By JASON B. NEOLA
PILI, Camarines Sur --- Camarines Sur 1st District Representative Rolando Andaya Jr., who is touted to challenge the gubernatorial seat in the province of Camarines Sur, will officially announce his bid in the 2019 polls during a public gathering to be held next week in this premier province’s capital town.
Andaya’s plan to meet with his ward leaders and supporters, which will be held on March 5, 2018, was disclosed to Bicol Mail by his trusted aide and Camarines Sur Board Member Russel Bañes. “Congressman Andaya will finally announce his gubernatorial bid on that day in front of his political leaders and supporters from the five districts of Camarines Sur,” he said.
Bañes said that the gathering will be attended by elective officials from various municipalities and barangays, and heads of different women’s groups, along with representatives from the farmers, youth and religious sectors.
Also invited to witness the occasion are members of the local print and broadcast media whom Rep. Andaya will accommodate in a press briefing’s question-and-answer portion of the program. A medical-dental-optical mission also forms part the gathering.
While many say that Andaya’s gubernatorial run is too early to announce, others contend that, on the contrary it is a wise tactical move because what matters most is who gets the endorsement as official administration candidate. Andaya is identified with PDP-Laban, President Rodrigo Duterte’s political party.
“Such endorsement my not come too soon, but the body language from those in the circle of power will be too difficult to hide,” a political observer who is working with a local government unit in Camarines Sur said.
On his part, Bañes expressed his belief that it is Rep. Andaya who will get Malacañang’s “blessing” as he related to this reporter a situation that shows President Duterte’s preference for Andaya.
“That [situation] happened when the Office of the President issued Pili Mayor Bongalonta with an order that says ‘the
execution of Sangguniang Panlalawigan Decision dated 03 November 2017 to suspend Bongalonta for three (3) months is hereby stayed,’” Bañes said. Bongalonta is a political ally of Andaya.
Aside from Andaya’s gubernatorial run, it also came to the fore during the leaders’ consultation in Manila last week that the congressman’s wife, Marissa Mercado-Andaya will run for congresswoman as her husband’s successor while former Pasig City Mayor Maribel Andaya-Eusebio, his sister, will run for congresswoman in the 2nd district of the province.
Andaya’s camp, Bañes said, will eventually come up with a complete slate for the 2019 local elections in Camarines Sur.