City of Malolos Mayor Gilbert Gatchalian (in plain blue polo shirt) and Victory Church Bulacan Pastor Eric Fernandez raise each other's hand as mayoralty and vice mayoralty running mates for the May 9 elections after a brief press conference on Friday. Photo by Anton Luis Catindig

CITY OF MALOLOS–Known for being “straight” in his leadership and “incorruptible” governance, the second term re-electionist mayor of this Bulacan capital city chooses a Born Again Christian pastor as his vice mayoralty running mate.

Mayor Gilbert “Bebong” Gatchalian raises the hand of Pastor Eric Fernandez, founder of 25,000 strong member Bulacan Victory Church. 

Both of them from National Unity Party (NUP) and  Gatchalian also being a member of Victory Church said in a press briefing during the start of the local campaign on Friday that he wanted his kind of government leader to thrive in the country and he is startting this in Malolos by choosing the leader of their church as the city’s vice mayor. 

Gatchalian has also been known to have not used and spent money in all his six bids since 2004 and won only through in kind donations by family members, friends and supporters. He first ran and won as city councilor in that year and was re-elected for his second term in 2007. He ran for vice mayoralty post in 2010 and successivey won until 2016. 

In his first mayoralty bid in 2019, Gachalian, a civil engineer used the P300,000 worth of in kind donations from family and friends for the food of the volunteers joining motorcades and rallies.

Garchalian believed that the no use of money he started in all his six candidacies already catapulted a game change in the country’s politics which should be emulated by many leaders.

The mayor also known by everyone to have refused so many good will, SOP’s and grease money in all the government projects and private investments in Malolos said the need of the people of Malolos were all provided by God and need not be sourced from elsewhere. 

“I tried my best to go against the flow. We have an open bidding, transparent leadership and financial records,” he said.

“Tinatanggihan po natin ang ano mang ibinibigay sa atin outside of our salary dahil ang mga pagpapala po ay hindi galing kung saan kundi galing sa Diyos”. 

Fernandez vowed to be the next soul in the city council who will also not take “SOP’s,  good will” or “grease money” and will also campaign this election without spending money and would only rely on donations.

Malolos with 51 barangays has 261,189 residents based on 2020 census.

“Ang gusto natin ay suportahan, palawigin at magtuloy-tuloy ang inumpisahan ni Mayor Bebong na hindi gumagasta pag election pero laging nananalo. Tapang, katapatan, kahandaan, kagalingan at takot sa Diyos ang lagi lamang baon at bala sa mga laban,” Fernandez said. 

“We need to provide food and water at least to our volunteers but all are in the spirit of bayanihan. Everything comes as contribution and donations. We also screen who are the sources of the food and the flyers to make sure we will not be indebted to people or groups who cannot join us in good governance,” he told NEWS CORE. 

He said Gatchalian’s more than a year proposed construction of the first ever Malolos City Hospital only materialized this year. He said politics caused the delay.  

“Kailangan talaga ni Mayor ng katuwang dahil nahihirapan siyang mag-isa,” he said.

Gatchalian groundbreak on March 18 the P30-million worth first ever Malolos City Hospital in the new Malolos City Hall grounds.

A housing project for the homeless residents is also underway to be constructed in Barangay Balayong.