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Alfred, Bem now political allies

Bitter rivals no more

TACLOBAN CITY-After a bitter election that they figured during the 2013 balloting, former city mayor Alfred Romualdez and his erstwhile political rival, former congressman Florencio ‘Bem’ Noel have now kissed and made up.
This was separately confirmed by Noel and a close aide of Romualdez.
The political settlement between the two former rivals come at a time as the country is to conduct elections next year.
Romualdez, who served as Tacloban mayor for nine years which ended on June 30,2016, is rumored to be interested to seek the same position while Noel, who also served as a party-list representative under the An Waray also for nine years, has confirmed his plan to return as the number one nominee of the said party-list group currently held by elder sister, Rep.Victoria Isabel Noel.
“It was not difficult for us (to become friends) because it was more political rather than personal. So it was easy for us,” Noel said.
And as a proof of their new-found political alliance, Noel agreed to support the bid of a Romualdez ally, Eden Chua Pineda, who is seeking reelection as city president of the Association of Barangay Chairmen (ABC) whose election is slated last week of this month.
On Wednesday (July 11), Noel gathered about 135 out of the city’s 138 barangay chairmen of the city as a show of support on Pineda’s reelection bid as ABC president.
According to Noel, it was their ‘well-meaning friends’, particularly Derek Anido, who facilitated for him and Romualdez to settle whatever differences they have as a result of their political rivalry during the mayoralty race in 2013 of which Romualdez won.
The 2013 mayoralty race in Tacloban was considered among its bitter-fought elections.
At that time, no less than former President Benigno Aquino and his television and movie actress sister Kris Aquino campaigned for Noel.
Meantime, Romualdez got the full backing of the Romualdez and the Marcos families.
The former Tacloban city mayor is the nephew of former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos.
The current mayor of the city is Romualdez’ wife, former actress, Cristina Gonzales Romualdez.
Anido, in a separate interview, said that it’s about time for the two former political rivals to close their differences for the good of Tacloban City.
“They have several common friends and interests which includes (the best interest of Tacloban). So why not become friend and help each other,” Anido, who served as an executive assistant when Alfred was the mayor, said.
According to Anido, the two met in the United States while they were on vacations close to two years ago and through his prodding and other common friends, met and agreed to bury their political rivalries.

BY: JOEY A. GABIETA

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