Is Bicol all set to vote Noynoy?

- Boo Chanco -

LEGASPI, Philippines  – Bicol went for a favorite son, the late Sen. Raul Roco, in the last two elections. But Albay by itself went for Ate Glue in the last presidential election, thanks to the work of Gov. Joey Salceda. This time around, with Joey’s turnaround from the Lakas candidate to Noynoy, will Albay follow him again and vote for his choice?

What is going for Noynoy in Bicol is the support of politicians who are known to be not only decent but of the type that the country needs badly in terms of genuine commitment to the people. Working for Noynoy in Camarines Sur is the Magsaysay Award winning Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo. In Albay, Gov. Joey Salceda has just thrown his support to Noynoy. In Sorsogon, Sen. Chiz Escudero is committed to make Noynoy win in his bailiwick.

Of course there is still Camarines Norte where former Budget Secretary Anadaya and of course Ate Glue’s son Dato reign supreme or so conventional wisdom here claims. But then again, I hear there are enough opposition forces in that part of Bicol to score an upset and they could well bring Noynoy along for the ride. Former Sen. Kit Tatad is from Catanduanes and he is supporting Erap. But who knows if Kit still has enough clout there to stem a tide of support for the Liberal Party bet.

Gov. Joey Salceda’s shift of allegiance to his former Ateneo classmate did not happen overnight. As he relates it, his change of heart happened over a long period since February. “I have seen the vigorous efforts of our common batch- Batch 81 of AdeMU especially Batch81 BSME to help our batchmate in his crusade.”

Joey distinctly remembers Noynoy as a seatmate in English class during his first year in Ateneo. “He struck me as being quite ordinary for a son of biggest political prisoner, a future martyr-hero and a future President.”

Joey relates how his political conversion happened: “Many of my friends in the Albay clergy (many of them my classmates in the seminary especially Fr. Jovic Lobrigo whose counsel and guidance I always seek) have also been slowly yet firmly guiding me towards this difficult (but not abrupt) political decision.”

Specifically, Joey will become the Bicol Regional Chairman of the Liberal Party. “My task is to make him win in Bicol on May 10, 2010. Noynoy, Mar and the LP leadership have agreed to respect my local amistades and all of my local commitments, whether for mayor, councilor or congressman. The only thing that changed is that I would now campaign for Noynoy for President.”

Joey explains that “in operating terms, this would mean that I will set up a parallel organization in Albay and the rest of Bicol that would not be tied up with local politics but merely dedicated to Noynoy for President. I intend to minimize the disruptions or realignments in the local political dynamics which my decision could trigger.”

Noynoy could sure use Joey’s help in this part of the country. If elections were won by the predominance of political billboards and posters, Gibo would be on top in this capital city of Albay. For a candidate who is supposed to be running unopposed, Joey Salceda’s green posters are all over town. Will those posters turn yellow soon?

In a sense, Joey’s heart was with the civil society personalities now active in Noynoy’s campaign. “Many of my social democratic kindred with whom I worked with under CAPM and Bandila during the dark days of 1983-1986 are all working for him- Chito Gascon, Butch Abad, Risa Hontiveros, Dinky Soliman. People I respected and became friends with in the Arroyo cabinet like Defense Secretary Nonong Cruz are also now with him. The only difference we had is that they gave up on PGMA.”

Joey said that he was more like fellow Bicolano Loida Nicolas Lewis, who also decided to stay on with Ate Glue even after her sister, Imelda, resigned as Ate Glue’s Anti-poverty czar with the Hyatt 10. Loida has since broken ranks with Ate Glue and as a Filipino American, is urging the US government to send election monitors here to ensure clean and honest elections.

Loida is very worried that computer failures will derail the elections and our hopes for change. She recently went the rounds of influential local leaders to urge them to put pressure on the Comelec to back to manual procedures and junk automated elections for May. She wouldn’t accept the reason that it is too late to turn back by saying that it makes no sense to proceed to have our heads chopped off by certain failure.

On working with Loida, Joey said: “I am happy to once again join Loida, whom always I looked up to, in this new journey to explore new horizons for Bicol.” Loida has invested in education by setting up Lewis College in her native Sorsogon.

Joey explained that he did not jump ship with the Hyatt 10 over the Garci scandal because he “believed that an incumbent who is provided correct policy has the capacity to do good and to do well- and, thus, prompt positive consequences in the lives of ordinary people Joey through the apparatus of the state and through the workings of the market economy.

Joey explained his decision to support Noynoy is also a product of intellectual analysis. “As an economist, I have been rigorously studying the differential impacts of the varying potential outcomes of the 2010 national elections. I have come to the preliminary conclusion that a new mandate under an Aquino presidency would have the highest statistical probability of triggering a significant increase in the investment rate from the current 15 percent while the domestic savings available to fund it stands at 30 percent. The public sector can only do so up to four percent of GDP. I estimate that an Aquino presidency would increase it instantly by eight percent of GDP or almost P642bn incremental private investments in the first eighteen months. This would create an additional 642,000 jobs on top of the organic capacity of the economy for jobs creation.”

Before he became a politician, Joey was one of the hottest young players in the local stock market during its boom years in the mid 90s. After making his pile, Joey looked for new fields to conquer and the public service bug bit him. His strong social conscience must have been a carryover from his seminarian days.

Since he entered politics, Joey has distinguished himself as one of the few leading political leaders today who has approached public service with the results orientation and strategic thinking required in he private business sector.

Because Gov. Joey is running for re-election in Albay unopposed, he will have the time and resources to campaign all out for Noynoy. The Governor fills in a gap in the organization of Noynoy for a credible economic adviser with grassroots political experience and the intellectual discipline to see through the various options available to fast track anti-poverty measures and national development goals.

I was kidding Gov Joey that mabuti na lang he bumped his head twice because as it turned out, the incidents bumped some sense into his head that breaking up with his Lola by the Pasig is the right thing to do. But make no mistake about it… Joey loves his Lola and I believe him when he says he is heartbroken to jump ship to the candidate his Lola least likes among the contenders to succeed her.

This is why Joey resents the public beating he is getting from some Lakas party leaders and Gary Olivar. “This is a democracy— everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect their decision to stay with the party,” Joey reacted.

He explained that “the awakening may have been slow and belated but going for Noynoy is my own opinion of love of country as his Presidency presents the best economic outcomes for the nation and for my province. Anyone can claim a better opinion but this is mine for which I will be held to account. I have crossed the Rubicon- it is time for Noynoy to conquer Rome. There is no turning back for this foot soldier.”

Pearly Gates

A PhilStar reader sent this one.

St Peter at the Pearly Gates when you know who and husband stroll up.

“Your names aren’t in the list. Let me check with the Boss,” St Peter says.

In God’s office he tells the Big Man about the couple. He tells St Peter to tell them to buzz off.

Five minutes later, St Peter was back in God’s office and says, “they’re gone.”

God asks, “The couple? Good.”


Boo Chanco’s e-mail address is [email protected]









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