Albay governor faces probe for hosting UNA candidates after polls—LP

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Albay Governor Joey Salceda. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—President Aquino may have accepted his explanation for hosting opposition candidates campaigning in his turf but Albay Gov. Joey Salceda may still be investigated by the Liberal Party.

Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento, the secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Party, Sarmiento said that the outcome of the election in the Bicol Region, particularly in Albay, would serve as a barometer of the LP’s regional leader commitment to its candidates.

“At this point, it is unfair to judge Governor Salceda on the basis of reports that he was with UNA during their sortie in Albay. We don’t know the circumstances that led to this situation, assuming the reports are true,” Sarmiento said in a statement.

“As you well know, there are a lot of political intrigues during the election period,” he added.

Sarmiento said any investigation against the LP’s regional leader in Bicol would have to wait after the elections on May 13.

“There is a right time and right place for this investigation. This issue should not divert our focus in our bid to dominate the 2013 elections, not just the senatorial race but in all levels. Any probe of Governor Salceda will have to wait until the election is over,” Sarmiento said.

LP remains confident that Salceda will deliver the votes for Team PNOY senatorial candidates in the Bicol region and this would be ascertained once the ballots are counted and the winners are finally declared, according to Sarmiento.

“Our focus now is to ensure that we will win big in all levels. President Aquino needs all the help he can get to ensure that the tremendous economic gains that our country has achieved in past three years will start to trickle down to our poor people,” Sarmiento said.

Sarmiento said the LP leadership will certainly take up the matter of Salceda’s actuations around UNA leaders and candidates in Albay “to determine if there is even a basis to conduct an investigation about the incident.”

Salceda’s being with UNA stalwart Vice President Jejomar Binay and UNA candidates Jack Enrile and Nancy Binay when they campaigned in Albay quite recently didn’t sit well with Team PNoy candidates Risa Hontiveros, Ramon Magsaysay, Jr., and Jamby Madrigal.

The three have been the tail-enders among the members of the Team PNoy ticket that has otherwise dominated the pre-election surveys since the campaign period started in February.

Magsaysay sought an explanation from Salceda, saying what he did was “not nice.”

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