Villafuerte pits Dato Arroyo vs son LRayBy Juan Escandor Jr.
Inquirer Southern Luzon
NAGA CITY—The rift between Camarines Sur third district Representative Luis R. Villafuerte Sr. (LRV) and son Gov. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte Jr. has widened with the former’s endorsement of Rep. Diosdado “Dato” Ignacio Arroyo’s re-election bid in the second district against son LRay, who plans to challenge Arroyo in the 2013 elections.
LRay, estranged from his father since the 2007 elections, also publicly clashed with his father as the governor vigorously opposed the move of LRV, Arroyo and Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. and Deputy Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella to split Camarines Sur into two provinces.
LRV publicly endorsed Arroyo on April 5 before a huge crowd in Barangay (village) Salingogon in Minalabac town, asking them to give the latter 98 percent of their votes.
Accompanied by Arroyo in his barangay visit that day, LRV described his son LRay as an “ingrate,” “paratomang (disrespectful, disobedient to the parents)” and an “embarrassment to the family” and discouraged the village crowd from voting for his son, that he said ironically is his junior.
He also asked the crowd not to support his grandson Miguel, the
23-year-old son of LRay whom the latter has been grooming to replace him as governor in 2013.
He announced that he would be making a comeback as governor of the province. Like outgoing governor LRay, LRV is also serving his last term as congressman of the third district.
LRay shrugged off LRV’s personal attack, but retorted that his downfall would also be that of his father.
LRay said he was sure to field his son Miguel, or Migz, in the gubernatorial election next year even if it brought him into direct political collision with his father.
With all the trimmings of a political rally, LRV on Thursday entertained the crowd with punch lines and by throwing apples for them to catch, his signature gimmick in campaign sorties.
He and Arroyo did a ceremonial distribution of their respective food packs to some ten families of the more than 500 households in the village.
Before the village crowd, Arroyo explained that despite the nonrelease of his Priority Development Assistance Fund, his constituents should not worry because he has other fund sources to continue his programs in the district.
But LRay twitted Arroyo, saying his barangay visit was nothing but meeting his leaders and playing basketball.
He said Arroyo had represented the district for over five years but it was only now that he was going around the district, calling the latter an absentee congressman who, as son of former President and now detained Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was handed the position on a “silver platter.”
Arroyo dismissed LRay’s claim, saying he has visited all the 189 barangays in the second district and has implemented projects in all of these villages since he took office in 2007. He said he was now focusing on house-to-house visits.