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‘Old guards’ dominate Albay politics

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(From left to right) Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara (PDP-Laban), 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda (PDP-Laban), and 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman (LP).

LEGAZPI CITY — Old guards continue to dominate local politics in Albay province as they hold on to their posts by emerging winners in last Monday’s elections.

Among them are Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara (PDP-Laban), 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda (PDP-Laban), and 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman (LP).

Bichara, once officially proclaimed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), would be on his second term as governor. His political career started in the late ’90s as he was elected congressman of the 3rd District of Albay, then as three-term governor until 2001, and had been a 2nd District congressman in 2007-2016.

Salceda, incumbent Albay 2nd District congressman, had a landslide win, garnering 164,482 votes against his rival Gil Goyena’s 9,185 votes.

Salceda, who is among the country’s top economists, was a three-term congressman of Albay’s 3rd District, then became three-term governor until 2016 and is currently on his second term as congressman of the province’s 2nd district.

During the incumbency of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Salceda also briefly served as her chief of staff.

Lagman, an LP stalwart, had been elected for a total of six terms as a member of the House of Representatives. He garnered 94,540 votes against his closest rival, incumbent Sto. Domingo town mayor Herbie Aguas (NPC), who received 76,639 votes.

Lagman ‘s daughter Krisel, on the other hand, is re-elected as Tabaco City mayor, while his son Grex, former 1st District representative, is set to be proclaimed as Albay vice governor after garnering 333,428 votes over his rival Alan Ranola, a businessman, who got 179,458 votes.

Another old political guard that won Monday’s election is Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal, who was re-elected with 68,667 votes over his rival Emmanuel Nabor’s 2,889.

Rosal held the city mayoral post for six terms while his wife, Geraldine, was elected city mayor for one term. Meanwhile, his brother, Rolly, was re-elected Board member of the 2nd District of the province.

In Catanduanes, despite his suspension, incumbent Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua hurdled the electoral race by winning with a big margin over his three political rivals.

Partial and unofficial count from the Comelec and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) as of 3 p.m. Tuesday showed Cua garnered 85,306 votes while his closest opponent, incumbent Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento (PDP-Laban) got 59,841 votes followed by Fernando Chavez with 1,212 votes and Marlon Suplig (Lakas) with only 1,184 votes.

Cua, in an interview, thanked his constituents for the overwhelming support he received from them despite the issues being slapped against him.

For the vice gubernatorial post, the electorate gave Sherley Abundo (PFP) a landslide victory, receiving 104,376 votes against Roderick Tapel (NPC) who garnered 10,999 votes followed by Emmanuel Rodulfor (Ind) with only 7,041 votes.

In the congressional race, former governor Hector Sanchez who runs as an independent candidate won in a close fight with his three rivals.

Sanchez bagged 56,638 votes, while former governor Araceli Wong (NP) got 44,204; Jorge Sarmiento (Kusog Bicolandia) got 40,774; and Joseph Santiago (NPC), only 5,600 votes.

Source: PNA

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