tuesday evening.

Councilor-elect Joyleen Mercedes “Girlie” Balaba, a former TV personality and a known friend of Duterte, said the President promised during the campaign period that if she wins in the midterm elections, he will administer the oathtaking himself.

It was the former television journalist’s first try at politics where she topped the May 13 election results.

Based on the Commission on Elections’ final and official tally, Balaba garnered 74,568 votes, making her the number one city councilor in the second district.

Balaba belongs to the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Duterte’s political party, where re-elected Mayor Oscar Moreno is also a member.

“This is historic because this will be the first time for a President to swear in local elected officials outside of Malacañang,” she said, adding that it will also be a first for the city officials to be sworn in by the chief executive.

Duterte’s appearance, Balaba said, was an “indication that Cagayan de Oro is closer to the national government”.

She said it was Duterte who suggested that the oath-taking be held on June 12 as he has a prior engagement in Malabang, Lanao del Sur for the hoisting of the Philippine flag in time for the 121st Independence Day commemoration.

Taking the oath before Duterte were Moreno, Vice-Mayor Rainier Joaquin Uy, 1st District Rep. Rolando Uy, and 13 of the 16 city councilors–most of whom are incumbent officials.

Moreno said he was grateful that Duterte administered the swearing-in despite the President’s hectic schedule.

“We know how busy he is, we know how many [local government units] in the country who would want their oath to be administered by the president. But on this very special day, June 12, the president is here and we are grateful for that,” Moreno told reporters on the sideline of the oathtaking ceremony.

The mayor added that they have arranged another oathtaking on June 30, with former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. officiating.

Absent during the oathtaking were city councilors-elect Lordan Suan and Jocelyn Rodriguez, and 2nd District representative-elect Rufus Rodriguez.

Suan belongs to the Padayon Pilipino regional party, while the Rodriguezes are officers of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP).

City councilor-elect Zaldy Ocon’s absence in the ceremony was also noticed, although Moreno said the lawmaker has taken a low profile in the wake of the controversial spat between him and former mayor Reuben Canoy, whom the councilor allegedly berated in public view inside a hotel last week. (PNA)

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