Why rock the boat when it is sailing smoothly? A political science professor says this is not a good time for the opposition in Albay to compete with some incumbent candidates whose economic achievements are already “smoothly sailing” and have found themselves running without opponents.
Professor Alexander de Guzman of Bicol University believes organizing an opposition is difficult because the people are not “disgruntled” with the administration.
He cites the case of Gov. Joey Salceda, the lone candidate for provincial chief executive. “Any politician in his right mind would not dare go against Salceda …,” he says.
The opposition, De Guzman says, may not offer voters a “better alternative.”
“If you are a little bit satisfied [with the administration], why rock the boat when the boat is smoothly sailing?” he says.
Also unopposed are Noel Rosal, a former mayor of Legazpi City who is reclaiming the seat held by his wife Carmen Geraldine, and his running mate, reelectionist Vice Mayor Vittorio “Bitoy” Roces. Rosal, the current city administrator, served as mayor for three straight terms before he fielded his wife in 2010.
But unlike his wife who ran under the Lakas-Kampi coalition in the 2010 polls, Rosal is now allied with the Liberal Party (LP). He used to be a member of the Lakas-CMD coalition before he switched to LP.
De Guzman says Rosal’s projects are “highly visible” to the public.
Salceda, who is acknowledged for his keen acumen in managing human resources, as well as the financial capacities of the province, has projects which are evident in each municipality.
“When it comes to money, Salceda thinks in terms of dollars,” De Guzman says.
In March, the Department of the Interior and Local Government presented to Albay the 2012 Gawad Pamana ng Lahi Award, a “seal of good housekeeping” given to a local government unit for three years of consistent performance.
The first province to win the award, Albay bested 79 other provinces in the country because of its innovative programs in education, health and the environment.
Salceda, a management engineering graduate from Ateneo de Manila University, was a student of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and a college classmate of President Aquino. He briefly served as Malacañang chief of staff during the Arroyo administration.
Before he became governor, Salceda served as representative of Albay’s third district for three terms.
Having received awards in the field of financial markets research, he has brought along a rich experience in the field of economics when he entered public office.
In 2010, Salceda left the Lakas-Kampi-CMD during the Arroyo administration and joined the LP. He became the party’s regional chair for Bicol.
Only one vote needed
Elsewhere in Albay and the rest of southern Luzon, similarly “fortunate” candidates are running unopposed and need only one vote to seal their victories.
They included Mayor Jorem Arcangel (LP) and Vice Mayor Jose Nobleza Jr. (LP) of Jovellar town; Vice Mayors Wilfredo Maronilla (LP) of Libon town; Raul Lim (LP) of Polangui town, and Reynaldo Bragais (LP) of Tabaco City, all in Albay;
Catanduanes Vice Gov. Jose Teves Jr. (Lakas-CMD), Vice Mayor Joselito Alberto (LP) of Bato town; and Mayor Robert Fernandez (LP) of Panganiban town;
Mayor Ruel Velarde (NPC) and Vice Mayor June Barrion (NPC) of Tinambac town in Camarines Sur; and Vice Mayors Henry Ragodon (Nationalist People’s Coalition) of Canaman town, Ramiro Felipe Fortuna (Nacionalista Party) of Nabua town, Thaddeus Ramos (LP) of Ragay town and Evelio Peña (NPC) of San Jose town, all in Camarines Sur;
Mayor Edgar Condor (NPC) and Vice Mayor Ramon Abinuman (LP) of Cawayan town in Masbate; Mayor Percival Castillo (Lakas-CMD) of Mobo town, also in Masbate;
Mayor Olivia Bermillo (NPC) of Castilla town in Sorsogon; Mayor Enrico Alvarez (NP) of Noveleta town in Cavite; Mayor Jose Ricafrente Jr. (Ind.) and Vice Mayor Jose Voltaire Ricafrente (Independent) of Rosario town; and Mayor Melandres de Sagun (United Nationalist Alliance) and Vice Mayor Alexander Lubigan (UNA) of Trece Martires City, all in Cavite.
Mayor Bruno Ramos (Ind.) abd Vice Mayor Soriano Escuete (Ind.) of Bay town and Vice Mayor Allan Jun Sanchez (UNA) of Calauan town, both in Laguna;
Mayor Leovino Hidalgo (LP) and Vice Mayor Wilson Maralit (LP) of Balete town in Batangas; Vice Mayors Renato Perez (LP) of Lobo town and Octavio Antonio Marasigan (NPC) of San Juan town; Mayor Carlito Reyes (LP) and Vice Mayor Cristeta Reyes (LP) of Malvar town; Mayor Victor Portugal Jr (NPC) and Vice Mayor Grande Gutierrez (NPC) of Taysan town; Mayor Lauro Alvarez (LP) and Vice Mayor Danilo Datingaling (LP) of Tingloy town, all in Batangas;
Mayor Maria Remedios Rivera (NUP) and Vice Mayor Myrna Villamater (NUP) of Buenavista town in Quezon; Vice Mayor Alfred Rigor Mitra (NUP) of Panukulan town; Mayor Sergio Emprese (NUP) of San Andres town; Mayor Eleanor Allen Uy (NUP) and Vice Mayor Raymond Medenilla (NUP) of San Narciso town, all in Quezon;
Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr. (LP), Vice Gov. Humerlito Dolor (LP) and Rep. Reynaldo Umali (LP) of the second district; Vice Mayor Ernesto Torreliza (Lakas-CMD) of Santa Cruz town in Occidental Mindoro;
Mayor Russel Madrigal (NUP) and Vice Mayor Montano Saguid (LP) of Buenavista town; Mayor Hercules Umali (LP) and Vice Mayor Alfonso Montalbo (LP) of Bongabong town; and Mayor Rolando Arreola (LP) and Vice Mayor Marvin Umbao (LP) of Socorro town, all in Marinduque;
Mayors Fabella Robert (NPC) of Calatrava town and Limuel Cipriano (LP) of Concepcion, both in Romblon; and Vice Mayors Cesario Benedito Jr. (NPC) of Brooke’s Point and Patricia Hilao (NUP) of Culion town, both in Palawan. With reports from Maricar Cinco, Marrah Erika Lesaba, Romulo Ponte, Delfin Mallari Jr., Mar Arguelles, Fernan Gianan, Juan Escandor Jr., Jonas Cabiles Soltes, Redempto Anda and Madonna Virola