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Gov. Egay vs. Rep. Reyes fight looms in Cam Norte

QUEZON CITY—“Walang itinatalagang Acting Chairman sa Liberal Party (LP) Camarines Norte ang LP National Headquarters,” Liberal Party Director General Cong. Josephine Ramirez-Sato declared in a meeting at the Sulo Hotel here Monday afternoon.

“Si Cong. Leni [Robredo] ang pansamantalang Interim Chairman habang pag-uusapan pa ang isyu kay Gob. Egay [Tallado] sa National Directorate,” Sato explained.

SHOWDOWN. Right: Camarines Norte Gov. Edgardo “Egay” Tallado, Left: Camarines Norte Rep. Catherine “Cathy” Barcelona-Reyes. The two top officials of said province are expected to be the major contenders in the forthcoming local polls for the position of governor.

The Director General was referring to rumors that due to the explusion of Gov. Tallado from the LP, Daet Mayor Tito Sarion had taken over the provincial leadership.

Sarion in an exclusive interview with BICOL STANDARD, however, clarified that he and his group have not been able to take oath during their recent visit to the LP National Headquarters.

“The purpose of our meeting with the LP national officials was to show that there are people to replace those who decided to take a mass leave from the party,” he clarified.

He added that they are considering setting a separate schedule for the oathtaking of the new party members, including new applicants Cathy Barcelona-Reyes and Jojo Unico.

This will likely happen before President Benigno Aquino III delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA), when Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas would also be available.

Reyes-Sarion tandem

“It seems that I will run for vice governor while Cong. Cathy Barcelona-Reyes will run for governor,” Sarion revealed to BICOL STANDARD.

Sarion, who was earlier declared “Persona Non Grata” by Tallado’s camp, is now also aligned with former Vice Gov. Jojo Unico, five board members, five incumbent town mayors, and other municipal town officials are also expected to join the Liberal Party.

The Daet mayor said there is also an ongoing negotiation with Cong. Elmer Panotes, who may also join the administration party.

According to an insider, the following political leaders are aligned with Cong. Cathy Barcelona-Reyes: Mayor Senandro Jalgalado of Capalonga, Mayor Romeo Moreno of Paracale, Mayor Dong Padilla of Jose Panganiban, Mayor Tito Sarion of Daet, Mayor Agnes Ang of Vinzons, Mayor Egay Ramores of San Lorenzo. Board Members Senen Jerez, Tess Malubay, Bong Quibral, Erwin Luasin, and Mike Canlas.

Tallado’s reaction

Meanwhile, Gov. Egay Tallado said he was actually vindicated when he got confirmation that Cong. Reyes, Mayor Sarion, and Unico went to the LP National Headquarters to formalize their party affiliation.

He expressed that he was not mistaken when he concluded that the visit to the town of Capalonga by Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Leni Robredo was programmed to oust him as the Provincial Party Chair.

During said visit, Sarion served as Robredo’s official escort.

For her part, Robredo made it clear in a radio interview last week that she does not want to intervene in the party’s internal controvery.

She said that apart from Sarion and Barcelona-Reyes, she is not very familiar with the other political leaders.

Mining-related?

In a related development, close political allies of Gov. Tallado disclosed to BICOL STANDARD that the recent developments in Camarines Norte politics are rooted in the interest of some LP national leaders in the mining business.

BICOL STANDARD’s source who requested not to be named pinpointed Caloocan Rep. Edgardo Erice, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Alfonso Umali, and several others.

“[Said LP leaders] were not accommodated to engage in mining operations in this province, which was why they wanted to kick out Tallado,” the informant said.

As of press time, BICOL STANDARD has not been able to contact the aforementioned LP officials for their reaction regarding the allegation.

Tallado to run as independent

Tallado, after his ouster as member of the Liberal Party, has declared that he is running as an independent in the forthcoming election.

His camp claims that it is a blessing in disguise that he is out of the party, because the development has given him freedom to concentrate on his re-election. He can no longer be bothered to campaign for Mar Roxas, who they see as a liability.

“We can now move on our own without spending time convincing people to vote for Roxas,” an insider from Tallado’s camp stated.

“[Roxas] is very difficult to sell to the people as a presidential candidate because he is perceived to be elite and difficult to get along with,” the insider added.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM With reports from Mahatma Gan

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