By Magno M. Guerrero
Sorsogon and Catanduanes, both land of gentle Bicolanos, presently hog national headlines.
Thanks to a congressman named Rolando Andaya who, ironically happens to be a Bicolano too, being the “deputado” of the district of Camarines Sur where a long stretch of Quirino Highway, all too familiar to highway travelers, is found.
For the sake of transparency, I am both a Sorsogonanon and a Catanduangon, the first by birth, the second by romance. And I love being both, and I love both places.
That is why I cannot help but ask what ate Andaya that he has now vented his ire on my two beloved provinces, linking them to what he cries about as irregularities in the national budget.
Well, if I am not mistaken, in the 2019 Budget, there is an allocation for an item named “Catanduanes – Camarines Sur Friendship Bridge.” If this is about a bridge, logically this will land in the Caramoan side of Camarines Sur, far far away from his district. Is this the source of his tantrum?
And speaking of Sorsogon, we have now virtually a “Sorsogon Expressway”, an all four lane boundary to boundary segment of the Maharlika Highway, completed under this present administration, made possible of course by the efforts of our incumbent congressmen for the first and second districts and our incumbent Senator Chiz Escudero.
Is Andaya envious of our “Sorsogon Expressway” since it puts to shame his Quiriino Highway which, every Bicolano and southern traveler knows is of low quality, always in state of disrepair, the cause of more than 2 hours delay in land trips between Manila and Naga and beyond? He had been the congressman of his district for more than 9 years, and a budget Secretary, yet the highway in his district, vital to the businessand lives of his co-Bicolanos remains to be a burdenon their part. As one Bicolano wag would say – An Quirino Highway magurang lang sa barangay road!” He will now leave Congress, has he no infrastructure legacy that he envies the those built on other districts?
Andaya rants about the 2019 Budget only now, after, with him as Majority Leader, Congress already submitted the same to the Senate. Wow. And only after it was found out that he inserted a 1.9 Billion allocation for his district. We should not begrudge him if that is the case. But why should he begrudge Sorsoganons and Catanduangons for the allocations they got?
I heard Senator Sotto over the radio that they are just laughing about the rants of Andaya. Just right. Maray pa ini si Senator Sotto ta maray an payo.
Andaya and Congressman Suarez have urged President Digong to fire Diokno for alleged lack of integrity. Wise as he is , the President knows, between them and Diokno, on whom to believe. The President, at this point, is just being polite to the congressmen. But they should not provoke him to the point where first, he will shit their balls out of their pants, and second, tell the people, “See, there is indeed a need for a revolutionary government – congress must be abolished.” The President knows – he was once a congressman.
Diokno is now coming out that the reason why Andaya is trying to make him a punching bag is that Andaya and his ilk wanted very much that he authorize the release of the ROAD BOARD FUND which has amounted to not less than 50 Billion. Andaya would perhaps explain to the Filipino people why.
In his rants, Andaya has tried to destroy the reputation of Casiguran Mayor Boboy Hamor and Sorsogon Vice Governor Ester Hamor – a demolition job the camp of their political rivals, the Lees, had been doing.
The wise Tip O’Neil, a retired U.S. politician is the author of the saying “all politics is local.”
I may be wrong, so I wish to be corrected in this theory of mine:
In Sorsogon, the Escuderos and Lees have already parted ways. The Escuderos have allied themselves with the Hamors and Congressman Ramos of the second district. Andaya is allied with former President, now Congressman Arroyo. Chiz Escudero is anti-Arroyo, a rabid one, if we recall his campaign work for the late Fernando Poe Jr. The Lees are loyal to the bone to Arroyo. In the first congressional district, the Lees have pitted a Lee daughter against Chiz’s Mother Evelyn. In the second, the Lees have pitted a Lee son against the bet of Ramos. In Sorsogon City, it is a Lee wife pitted against Ester Hamor.
Recall that among the Lees one has been convicted by the Sandiganbayan for corruption. If I am not mistaken, the case is related to the “FERTILIZER SCAM” which took place during the incumbency of then President Arroyo, with the well known Joc-Joc Bolante, an Arroyo appointee, linked to it. The Lees are now politically threatened. No one in Sorsogon who is of political consequence could still help them the way an Arroyo could do. And what a help it would be the if the demolition job would come from a national office called congress. Arroyo has all the reason to help the Lees. The conviction of a Lee in the Fertilizer Scam is Arroyo’s “cargo de conciencia”, so to speak, after all, the procurement of questionable fertilizers came from the top, not from the convicted Lee. This Lee must have just accommodated somebody close to Arroyo but now has ended as a convict. The Lees therefore have all the reason to collect from the source of their political misery. Had they been accommodated?
Andaya will not stop trying Diokno and the Hamors in a trial by publicity. For as long as it will, to his mind, help in his bid as governor of Camarines Sur, he will pounce on them.
Andaya has set a Public Hearing on January 3, 2019, on the alleged anomalies in the 2018 infrastructure projects in Sorsogon and Catanduanes, in of all places, Naga City, He knows he will have an extensive local media mileage. In the end, he may that Diokno, Boboy Hamor and Ester Hamor are bad, and he is not. I know who among them are not.
But Commissioner Jimenez of the Presidential Commission Against Graft and Corruption (PAGC), and of the VACC, a true blue, native son of Camarines Sur like Andaya, may know who is.
In Sorsogon, after the “Sorsogon Expessway” has been built, we expect that the government will build more and better farm to market roads, the more it does, the more the agricultural economy therein will prosper – a situation not made possible with the long entrenched Lee Dynasty despite billions of loans the provincial and city governments are now saddled. Boboy Hamor, Ester Hamor, Chiz Escudero will deliver the right rural infrastructure to Sorsogon. The Escudero-Hamor Team has the track record to back this up. If it will help Sorsogon that Diokno is the incumbent DBM Secretary, so be it. What matters is that local production is improved.
Andaya has been a DBM Secretary. Is he now saying that he did not help Camarines Sur while he served as such. If this is the case, maray pa si Diokno, na maski bako Bicolano, nakatabang sa Bicolano. Si Andaya na Bicolano, dai?
Andaya seems to have indigestion that Diokono’s daughter is married to a son of Ester Hamor. Well, his relationship to the Vice Governor is only by affinity, not by blood. What Andaya does not tell the public is that he also has very close ties to a political clan – the Eusebios of Pasig – his sister being married to a prominent politician member thereof!
Come on Rolando, Andaya mo!