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As Election Fever Heats Up: Salceda vs Lagman

In Albay’s 2025 gubernatorial race

By Manuel T. Ugalde

LEGAZPI CITY – Albay congressman Joey Sarte Salceda this early, has indicated returning to the capitol as he openly endorsed Ako Bicol Party List congressman Elizaldy Co as his successor for the province second district, come 2025 election.

He discounted interest for the senate, a post he had dreamed but failed to try during the early 2010.

Salceda whose final term ends next year, is being missed in Albay over his 1 billion loan scholarship during his governorship early in 2010. The scholarship project covers a minimum four-year college course for at least one member of every family payable on installment when the beneficiary finished his course and gainfully employed. He is also remembered for strictly observing the zero casualty no matter what the cost, that in one incident, Albay spent P29 million for early evacuation of residents minus the expected typhoon, according to a Commission on Audit report.

In a recent meeting on April 30 with the Albay second district local executives at the Misibis Resort owned by Rep. Co in Bacacay town, Salceda openly reiterated his words for Co as his successor for the second district. Co is the chair of the congress powerful appropriation committee. He did not, however, mentioned what position he’s aspiring for the 2025 election, but his trusted political officer Pedro Encisa said Salceda has reached his final term in congress, hinting a strong possibility for governorship run.

Businessman-contractor Carlos “Caloy” Loria of Legazpi City, however, described Salceda endorsement of Co as his successor for the second district unworthy of trust, knowing his turncoat character as a politician who keep changing presidential bet even during the closer election period, citing the case of presidential bets Gilbert Teodora and Senator Grace Poe.

A campaign manager for Teodoro, Salceda bolted to then presidential bet Senator Noynoy Aquino two months before the 2010 election. During the 2016 election, Salceda abandoned President Aquino presidential bet Senator Mar Roxas, by switching support to Grace Poe 4 weeks before election.

Loria said Salceda is courting Co to be his successor for more infrastructure funding for his district, which usually made the second district topping in General Appropriation Act budget in Bicol yearly.

With Salceda plan to return to the capitol, it would certainly be a strong fight between him and the disqualified Gov. Noel Rosal, whose followers that catapulted him as governor remain intact, according to survey, said Loria. Rosal was disqualified by the Comelec when as a mayor of Legazpi he approved release, disbursement and distribution of funds for tricycle drivers and senior citizens during the 45-day election ban for the May 9, 2022 election. His victory as governor have been described as history in Albay for beating a strong sitting governor with a landslide margin of close to 500,000 votes, despite absence of money.

Albay voters in Legazpi City where Rosal wife Geraldine was candidate for mayor reportedly enjoyed cash votes of 8,000 pesos for the governor and mayor posts only.

It is certainly a big fight for governor between Salceda and Rosal, Loria said.

Loria himself has indicated his run for the 2nd district as allay of the disqualified Governor Rosal.

Loria’s virtually unknown figure in political exercise was credited for handling projects in Albay during the term of Gov. Fernando Gonzales (2004 – 2007), who controversially built road projects programmed at a low P5 million cost per kilometer against then prevailing cost on national roads at P10 to P12 million by the Department of Public Works and Highways. Loria was then Gonzales infrastructure coordinator. He boasted that road projects during the time of Gonzales at P5 million had same quality and life span of roads built by the DPWH.

Political observers claimed that the major issue for the 2025 election in Albay is the controversially corrupted 5-year operational Mayon Quarry operation that serve as source of gravel and sand to as far as Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, including the West Philippine Sea. If manage appropriately minus controversy, Mayon quarry could give billions in taxes for Albay.

A source hinted that Mayon Quarry is a big provocation for the gubernatorial post.

The Albay Mayon Mountaineers openly sought for stoppage of Mayon quarry to preserve the beauty of the world known perfect cone Mayon Volcano., citing the disturbing discovered massive diggings, excavations and hauling of gravel, rock and sand at the foot of Mayon almost a kilometer upper high from the volcano rivers bed.


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