top of page

Rosal camp in Albay abandoned

By Manuel T. Ugalde

The politically charged atmosphere in Legazpi City, Albay, has been tumultuous due to the legal battles faced by former Albay Governor Noel Rosal and his wife, incumbent Mayor Geraldine Rosal.

Noel Rosal, who served as Legazpi City mayor for 20 years, was elected governor during the 2022 elections. His impressive track record as a city executive contributed to Legazpi’s outstanding status as a convention and tourist city.

However, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualified him from his post in October 2023 for violating the omnibus election code during the 2022 elections. His wife, Mayor Geraldine Rosal, faced a similar disqualification but received a status quo ante order reprieve from the Supreme Court.

The Comelec disqualified Governor Rosal based on a complaint from a defeated city council candidate, Joseph Almoguera. Almoguera accused Rosal of distributing charity funds during the election ban.

Mayor Geraldine Rosal also faced disqualification three months later.

Their subsequent appeal at the Comelec en banc did not yield favorable results, leading them to take the case to the Supreme Court.

Vice Governor Grex Lagman assumed the governorship by operation of law in November 2023.

Meanwhile, incumbent City Vice-Mayor Roberto Cristobal and defeated mayoral candidate, former Ako Bicol Party List Rep. Alfredo Garbin, vied for the city succession.

Pending resolution from the Supreme Court, an exodus of 10 city councilors surprised Legazpi City as they proclaimed joining the camp of the Ako Bicol Partylist.

The uncertainty surrounding the Rosal couple’s legal battle has significantly impacted the city’s political dynamics. As the 2025 election approaches, Legazpi City faces critical decisions about its future.

The Legazpi City Council comprises the following councilors: Alexander Jao, Renato Villadolid, Laurence Beltran, Ismael Buban, Glenn Casulla, Maria Paz Salud Imperial, Luis Felipe Gutierrez, Joseph Philip Lee, Roberto Rafael Lucila, Jose Gregorio Ojano, Milagros Bal, and John Nicolas Garbin. Notably, Councilor Garbin, who is the nephew of former AKB congressman Garbin, stands apart from the rest of the council members, who are prominently identified as Rosal supporters.

Laurence Beltran, for instance, is the son of a retired public works construction division chief, Godofredo Beltran. Allegedly, his career growth within the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was influenced by the late Engineer Eleuterio Rosal, the father of Governor Noel Rosal, who himself retired from DPWH as the construction division chief.

City Hall Executive Officer Sante Baltazar confirmed the exodus, but it’s worth noting that Councilors Alexander Jao and Renato Villadolid did not join the reported exodus. They await further political developments.


bottom of page