By Jason B. Neola
PILI, Camarines Sur --- Saying that only death can stop him from pursuing his gubernatorial run, 1st district Representative Rolando G. Andaya Jr. told a jampacked sports complex here early this week that it is all systems go for his plan to run for governor of Camarines Sur in 2019 polls.
The event’s atmosphere last Monday can be mistaken for a political rally being held traditionally during campaign periods in previous years when a crowd of more than a thousand people clapped and yelled erratically for a favorite candidate who visited the town along with his wife and an entourage of elective officials from different municipalities.
Andaya said that he made the announcement of his gubernatorial run at this early so that he can obtain more time to convey to the constituency the significant issues besetting the province today.
Although he is identified with PDP-Laban, which is the political party of President Rodrigo Duterte, Andaya told the assembly that he felt privileged and triumphant after he was able to get the approval of Vice President Leni Robredo to run for governor of the province.
In a press conference conducted immediately after he made his announcement to run for gubernatorial post in public, Andaya told local newsmen that his decision to throw his hat into the political ring would end the “proxy fight” for governorship.
It should be recalled that Andaya was among the political leaders in Camarines Sur who convinced Arne Fuentebella and Peachy Alfelor to run for gubernatorial and vice-gubernatorial posts, respectively, in 2010 against Migz Villafuerte, then a political neophyte. Villafuerte is the son of former governor, Luis Raymund ‘LRay’ Villafuerte and grandson of former 3rd District Rep. Luis R. Villafuerte.
“Sa totoo lang, haloy ko nang hinahalat an laban na ini. Pondohon ta na ang proxy fight kumbaga sa bulang si duwang parabotas nin manok, iyo na an tambudan sagkod magbaralbagan. Bako na idtong mga manok ninda kondi si duwang parabotas na kan mga manok an maglaban,” says Andaya.
Rep. Andaya said that there will be no problem with him, in fact, it would be better, if LRay Villafuerte will decide to run for the gubernatorial post instead of endorsing the reelection of his son Migz as governor in 2019 so that “I can be able to respond face-to-face and eye-to-eye with LRay on the issues he is raising against me.”
Malampaya fund scam
Villafuerte claimed that Andaya received a Metrobank check worth P10-million from Janet Lim Napoles with regards to the latter’s involvement in P900-million Malampaya fund scam. Andaya, however, challenged LRay Villafuerte to prove his (Andaya’s) involvement in the fund mess and to present his evidence or an authentic affidavit that will establish his claim about the P10-million.
Andaya said that he is willing to resign as congressman and give up his gubernatorial bid if Villafuerte could prove his accusation against him. “Alagad, pagnapasala ka diyan sa mga sinasabi mong iyan, paatrason mo gabos [na mga kandidato mo], maski ika, dae ka magdalagan. Dae ka nag aaram kan mga sinasabi mo,” Andaya said.
Villafuerte was also chided by Andaya after the first district congressman discovered that there are several infrastructure projects in the 5th and 1st districts of the province claimed by the provincial capitol as its own projects while there are incidents also that tells about certain projects in remote areas which were said to be undertaken and completed by the provincial capitol but are, in reality, not existing.
On LRay’s Outstanding Congressman for 2017 award, Andaya said that he was actually puzzled on why Villafuerte obtained such award where, in fact, he was slapped with a suspension order by the Sandiganbayan for 90-days as he faces a graft charge for the supposedly anomalous procurement of P20 million worth of petroleum products for the provincial government in 2010.
“Wherefore, the prosecution’s motion to suspend the accused Pendente Lite is hereby granted, and accused Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. is hereby directed to cease and desist from further performing and/or exercising the functions, duties and privileges of his position as Congressman of the Second District of Camarines Sur, or any other position he may now or hereafter be holding effective immediately upon receipt hereof and continuing for a period of 90 days,” the court said.
“Such happenings only show how hypocritical and dishonest they are,” says Andaya apparently referring to Gov. Migz Villafuerte and 2nd district Congressman LRay Villafuerte.
Andaya also informed local newsmen about the countless irregularities that are happening in the provincial capitol involving several millions of pesos in infrastructure projects and other expenditures. “Yaon po sako an mga ebedensiya kaiyan,” he said.