LEGAZPI CITY --- For decades now, old names have dominated local politics in all 6 Bicol provinces. After the 2019 national and local elections, it seems like this trend will continue in the region.
In Albay, Governor Al Francis Bichara was reelected for a second term after he defeated his two political rivals, Vice Governor Harold Imperial and Hermogenes Alegre Jr.
Imperial, on his third term as vice governor, is Bichara’s godson. He ran under the Liberal Party (LP) chaired by Vice President Leni Robredo. Alegre, meanwhile, is the owner and station manager of Zagitsit News FM.
Bichara first served as Albay 3rd District representative in the mid-1990s before being elected as governor from 1995 until 2004. Then-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo later appointed him as envoy to Lebanon.
Bichara also served for 3 terms as Albay 2nd District representive, from 2007 to 2016, before switching places with former Albay governor Joey Salceda.
Salceda was reelected as Albay 2nd District representative. Salceda first served as lawmaker in Albay’s 3rd District before being elected as governor for 3 consecutive terms.
Salceda was officially proclaimed on Thursday, May 16, after his landslide victory over Gil Goyena.
LP stalwart and Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman was reelected after he defeated former political ally and outgoing Sto. Domingo Mayor Herbie Aguas.
Lagman first served as congressman of Albay’s 1st District from 1987 to 1998, and again from 2004 to 2013. He won again in the 2016 elections.
The Lagmans remain powerful, winning other local posts in this year’s elections. Lagman’s eldest daughter Krisel Lagman Luistro was reelected as mayor of Tabaco City, while his son, former congressman Grecon “Grex” Lagman, was elected as vice governor of Albay. Grecon was Bichara’s running mate.
Another old political guard who won in the May 13 elections is Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal. Rosal had served as mayor from 2001 to 2010. He was succeeded by his wife Geraldine, and after the latter finished one term, Rosal was again elected as mayor in 2013 and 2016.
Meanwhile, his brother Rolly was reelected as board member of Albay’s 2nd District.
In Masbate, the Khos retained their grip on key posts in the country’s so-called “Wild Wild West.”
Reelectionist Masbate Governor Antonio “Tony” Kho and his wife, son, and daughter won landslide victories over their opponents.
Kho, who ran under PDP-Laban, defeated his political rival, outgoing Masbate 3rd District Representative Scott Davies Lanete.
His wife, Elisa Kho, beat Masbate Vice Governor Jo Kristine “Kaye” Revil in the race for Masbate’s 2nd congressional district.
Their daughter, Olga Kho crushed Masbate 1st District Representative Maria Vida Bravo in the race for vice governor.
Former Cataingan Mayor Wilton Kho, Antonio’s eldest son, also won as 3rd District representative, defeating a veteran politician, former governor Rizalina Lanete.
Meanwhile, Bravo’s husband, former Masbate 1st District representative Narciso Bravo Jr regained his seat, beating reelectionist San Pascual Mayor Zacarina Lazaro.
Incumbent Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua dominated the gubernatorial race and won by a huge margin despite his suspension.
Cua defeated Catanduanes Representative Cesar Sarmiento, Fernando Chavez, and Marlon Suplig.
Cua expressed gratitude to his constituents for their overwhelming support despite the issues being thrown against him.
In the vice gubernatorial race, reelectionist Shirley Abundo won a landslide victory over Roderick Tapel and Emmanuel Rodulfo.
Meanwhile, in the Catanduanes congressional race, former governor Hector Sanchez won over former governor Araceli Wong, Jorge Sarmiento, and Joseph Santiago.
This year’s elections saw the end of the reign of the Lees in Sorsogon.
Governor Robert Rodrigueza Lee lost to Bernardita Ramos in the congressional race in Sorsogon’s 2nd District. She is the sister of outgoing Sorsogon 2nd District congressman Deogracias Ramos.
Ramos is the political ally of outgoing Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who was elected as Sorsogon governor.
Reelectionist Sorsogon City Mayor Sally Lee lost to Vice Governor Ester Hamor, another Escudero ally.
Lee conceded defeat and asked the people to support the new leaders in their province.
“It’s been a great honor serving all of you for the past 15 years of my life. I may not have pleased everyone, but I can humbly say that I did my best and did what I thought was best for the people,” she said in a statement.
Lee added: “All the programs that I started were from my heart. I hope and pray that we unite as one people and support the new leaders that we have. I will always be a mother to our beloved city and to you, Sorsoganons.”
Kristine Lee Balita, the governor’s older sister, lost to reelectionist Sorsogon 1st District Representative Evie “Nanay” Escudero.
The Escudero-Lee fight was the biggest political battle in Sorsogon history, following 48 years of political ties.
Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte
In Camarines Sur, Governor Miguel Villafuerte was reelected for a third term after he defeated his closest political rival, outgoing Camarines Sur 1st District Representative Rolando Andaya Jr.
Camarines Norte Governor Edgar Tallado was reelected after he defeated his political opponent Cathy Barcelona Reyes.