In mix of Bicol alliances, Chiz gets 2 govs’ backing
LEGAZPI CITY—Two governors and two candidates for governor of provinces in the Bicol region, which is considered to be a potent voting block for national candidates from there, are seen to be supporting the vice presidential candidacy of Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero aside from backing the presidential bid of Escudero’s running mate, Sen. Grace Poe.
But a consensus is far from being reached among the governors on whether to support Poe-Escudero or a different tandem.
What complicates matters is the fact that five of the six candidates for Vice President are from Bicol or have ties with the region—Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano (through his wife), Antonio Trillanes IV, Leni Robredo and Gregorio Honasan.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, in a press conference in Pili town, Camarines Sur province, on Monday, said he and Governors Edgardo Tallado of Camarines Norte province, Miguel Luis “Migz” Villafuerte of Camarines Sur and Raul Lee of Sorsogon province, including Catanduanes Vice Gov. Jose Teves Jr., who is running for governor, are united in ensuring Poe’s victory in their provinces.
Salceda said he would support Poe’s running mate, Escudero, who traces his roots to Sorsogon. Teves, in the press conference, also pledged support for Escudero.
“The President and the Vice President should be a team,” Salceda said.
“Therefore, since I choose Poe, then her Vice President is my Vice President,” Salceda told the Inquirer.
Villafuerte said he was supporting his province mate, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo of the administration Liberal Party (LP).
Tallado and Lee, who failed to attend the press conference on Monday, have yet to announce who they would support for Vice President.
Jovic Duran, spokesperson for the Lee family, said Lee had committed to back Escudero’s bid.
Duran said Lee’s son, Robert, the LP candidate for governor in Sorsogon, had been calling the shots because the elder Lee was ending his term.
Robert, in a text message on Tuesday, said he was supporting LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas. However, he is backing Escudero in the vice presidential race.
Last week, Salceda, a top LP leader in Bicol, bolted the administration party and announced his support for Poe. He said he would pursue his candidacy for representative of Albay province as an independent.
Former Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who is seeking to return to the Senate under LP, said he respected the decision of Salceda.
“I believe in democracy,” Pangilinan told the Inquirer on Tuesday.
Asked about the impact of Salceda’s departure from LP, Pangilinan said he was confident that the party’s machinery could deliver votes for the administration in Albay. Reports from Mar S. Arguelles and Juan Escandor Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon
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