LEGAZPI CITY, April 24 (PNA) -- Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said on Sunday Senator Grace Poe, Gobyernong may Puso (GP) presidential standard-bearer, has the support of the four Bicol mainland governors and a gubernatorial candidate in Catanduanes.
In a text message, Salceda said, “All Bicol mainland governors are now for Grace Poe.”
He said Governors Edgar Tallado of Camarines Norte, Migz Villafuerte of Camarines Sur and Raul Lee of Sorsogon have already expressed their support to Poe’s candidacy; while Catanduanes Vice Governor Bong Teves, who is running for the gubernatorial post, also has signified his support for Poe.
Salceda said he is still trying to negotiate with Masbate Gov. Vince Revil to support Poe.
He said the Bicol governors will meet on Monday in Daet, Camarines Norte to finalize their commitment of support to Poe.
Salceda bolted the Liberal Party (LP) and dumped presidential aspirant Mar Roxas for Poe on Friday.
“I am Governor Salceda and my president is Grace Poe,” he said, ending all wild rumors and speculations that he was about to jump ship and dump Roxas.
Salceda said in an emailed statement that he supports Poe because “she shares our values of authentic humanism, shares our goals of countryside development and national competitiveness and certainly her compassion will ensure that the impact will be shared by all.”
He said he believes that Poe would be the best leader of the country that would be a driving force that would bring prosperity to the countryside.
Meanwhile, the LP stalwarts in Albay said in a joint statement that they are not a bit troubled by the recent turnaround of Salceda, an LP provincial chairman, by dumping Roxas and expressing support for Poe.
Albay Rep. Fernando Gonzalez said in a phone interview that the LP in Albay stands solidly behind Roxas, adding that the party machinery in Albay will ensure that the administration candidates will win in the May 9 presidential elections.
Gonzalez said the LP members in Albay issued on Saturday a signed joint statement expressing their full and unquestionable support for Roxas.
The joint statement was signed by Gonzalez, former Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, who is running in place of his son Congressman Grex Lagman, the three city mayors -- Noel Rosal of Legazpi, Patricia Gonzalez-Alsua of Ligao and former representative and former Tabaco City mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro.
“Governor Joey Salceda’s decision is his own. The LP of the 1st district and 3rd district -- including the cities of Legazpi, Ligao and Tabaco -- stand solidly behind Mar Roxas who will have an overwhelming support in Albay,” the statement said.
"No one was surprised when Salceda bolted the LP and transferred his support to Poe as everybody expected him to somersault as usual," Lagman said in a separate emailed statement.
"He did this in 2010 against Lakas presidential candidate Gibo Teodoro and in 1998 against LAMMP vice presidential candidate Edgardo Angara before whom he took his oath of affiliation as a member of LAMMP," the veteran lawmaker from Albay’s first district said.
“Since we expected Salceda to abandon ship even without a crisis, the Liberal Party in Albay is ready to sail the Mar-Leni vessel victoriously ashore,” the known human rights and labor lawyer said.
The latest political defection of Salceda was premeditated since the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs), Lagman said.
He said Salceda fielded candidates in Albay under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) against LP bets in anticipation that the NPC would support Poe.
“In the First District of Albay, he put up an NPC congressional candidate against me, and in the municipalities of Bacacay and Tiwi, he fielded NPC candidates against the local LP aspirants. In Sto. Domingo, he enveigled the incumbent LP mayor to run under the NPC banner,” Lagman said.
"Salceda cannot cleanse himself of his chameleon brand of politics as he persists in his turncoat recidivism," he added.
Lagman's son, Albay Rep. Grex Lagman (LP, 1st District) said in a text message, “Salceda is a political turncoat. What else is new? He did a 180-degree turnaround in 2010 when he junked partymate Gibo Teodoro for PNoy.”
He said he was telling his partymates at LP as early as October last year that he would also eventually junk Mar Roxas, saying Salceda is a recidivist and most partymates at LP are not surprised.
The young Lagman said, “We can do better without Salceda.”
Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal said “with 50 percent of the voters from Albay’s 2nd district coming from this city, the party stands solidly behind Mar and he will win overwhelmingly in this city.” (PNA) SCS/FGS/MSA/CBD/PJN