LEGAZPI CITY, 25-April-2013 (PNA) – Albay province has dropped two prominent Bicolano senatorial reelectionists from its “Magic 12” list in favor of non-Bicolano candidates, according to a survey done here.
Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda has admitted that based on a survey, the “Magic 12 list” include United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial bets JV Ejercito Estrada and Juan Miguel Zubiri in lieu of reelectionists Francis “Chiz” Escudero of Team PNoy and Gregorio Honasan, also of UNA.
Escudero and Honasan are both from Sorsogon.
Salceda, the ruling Liberal Party (LP) provincial leader, said the 12-0 pro-administration votes may not be achieved in the vote-rich Albay with 720,000 registered voters.
The governor said a survey he had commissioned showed that Team PNoy will likely get only 10, with the names of Zubiri and Estrada included in the Albay “Magic 12” survey.
But, according to Provincial Board Members Ramon Alsua and Ireneo Sales, both reelectionists, Salceda is not supporting Escudero and Honasan because the two prominent Bicolano senators allegedly have not extended support to Albay even during calamity sufferings.
A poster with the photos of Escudero and girlfriend Heart Evangelista circulated in Legazpi City, saying that “with Chiz’s P2 billion pork barrel this election period, he left nothing for Albay.”
Last week, a controversy surrounding a P100-million ongoing dredging project at the controversial Yawa river here surfaced, but Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) officials denied implementing it, for reason only known to them.
The contractor of the project, who claimed to be a political protégé of Escudero, admitted implementing the project under the Albay 2nd District Engineering.
The contractor told the media that he was wondering why DPWH officials had to hide the project, saying he had started the works as early as February yet.
Salceda said he knew of the Yawa dredging project being claimed by the contractor and credited to Escudero but said that dredging projects had been banned in Albay by the DPWH itself, citing the strong protest from the church in the past because of alleged corruption involved in dredging projects.
He gave assurance that Albay will deliver votes that will give 10 for Team PNoy and with Zubiri and Estrada completing the Albay “Magic 12.”
A source said that Estrada’s name was included in Salceda’s “Magic 12” allegedly because the son of former President Estrada was a favorite of Salceda’s mother, while Zubiri’s mother reportedly originated from the town of Libon in Albay.(PNA)