ALBAY, Philippines – With Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero having declared that he would run for vice president, it might be unlikely for Camarines Norte 3rd District Representative Leni Robredo to seek the same position in 2016.
This is according to the outspoken Albay Governor Joey Salceda, the regional chairman of the ruling Liberal Party (LP).
Bicolanos tend not to run against each other for national positions to preserve the almost solid vote that the region is known and courted for.
As of 2013, Commission on Elections records show that the Bicol region has 3.15 million registered voters. It is composed of 6 provinces: Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon.
“Chiz runs for VP of Grace Poe. That trumps Leni since it is not good for a Bicolano to fight another Bicolano unless there (sic) it involves game-changing reasons,” Salceda said in Facebook post late Thursday morning, September 17, right after Escudero declared his vice presidential bid at Club Filipino in San Juan, Metro Manila.
Salceda made the statement a day before Robredo admitted in a radio interview in Naga City that LP standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II had formally asked her to be his running mate. She said she will pray hard about it, primarily considering her 3 daughters’ opposition to the idea.
Escudero and Poe are running as independents, but are in talks with the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Escudero’s former party and the second biggest in the country.
Escudero was representative of the first district of Sorsogon for 9 years – a post previously held by his father – before he became senator. The congressional post is now held by the senator’s mother Evelina.
Robredo is on her first term as Camarines Sur congresswoman, holding the distinction of breaking the decades-long hold of the Villafuerte dynasty in her district. She was persuaded to run in 2013, a year after the death of her well-loved husband Jesse Robredo, who was a long-time mayor of Naga City before he was appointed local government secretary of the Aquino administration.
In February, when Leni Robredo was still being pushed to run for senator, she said she was having second thoughts about seeking a national post because it would mean practically handing the province back to the Villafuertes. (READ: Leni Robredo on 2016: ‘Slim chance’ for Senate bid)
The LP recently secured the support of 7 out of 15 incumbent mayors of Sorsogon, the home province of Escudero. (READ: Will it be Mar-Chiz in Sorsogon? How about Leni?)
Sorsogon, with its 425,000 voters as of 2013, is seen to be a problem area for LP in 2016 thus the party’s moves to consolidate forces there this early.
Camarines Sur has a bigger voting population, however, at more than 1 million. – Rappler.com