Getting a head start in Bicol race

By Oliver Samson

SORSOGON CITY—After losing to Governor Raul Lee in 2010, former 2nd district Rep. Jose Solis said the second round will be a sweet revenge.

“He cannot be too confident,” Solis said. “He is not the voter and it is not yet election day.”

Daniel Jazmine III, Lee’s chief of staff, scoffed at the claim of the challenger to put up a credible bid.

“He (Solis) cannot win,” Jazmine told Manila Standard. “His chance is too slim.”

Vladimir Frivaldo, provincial board member, of the Solius camp, shrugs off the fearless forecast as self-serving.

“They are in power and may have the advantage,” he said. “But only the people can certify that when the time to decide has come.”

Solis admitted that he was the campaign manager of Lee in the race against Vladimir’s father, the late Governor Juan Frivaldo in 1995.

Incumbent 2nd district Rep. Deogracias Ramos Jr. and other Lee confederates are keeping an open line, or so Solis claims.

“My kumpare (Ramos) will not support Lee,” he said in a phone interview. “Allies of Lee, including the people in capitol, are secretly talking to me.”

Frivaldo has confirmed the Ramos-Solis pact for the 2013 polls.

“Lee and Ramos were allies,” he said. “But not anymore because Lee is pushing (Bulan) ex-mayor (Guillermo) de Castro to run for Congress against Ramos.”

Jazmine said it was tough luck for the opposition more so with the LED alignment of Lee with the Escuderos composed of Senator Francis Escudero, 1st district Rep. Sonny Escudero, and Vice governor Antonio Escudero; and Deonida.

The coalition is too good to be true because Sorsogon City Mayor Leovic Dioneda had run against the Lees in past elections.

Jasmine said Lee’s leadership spanned decades of service which saw infrastructure and tourism development.

Not to be outdone, Frivaldo said his bet invested a lot in human resource.

“Solis gave priority to education by allotting millions of pesos for books, computers, school buildings, and day-care centers,” he said.

Historically, Lee’s stronghold is the first district which includes Sorsogon City with 78,000 registered voters in 2010.

Solis counts on second district that has Bulan, his hometown, Irosin and Gubat, combining with other localities to put up 44,000 registered voters.

Eyeing the Liberal Party, Solis ran under Kampi when Lee was elected governor in 2010 as bet of the Nacionalista Party.

Original article is posted on June 11, 2012.

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