Will command votes work for Noel Rosal in Albay’s gubernatorial race?

By Atty. Oliver Olaybal

Of the three congressional leaders in Albay, gubernatorial candidate Noel Rosal has the support of Joey Salceda and Nando Gonzalez of the second and third districts. Re-electionist governor Al Francis Bichara has the support of Edcel Lagman of the first district. As Rosal leaves Legazpi City for the provincial bout, he designates his wife as a placeholder, opposed by Bichara’s nominee.

Each of the second and third districts has more registered voters than the first. In 2019, Rosal entrusted his village chiefs in Legazpi City to Salceda who took his oath of office before them. That implied Salceda’s grooming of Rosal for the governorship. In turn, Rosal fielded someone to run against Bichara in 2019 to test the waters

Nando’s support for Rosal came to the fore recently in the small town of Pioduran. Of the 33 barangay captains, only 11 showed up at a gathering held for Bichara. That is ominous. Extrapolated, the ratio of the command structure in the third district is in the palm of Nando.

The second indication of Nando’s support for Rosal is the mellifluous FB birthday greeting he sent to Rosal today. Actually, a significant factor that incensed Nando is the candidacy of his compadre Ramon Alsua who opposes his bid for the mayorship of Ligao City. Alsua is the father-in-law of Nando’s niece who is the incumbent and outgoing mayor of Ligao City.

Nando strongly, and reasonably suspects that Bichara is behind Alsua. This changes the political narrative between Nando and Bichara, the two Spanish-speaking politicians in Albay. Which could affect the positioning of Albert, Bichara’s son who is running for councilor in Ligao City.

A very expensive contest between command votes and market votes now looms large. Bichara will never allow the trio (Salceda, Nando, and Rosal) to make mincemeat of his political savvy and experience, given how he defeated Carlos Imperial in his maiden run for Congress in the second district of Albay.

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