He?s barely out of college, but the 18-year-old grandson of Rep. Eduardo ?Eddie? Gullas of Cebu?s 1st district has just made history as the youngest councilor ever elected into office in the Philippines.
Eduardo ?Digul? Gullas III, a second year engineering student at the University of San Carlos, was elected number one councilor of Talisay City after topping the race for seats in the City Council.
Digul, who turned 18 on Oct. 10 last year, garnered 38,437 votes.
He is the son of Gerald Anthony Gullas, only child of Representative Gullas, who has been in politics since the Marcos years.
The previous record was held by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, born in October 1970, who was elected number one councilor of the municipality of Taguig in 1992 at the age of 21.
?I will focus on education and sports for young ones,? Digul told CEBU DAILY NEWS after he was proclaimed winner.
Wearing a blue polo and denim pants, Digul accompanied his congressman-grandfather whom he calls ?Papa Eddie? during the proclamation of the winning candidates in Cebu province.
Digul was followed by Rodolfo Cabigas who got 37,112 votes. Also elected councilors were Valeriano Ylanan with 35, 371, Richard Francis Aznar, 35,313; Celiapo Cabuenas, 31,863; Berbard Odilao,31398; Danilo Caballero, 31,290; Romeo Villarante, 30,988; and Edward Alesna, 28,120..
Spectators, who jampacked the Capitol Social Hall during the proclamation on Wednesday, were shocked and could not believe the boyish Digul won and topped the council race in Talisay City.
?I can't believe he got majority votes at his age,? said a supporter of other winning candidates.
On Tuesday in Talisay City, Digul could have been mistaken for a spectator when he and other winning candidates went to the Talisay City Hall.
He slowly walked unnoticed to the canvassing area. When he entered the room, his mostly young supporters went ecstatic and began chanting ?Digul.?
Digul kept smiling while thanking his supporters.
Congressman Gullas recalled that he had first tried to convince Digul's elder brother Samsam to run for councilor but he declined, saying he was not ready to enter politics.
It was young Digul who volunteered to run instead.
?He asked me if he could run at the age of 18,? said Gullas.
Gullas said he then consulted constitutional lawyers to check and took it from there.
Commenting on his victory, Digul said his election proved that voters don?t just choose older politicians.
?My supporters are not only young but also elder residents of Talisay City because they believe that I can do my best,? said Digul.
When asked what helped him win, he said: ?It?s because of my objective to serve the people of Talisay.? He admitted that his Papa Eddie also contributed a lot.
In the first three days of the campaign, Digul was overcome by stage fright. His knees were shaking.
?Nagkurog siya pag estorya niya atubangan sa mga tawo (He was trembling while speaking in front of people),? Gullas said.
On the fourth day, Digul?s impromptu speech improved.
Digul said he encountered this difficuly three times in the campaign but gradually overcame it in the days leading to the election on May 10.
During the campaign, voters would ask him if he could deliver public services.
He would reply: ?I'll try the best that I can.?
As no. 1 councilor he becomes the presiding officer in the absence of the vice mayor during the council?s session. To this, Digul had the same response:? I'll try my best.?
Digul ran under the Nacionalista Party of Sen. Manny Villar, who was endorsed and supported by the Alayon party of Congressman Gullas.
Gullas, a former Cebu governor who served during the Marcos administration, won by a landslide against his opponents for the congressional seat in Cebu?s 1st district last May 10.