Santo Tomas, Pangasinan
Philippines' Block Voting Municipality
During the 2004 Philippine general election, in all the 34 precincts in the town, no one voted for the popular actor-turned-politician Fernando Poe, Jr.. Of the 6,737 registered voters in the town’s 10 barangays, 5,668 actually cast their votes in Monday’s polls but 5,470 voted for President Arroyo. Acting election officer Daniel Mendita said the rest opted to leave their ballots blank for president. Municipal Treasurer Julieta Alvarado said that voters here just wanted to show how much they support Mayor Antonio "Bebot" Villar Jr.
In 2001, when Villar supported fifth district Congressman Mark Cojuangco, the townsfolk also gave Cojuangco’s rivals zero vote.
Villar, who does not belong to any party said that he supported Mrs. Arroyo because he believes in her leadership. Asked what happened to Poe’s poll watchers, he said he had no poll watchers, no one is interested. Villar, founder of Biskeg na Pangasinan (Strength of Pangasinan), a powerful group of political leaders composed of mayors, vice mayors, board members, councilors and congressmen in the province, gave their all-out support to Mrs. Arroyo.
In 1986, Villar, who is already mayor of the town then, also gave zero vote for then presidential bet Corazon Aquino. Surprisingly, it was only Villar who was never replaced by an officer-in-charge during the massive reorganization that followed the first EDSA uprising.
Villar recalled that at that time, even nuns and foreign correspondents were around to strictly monitor the electoral process here.
He said, "You know what? The nuns said in chorus, ‘My God, it’s true. It’s really zero."
Just before Martial Law was declared, Villar, who was then only 24 years old, was elected as the town’s youngest mayor. He held the position until 1992. He was succeeded by his wife, Vivien, who served the town until 2001. He returned to his old post in 2001. All these years, the Villars ran unopposed.
Villar’s grandfather, Timoteo, and his father, Antonio, also served this town as mayor. The elder Villar was later elected as vice governor and congressman.
Villasis Mayor Nonato Abrenica said, "It’s no longer surprising. Manong Bebot can easily do that. You know how the people respect him"
Meanwhile, the incoming local officials in the town all ran unopposed. Vivien Villar got 5,204 votes while her vice mayor, Wilfredo Pescador, got 4,849 votes.
The elected councilors were Timoteo Villar III (4,929 votes), Lydia Manzano (3,665), Lita Judan (3, 622), Ely Ramos (3,533), Renato Casco (3,483), Gaudencio Ordoño Jr. (3,315), Donald Seismundo (3,229) and June Noces (3,217).
Meanwhile, fifth district board bember Dionisio Villar Jr., the mayor’s cousin, also ran unopposed and got 5,095 votes.
Santo Tomas is politically subdivided into 10 barangays.
- La Luna
- Poblacion East
- Poblacion West
- San Agustin
- San Antonio
- San Jose
- San Marcos
- Santo Domingo
- Santo Niño
- Philippine Standard Geographic Code
- 2000 Philippine Census Information
- Official Website of the Provincial Government of Pangasinan
- Pasyalan Pangasinan
- Pangasinan: Preservation and Revitalization of the Pangasinan Language and Literature
- Sunday Punch
- Sun Star Pangasinan
- Pangasinan Star Online
- Pangasinan Test Wikipedia