By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
SORSOGON CITY, 18April2013 (BicolToday.com) – The heat is seething hot in Sorsogon’s volatile 1st district as old-timers cautiously monitor the emerging rift between two ladies who dominate the province’s mainstream politics.
This started after Mayoralty candidate Sally Lee, seeking the city’s top post, learned that Congressional bet Evie Escudero, mother of Senator Chiz Escudero, appeared in the campaign sorties of incumbent City Mayor Leovic Dioneda, Lee’s opponent.
Sally Lee is the wife of Governor Raul Lee and the opponent of Mayor Dioneda who is seeking another term in office. Relationships between the Lee’s and Dioneda’s have turned sour over the past months owing to politics, but both claimed “undying loyalties” to the Escudero’s.
Lately, despite the public pronouncement by Governor Lee in rallies that they are supporting the candidacy of Evie Escudero for Congress, reports say Sally Lee is feeling uncomfortable owing to the Escudero’s appearances in Mayor Dioneda’s campaign sorties.
The presence of Escudero at Dioneda’s political rallies is hard to swallow for Sally Lee, old-timers said. According to them, the Escudero’s are endorsing Dioneda’s candidacy.
Madame Lee was a two term city mayor and former governor, while Madame Escudero is the wife of the late Congressman Escudero, parents of Chiz.
Observers said Sally Lee in her rallies and house- to- house campaign is not mentioning Escudero’s name, and her troopers are whispering a different name as their congressional bet.
Proof of this was the campaign materials, earlier distributed by Lee’s camp featuring Evie Escudero’s name, are now being removed by Lee’s machinery.
The instruction to remove is in retaliation for the public snubbing received by Madame Lee, and the not-so- public admission by Evie Escudero that she is supporting the bid of incumbent mayor Leovic Dioneda to retake city hall.
People close to the Lees are edgy over this development. They considered the alleged acts of Evie Escudero as “betrayal of trust” which was hatched for political expediency. Lee’s supporters see them as “laying eggs in different baskets” in ensuring that Madame Escudero receive the much needed votes in the city.
Lately, Governor Lee, in an outburst, said that they will not be cowered by this strategy, he is ready to draw the line between their camps and the Escuderos not only in the city, but in the first congressional district, said grapevine reports.
As form of retaliation, Madame Lee’s group stops displaying the Escuderos campaign materials, and to pressure her governor-husband to cut ties with them.
Insiders at Lee’s camp revealed that Madame Escudero, trying to straighten things with Madame Lee, requested for a secret meeting at the Fulay residence, a blood relative of the Escuderos, but Madame Lee rejected the gesture.
Madame Lee was reported as saying that they (Escudero’s) must pay a visit to her residence, and not she to be dragged in an Escudero’s turf.
Sorsogon City comprises the 1st district, the rival mayoralty candidates tag as their bailiwicks. For Dioneda, it is widely speculated that Bacon district may carry him back to city hall, while Madame Lee gets her strength from the western and eastern part of the city. [BicolToday.com]