LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Albay Vice Governor Harold Imperial will challenge his ninong (godfather), reelectionist Governor Al Francis Bichara, in the May 2019 polls.
Imperial, on his 3rd term as vice governor, is a member of the Liberal Party (LP), while Bichara is with the Duterte administration-allied Nacionalista Party. The two had been observed enjoying a father-and-son relationship for decades, perhaps until Imperial declared his intention to become the next Albay governor.
Imperial said he was trying to consolidate the LP members in Albay to bolster his bid. Many LP members, however, had jumped ship to the ruling PDP-Laban, particularly in the 3rd district, where both Imperial and Bichara hail from.
Imperial is from Polangui town while Bichara is from Ligao City.
Imperial’s bid for governor is expected to turn up the heat in the gubernatorial race. In the last election, Bichara won with over 420,000 votes against independent candidates. The second placer in that race got only over 16,000 votes.
In 2013, then-reelectionist Albay goverrnor Joey Salceda ran unopposed.
The Vice Governor comes from a prominent family and a long line of politicians. His late uncle, Felix Imperial Jr, was Albay’s longest-serving governor.
Another interesting political fight in the province is the congressional race in the 1st district, where Mayor Herbie Aguas will run against his close political ally, incumbent Representative Edcel Lagman.
Another Lagman political ally, Provincial Board Member Rey Bragais, will run against reelectionist Mayor Krisel Lagman Luistro in Tabaco City. – Rappler.com
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