LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 7 (PNA) -- Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda's open declaration that he will not run for any elective position to focus on the campaign for the presidency of Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas has drawn mixed reactions.
In doing so, Salceda explained, he wants to ensure the continuity of the Daang Matuwid governance of President Benigno Aquino III.
In a phone interview Friday, he confirmed that he indeed announced that he would no longer run for any elective post as he would spend more time in supporting the presidential bid of Roxas.
The Albay governor said members of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines met with Roxas, the Liberal Party presidential standard bearer on Tuesday at the Gloria Maris Greenhills.
Salceda, who is in his last term as Albay governor, said it was at the meeting that he told Roxas he was cancelling his plans to run for congressman in the 2nd District of Albay.
He said that during the farewell lunch with governors on Thursday, Roxas, in front of the gathering, reiterated his request to him, saying “full-time ka sa akin ha.”
The known climate change adaptation advocate said Roxas’ call was better than yielding to suggestions to run for a national office which, according to him, is a vicarious way, almost like running nationally.
Speculations circulated in Albay that Salceda had the prospect of either running for senator under the Roxas ticket or holding a cabinet position.
Salceda’s pronouncement not to seek for any elective post was taken by various sectors as a blessing and a welcome move for others.
Doubting Thomases claim it is a diversionary tactic.
When asked what his plans are and who will be his endorsement for the gubernatorial post in Albay, he said “as LP chairman I am allowing our party members in Albay to consult among themselves, given my disruptive exit.”
He, however, disclosed that the LP will initially be fielding in Masbate acting Governor Vicente Homer Revil for Masbate and for Catanduanes, it is Governor Araceli Wong.
“I welcome Governor Salceda’s option not to run for any elective post. If this is to give way to helping Mar in his bid for the presidency, this will surely be a shot in the arm to boost Mar’s chances,” Rep. Edsel “Grex” Lagman (LP, Albay 1st District) said.
He said Salceda’s active participation in Roxas' campaign will indubitably propel the latter to higher rankings in the next surveys.
“It is good that we have local officials who can also be a statesman when when it comes to ensuring continuity of “daang matuwid (straight path)”.
James Calisin, former vice governor of Albay and Salceda’s classmate at the Saint Gregory the Great Seminary, said he is for Salceda as DILG secretary.
Calisin said Salceda is the most qualified to the post because local governance is his cup of tea.
“It’s a timely and perfect blessing for him, Albay, the region and for the entire country,” he said.
“Albay’s loss will be enormous as there will be a leadership vacuum, what will happen to the Bicol International Airport and his Climate Change Adaptation Program,” an Albayano environmentalist said.
A local government executive said it is a gross mistake.
“He can run for congressman and, at the same time, help Mar in the campaign. I think his love for Albay is 100 percent; he will stay in the second district as congressional candidate although he is more qualified to hold national office,” he said.
Other reactions are: “It’s a wait and see” mode; it is so difficult to believe; can’t really believe his pronouncement; his track record in giving declaration is not so good; let us wait for the October deadline of filing of candidacy". (PNA) LAP/FGS/MSA/CBD/rsm