14 August 2007

The Albay-Cam Sur rivalry is back

JUST came from Legazpi City to attend a regular meeting of the Regional Development Council. It was one of the most attended meetings I saw this year, mainly because of the election of two government and private sector nominees for the positions of chair and co-chair.

Reelectionist Camarines Sur Gov. L-Ray Villafuerte had his way, overturning a new set of guidelines that originally seemed harmless, but from hindsight favored his only other rival, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda.

The new guidelines abandoned the usual open nomination in favor of a structured process calling for a nominee for each of the six Bicol provinces being pitted against each other. In case there are only two nominees, both will automatically get the same votes as every qualified voter needs to choose two otherwise his ballot will be spoiled.

When L-Ray, who obviously campaigned hard to secure another RDC term, saw through the ploy, he sought and secured a return to the old rules, eventually trouncing Salceda (who at one point walked out of the meeting, only to return later) by a huge margin--about 5:1, probably more, I think.

But still, their names, together with the two private sector reps (one of whom is Beda Priela of the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce), will be forwarded to President Arroyo who will make the final choice.

Let's see who among these Gloria boys will Malacañang bless. Or will history repeat itself with Ms. Arroyo choosing neither, opting instead for a private sector rep to chair the RDC,
as Cory did with former Albay Gov. Jose Estevez, Sr.? Abangan!

Clearly though, the Albay-Camarines Sur rivalry is back with a bang.