Albay residents show support to ousted gov, mayor

Thousands of people trooped to the Albay capitol grounds in Legazpi City over the weekend to show their support for Albay Governor Noel Rosal and his wife, Legazpi City Mayor Geraldine Rosal, who have been ordered disqualified by the Commission on Elections for illegal use of campaign funds.

The rally was spearheaded by supporters of the ousted couple which also included Catholic priests from various towns and cities in the province.

Bishop Joel Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi City said the prayer rally was a manifestation of the people’s will, adding that the result of the past elections was not only a simple majority win but an “overwhelming majority” for the Rosal couple.

The rally was staged by more than 25,000 supporters at the Peñaranda Park.

“Let the will of the people prevail, and let’s go to work for a progressive Albay. The election is already done here. The people have already chosen their leaders so let’s stop politicking,” Baylon said.

“We have a role to perform because this has moral components. There are wrong and there are right, there are bad and there are also good, and there are also moral and immoral,” he added.

The ouster of the Albay governor and the Legazpi City mayor stemmed from a complaint filed by defeated Legazpi City candidate for councilor, Joseph Armogila.

The Comelec First Division disqualified Governor Rosal on 19 September while the Second Division issued the same decision against Mayor Rosal on 4 October for allegedly handing cash assistance inside the 45-day election ban.

“The entire community has expressed their support to the leaders they know who will serve them. Our governor here is doing his best to find solution to fight illegal quarrying, put up hospitals in some areas and make projects for the people,” said Baylon.

He added that the local officials will respect the law, but he is praying that the true justice will prevail for the benefit of the entire 469, 481 Filipinos who voted for Governor Rosal and his wife.

“My message to our political leaders is we will always respect the law, the law which stands for the truth, that respect and love the dignity of one another. There are many things that can cause us divided or may turn against one another. But the loser in the end will be the people of this land,” said Baylon.

Meantime, 70-year-old retired teacher Rose Ajero, who joined the rally, said they love the governor because of his great environment advocacy to limit the quarrying activities around Albay to prevent the catastrophe that happened way back 2006.

“The people of Albay doesn’t want a repeat of that tragic calamity in 2006 when typhoon Reming hits the town of Padang where many have perished because of illegal quarrying,” Ajero said. “We know the bad effect of illegal quarrying.”

“We know who are behind this issue and we’re asking them to just take care of their issues, the scandals they’ve been, because our governor and mayor here are working hard as true public servant,” she added.

The Rosal couple had filed motions for reconsiderations and would elevate the case to the Supreme Court, if necessary and stressed that they would continue to perform their functions pending the final resolutions of the cases.

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