WHILE there’s a Commission on Election (Comelec) en banc order to immediately vacate his post, the people of Albay have responded with louder support for embattled Governor Noel E. Rosal by ringing the liberty bell since last month up to now.
Thousands of people are heading and expressing their all-out support to their Governor and his wife Legazpi City Mayor Geraldine Rosal everyday at the provincial capitol near the Peñaranda Park or the Albay’s Freedom Park.
Massive supporters are ringing the liberty bell all day, all night and not only the people of Albay could hear it nor all the million Bicolanos but the rest of the Filipinos up to Metro Manila especially to those people who will decide on the issue, signifying their unity to support the true governor who fought for his people.
“People are coming each day here in the Capitol and I would like to thank them,” Rosal said. “It’s a mixed feelings on my part, happy and sad because you will feel how the people support you.”
It is now a waiting game for Rosal and the people of Albay whether a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) — which they sought last November 21 — will be granted by the Supreme Court to keep him in the position while the high court is resolving the issue.
“People from all walks of life are fighting for me here. I didn’t expect these people will come out to support me. The saddest part is these people should be in their respective houses or working for their families. But they really want to show the authority and the Supreme Court that the people have already spoken.”
They are still hoping that the high court will reverse the disqualification ruling ordered by the Commission on Election (Comelec) en banc against Rosal as candidate during the May 22 polls.
The Comelec ruled that Rosal committed an election violation when he allegedly disbursed public funds within 45 days before regular election.
But Rosal is telling the people particularly the 460,000 who voted for him to keep the faith.
“I still believe in justice and the Supreme Court has its moral values and feelings. They are also human beings who know what’s right and wrong,” Rosal said. “I hope they will consider a lot of factors. What we need here is the moral issues.”
He questioned if will it be good for the more than 460,000 voters in the Albay region to lose their votes where his camp “garnered more than 240,000 votes lead against his opponent that only got 230,000 votes?”
Second is the alleged violation mathematically affected the outcome of the election.
“There’s a saying the supreme rule is still the voice of the people is the voice of God,” Rosal said.
Rosal encouraged the people to stay calm and pray despite the Comelec’s order to the Department of Interior Local Government (DILG) to immediately vacate his office unless he secures a TRO from the Supreme Court to appeal his disqualification.
Rosal lambasted the Comelec ruling, saying the one complaint filed by a losing councilor, Joseph Armogila, was even questionable.
“This program is not new in Legazpi. We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we have evidence that this program is a project also of the city council and the development council,” Rosal stressed. “And they cannot stop that program of the city council or blame the mayor for doing his job.”
He also denied that it was a vote-buying move.
“I didn’t like the Comelec’s interpretation that it’s a violation of vote buying (rules). How can you say that it was vote buying when you only given less than ten thousand beneficiaries while the voting population of Albay is more than 800,000?” Rosal said.
“We also scored 18-0 win in all municipalities during the election, our opponent didn’t win a single municipality. So, for the people of Albay, let’s all be calm and just pray.”