[PHOTO -Albay Governor Joey Salceda. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO]

LEGAZPI CITY, OCTOBER 8, 2012 (INQUIRER) If there were any surprises on the last day of filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) in Southern Luzon it was the absence of challengers to some candidates.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, on his last term of office, is running unopposed as of the last day of filing of candidacies last Friday.

The same is true in the case of former Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal, who is running anew as mayor but with no challenger.

In a statement addressing himself to voters, Salceda said “winning is hard, thus (being) unopposed could only be the result of your support.”

Rosal, who is running anew as mayor, is the husband of Mayor Carmen Geraldine Rosal.


In Albay’s first district, lawyer Edcel “Grex” Lagman Jr., filed his COC as representative. He is a Quezon City councilor and the son of opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman, now on his last term in the same district.

Grex is the younger brother of Tabaco City Mayor Krisel Lagman Luistro. Krisel, a reelectionist on her last term, will face Marie Demetriou, wife of the late Tabaco City Mayor Alex Demetriou.

In the second district, reelectionist Rep. Al Francis Bichara of the Nationalista Party (NP) will be up against broadcast journalist Wally Magdato.


Former Solicitor General Anselmo Joel Cadiz, who withdrew his COC for representative of the third district in Camarines Sur, to give way to Leni Robredo, widow of former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, refiled his COC on Friday, but this time for governor of Camarines Sur under Liberal Party (LP).

Cadiz will be up against two Villafuertes—Rep. Luis R. Villafuerte of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and Miguel Villafuerte of NP. Miguel is Luis’ grandson.


In Tiaong, Quezon, businessman Ramon Preza, operator of the small town lottery (STL) in Laguna, is running for mayor.

Preza, 57, filed his COC under LP on Friday while his older brother Rolando, Tiaong’s vice mayor, did not seek reelection.

In a phone interview on Saturday, Preza said he is willing to give up his STL franchise to focus on his campaign.


In Los Baños town, Mayor Anthony “Ton” Genuino is up against former Mayor Cesar Perez, and Frank Lapis, another former mayor.

Genuino is the son of former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. Chair Ephraim Genuino, who has been charged with plunder.

In Marinduque, reelectionist Gov. Carmencita Reyes filed her COC under the LP. Maricar Cinco, Mar S. Arguelles, Romulo O. Ponte, Gerald Gene R. Querubin and Juan Escandor Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon

Robredo’s widow runs for Congress Leni yields to pressure; daughters cry By Juan Escandor Jr. Inquirer Southern Luzon 12:33 am | Saturday, October 6th, 2012

[PHOTO -LENI ROBREDO: I am not sure that my decision is wrong or right, because I only used my gut feel for this. ROMY HOMILLADA]

In the end, lawyer Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, widow of former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, yielded to pressure and filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) as representative of Camarines Sur’s third district.

“I am not sure that my decision is wrong or right, because I only used my gut feel for this,” Robredo said, adding that she expected people to criticize her decision to join the electoral race despite earlier pronouncements that she was not interested in any elective position.

Robredo said she decided to run to fight the political dynasty in the province and to maintain unity among the political supporters of her late husband who was Naga City mayor for 19 years.

Jesse Robredo and two others died in a plane crash in waters off Masbate City on Aug. 18.

His widow will be up against Camarines Sur board member Charina Ante and Nelly Villafuerte, wife of last-termer and Jesse Robredo’s uncle, Rep. Luis Villafuerte, whose clan has been politically dominant in the province since the American period.

Daughters cried

Robredo said her daughters Aika and Tricia cried and told her not to give in to the pressure when she told them of her unexpected decision to run.

“But I told them they can say that because they can’t see the importance (of my candidacy),” she said.

Robredo said she told her children that she had to balance personal interest with the interest of people who stood by her husband in the long years that he was mayor of Naga City.

Two other candidates for representative of Camarines Sur’s third district withdrew their COCs to give way to Robredo’s widow.

Naga City Vice Mayor Gabriel Bordado, who was earlier chosen by the Liberal Party as its nominee for representative over former Solicitor General Anselmo Joel Cadiz, withdrew his COC on Friday morning and asked Robredo to run instead, to preserve party unity in the province.

Cadiz, who had filed his COC on Wednesday as an independent candidate for the third district, also withdrew when Robredo decided to run for office, and was present when she filed her COC.

Robredo arrived at the Comelec office here on Friday at around 3:25 p.m. with daughter Jillian, Bordado, and other LP members.

Supporters’ march

Earlier that day, some 200 supporters of the late interior secretary marched to the Robredos’ home to prod his widow to run.

Robredo recalled telling her supporters: “Ang daya ninyo naman. Kung si Cory at P-Noy ay nakapag-retreat pa para makapag-isip, parang kayo binibigyan lang ako ninyo ng dalawang oras para makapag-decide. (You’re not being fair. You gave Cory [former President Corazon Aquino] and President Benigno Aquino III time to have a ‘retreat,’ but you’re giving me only two hours to decide).”

She added: “My children cannot understand why I have to be a candidate. Maybe if they see our supporters, they might understand why I have to run.”

Robredo said she believed that it is not only by entering politics she can help preserve the legacy of her husband.

“I’m doing this in honor of my husband because it was important to him that I take care of the ‘group’ he founded,” she said, referring to the people who stood by the late interior secretary through his six terms as Naga City mayor.

Against dynasties

She added that she is totally against political dynasties and in her fight against them, she will not turn her back on the people of Camarines Sur.

Butch Robredo, eldest brother to Jesse Robredo, said he pitied the Robredo daughters because they had expected a private life after their father’s death.

But he added that the family fully supported his sister in-law’s decision, and accepted it as “one continuing event” after Robredo’s death.

On Sept. 22, Leni was appointed chair of the Liberal Party in Camarines Sur, which was left vacant by the sudden death of the interior secretary.

Prior to this, the Judicial and Bar Council had short-listed Robredo for the position of Regional Trial Court judge in the Bicol Region.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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