Lakas-Kampi-CMD officially reinstated Bohol Governor Erico Aumentado

Lakas-Kampi-CMD officially reinstated Bohol Governor Erico Aumentado as candidate for congressman in the second district and revoked the Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) of Trinidad Mayor Judith Cajes, wife of third-termer Second District Representative Roberto Cajes.

      A letter from the national directorate of the ruling party dated December 4, 2009 reached the provincial office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on November 9 through LBC, affirming Aumentado's CONA and revoking Mayor Cajes'.

      Copies of the communication were also furnished to Aumentado, Mayor Cajes and the Law Department of Comelec head office.

      This time, it's signed by Lakas-Kampi CMD president, Sarangani Governor Miguel Rene Dominguez, and Lakas-Kampi CMD Secretary-General Francis Xavier Manglapus.

      This resolved the issue between Aumentado and Mayor Cajes as to who holds the valid CONA for the congressional slot in the second district.

      The conflict among local stalwarts of the ruling party sparked when Mayor Cajes filed her certificate of candidacy for the congressional seat in the second district barely half an hour before midnight of December 1 with a CONA issued based on the revocation of Aumentado's, following alleged information from the party's "intelligence network" that showed the governor's disloyalty to the party.

      Aside from proving his loyalty to the party, Aumentado also questioned the validity of the communication that revoked his CONA.

      Moreover, the party's letter to the provincial election supervisor dated December 1, 2009 which affirmed Mayor Cajes' CONA and revoked Aumentado's was signed only by Manglapus and party deputy secretary-general Raymundo Roquero. The governor asserted that the party rules require the signatures of both the party president and the party secretary-general in the candidates' CONA.

      Aumentado also questioned why the letter only mentioned the affirmation of Cajes' CONA and revocation of his, without mentioning the reasons for the supposed revocation.

      The December 4 communication stated that the party reinstates Aumentado as its official candidate for the second district congressional race with CONA no. 22565.

      The communication hereby revoked the CONA with serial no. 22522 issued for the supposed candidacy of Mayor Cajes in the second district congressional race.

      Aumentado explained that the new communication is an official document that attests he is the "solo" candidate of Lakas-Kampi CMD for congressman in the second district.

      He explained that it also retroacts the CONA's validity to the date it was issued and filed before the Comelec.

      The governor added that the national directorate of Lakas-Kampi CMD came up with the decision after he appealed for the reversal of his CONA's revocation, citing a malicious ploy designed by some partymates in the local chapter.

      As Aumentado questioned the validity of the communication revoking his CONA, he pointed out that under the regulations of Lakas-Kampi CMD, only the party president and party secretary-general can sign the CONA.

      In his case, the governor explained that his CONA was signed on November 18 by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Gabriel Claudio who were then the party president and secretary-general, respectively.

      It was during the national convention on November 19 that Ermita quit as party president and replaced by former deputy secretary-general Manglapus, while Governor Dominguez of Sarangani assumed Claudio's post as secretary-general.

      The CONA of Mayor Cajes dated November 30, 2009 was then signed by Dominguez and Claudio, though its serial number came prior to Aumentado's.

      Hours after Aumentado filed his certificate of candidacy, Cajes followed suit at around 11:40 pm of December 1 with the assumption that the party had already revoked the governor's CONA based on the communication, also dated December 1, 2009, signed by Manglapuz and Roquero.

      Aside from this account, Aumentado also cited "treachery of the highest order" on the part of some partymates.

      In the December 11 episode of his weekly radio program, The Governor Reports, Aumentado expressed gratitude to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Lakas-Kampi-CMD vice president for membership Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr. for giving him "justice".

      Meanwhile, Provincial Board Member and Liga ng mga barangay president Concepcion Lim conceded to the original offer of the local hierarchy to field her to the vice gubernatorial race in tandem with First District Representative Edgar Chatto and filed her COC few minutes after Third District Representative Adam Relsom Jala withdrew his at around 8:30 am on December 14 citing "personal and family" reasons.

      Jala had already decided to quit politics earlier, but came back to the picture as an eleventh-hour pick of the party when Lim decided to back out.

      Lim's back-out opted the local arms of the ruling party to field Jala who came to the Comelec provincial office a few minutes before midnight- -clad in shirt, shorts and slippers- -to file his COC as vice gubernatorial bet of Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

      But right after filing his COC, Jala explained he was just complying party orders and hinted there would be changes as he never wanted to clash against his uncle- -retired provincial schools division superintendent Elpidio Jala- -who is running as vice governor of actor-director Cesar Montano under the Liberal Party.

      According to Aumentado, Lim dropped by his residence at around 11 pm before proceeding to the Comelec office that night to inform that Chatto and former governor Rene Relampagos- -the party's candidate for congressman in the first district- -had been convincing her to run for vice governor and that her CONA was already at the provincial Comelec office.

      Aumentado said he advised Lim to ignore the offer, saying Representative Cajes- -who was the original pick for vice governor- -might use it as a reason to field his wife, Mayor Cajes, to run against him (Aumentado) in the second district congressional race.

      Lim, then, proceeded to the provincial Comelec office to inform that she won't be filing a COC and saw the Cajes couple there.

      So, she returned to Aumentado's residence to tell the governor that he was right as Representative Cajes had also called her, informing that he would back out to accommodate her as Chatto's runningmate.

      But Lim declined, leaving Chatto's group with no other choice but the younger Jala.

      Aumentado said Representative Jala came to his house early morning the next day to explain.

      Manglapus also explained through an interview over a local radio station the day after the deadline that the party revoked Aumentado's CONA based on the information gathered by the party's "intelligence network" that showed the governor's disloyalty to Lakas-Kampi CMD.

      He said the party's "intelligence network" had been monitoring the activities of partymates in Bohol and the result allegedly found questions on the political loyalty of Aumentado.

      Manglapus described it as a thorough monitoring and consultation with local leaders including mayors and other "reliable" sources.

      However, majority of the mayors and the Provincial Board members disputed Manglapus' claim in the presence of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, the party's official candidate for congressman in the third district, during the emergency meeting and consultation that the governor called that morning.

      Yap had to cancel his early morning flight for Manila that day and went to the governor's residence upon the instruction of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to confirm if reports were true that there was an attempt to convince the mayors to jump to Senator Manny Villar's camp.

      The mayors and the local legislators belied the report and instead attested that in their past meetings, Aumentado had consistently expressed gratitude to the Arroyo administration for the mega projects that the national government poured on the province which never came during the stint of the past governors. And to ensure their sustainability and full implementation, Aumentado asked them to support the administration candidates. (Angeline Valencia)