PEÑABLANCA, Philippines- Months left before filing candidacies on October, Governor Manuel Mamba told Forum he is already finalizing a “team” to run with him in the upcoming 2019 mid-term election.
“I have a group. We decide together. It’s almost final. Mga kasama namin, kasama namin,”Mamba said.
Although not mentioning yet any names on his slate, Mamba told Fourm in an interview here at the capitol his team would focus on fighting corruption, drugs, and insurgency.
“Yung gustong sumama sa matinong gobyerno, yung gustong sumama sa laban sa illegal drugs, yung gustong sumama sa laban sa korapsyon, laban sa terrorism at insurgency, dito kami,” Mamba said.
The governor also said his war on drugs and corruption has “defined” his relationship with the Sannguniang Panlalawigan, apparently closing the door for current members of the provincial board.
He also barbed majority of the SP for initially refusing to submit themselves to random drug tests.
“I have drawn the line. Eto na yung madedefine ng relationship namin especially for the election that’s coming,” Mamba added.
The majority of SP, who have became Mamba’s opposition, strongly debunked the governor’s claims they do not support counter-insurgency and anti-drugs efforts in the province.
In a media interview on February 21, Vice Governor Melvin “Boy” Vargas Jr belied Mamba’s claims. He extended their support for such causes especially in developing the province but he expressed disdain over Mamba’s various “violations” in running the province.
“Sumusuporta po kami pero paano po kami sumuporta, unang-unang pag-upo pa lang nagpasara na ng ospital, nagva-violate ng mga provincial ordinances, supposedly ang tulong natin sa mga barangay officials, they have been neglecting, ang pagtransfer ng isang airport sa isang siyudad, ilalagay malapit sa kanyang munisipyo, ang paglilipat ng isang kapitolyo,” Vargas said.
Mamba and the SP have been feuding over budget deliberations since 2017. The former Aquino cabinet member alleged the board of politicking the delay of his budget proposals while the SP maintained they are following budget review process, and alleged several irregularities and discrepancies in Mamba’s budget.
Aside from illegal drugs, Mamba also expressed his strong stand against vote buying especially in the upcoming barangay elections, and urged the public not to vote candidates “buying votes.”
Mamba told Forum on Tuesday, March 13, he believes vote buying politicians especially in the barangay level are involved with illegal drugs.
In The Forum‘s interview with Mamba, he already described the delay as “sabotage.”
“Sinasabotage [ako] para ako ay mag fail as their governor and bahala na ang tao. Total malapit na naman yung election namin, by October ay kandidato na naman kami. Basta sa amin, magsusumbong kami sa tao, kung paniwalaan ako o hindi, nasa tao ‘yun. Sila magsusumbong sila sa tao, magsinungaling din sila sa tao, kung paniwalaan sila o hindi, bahala sa tao,” he said.
Further, the governor said he will let the people decide. “Napakaimportante dahil kami ay niluklok ng tao dito, kanila dapat malalaman kung sino. Dahil itong mga panahon na ito, panahon na naman ito ng pagsisinungaling. Panahon na naman ito ng panloloko dahil malapit na naman ang eleksyon,” he said.
“Hindi dambel (stupid) ang Cagayano. Magaling ang Cagayano kaya tayo nanalo dito,” he added.
Meanwhile, Vice Governor Vargas told Forum in an earlier interview it is “too early” to think of elections. Vargas was then reacting to Mamba’s idea to run for vice governor instead of pursuing a second term.
Vargas also repeatedly told media the SP is not politicking but is instead scrutinizing the budget as mandated by the local government code.
The provincial board has also called foul over Mamba’s rejection of the SP’s call for an executive-legislative agenda (ELA) wherein programs of both departments would have been discussed in crafting a budget.
Earlier, the SP maintained they will follow and respect the local government code and its process, urging Mamba to “do the same.” Northernforum.net