Albay Governor Edcel “Grex” Lagman was all praises to former Governor Al Francis Bichara whom he credited for his success in local governance in the province.
“Thank you for appointing me as a one-peso-a-month Legal Consultant for the PGA’s PYDO in August of 2017 until the end September 2019,” Lagman said in a social media post.
“This gave me a sense of what local governance in the province is about. And the interactions i had with many sectors in Albay was one of the reasons i decided to run for a province-wide post,” he added.
Bichara just recently celebrated his 71st birthday.
Lagman also stressed that Bichara is a “builder in a truest sense,” particularly with the “groundbreaking infrastructure projects he implemented for the province.
“This is how humble he is. We had a lot of contentious—-but constructive—discussions when i was his deputy because he allowed me to speak my mind,” said Lagman.
“He gave me that democratic space. And this is an indispensable part of his brand of leadership. Also, he’s a Baby Boomer and I’m from Generation X. Yet, this 20-year generational gap was always bridged by the talks we had,” he added.
Lagman and Bichara ran together in the 2022 polls but the latter lost to then Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal. Rosal was eventually ruled disqualified by the Commission on Elections, which paved the way for Lagman’s governorship.
“The truth of the matter is, he’s not a fame whore. There’s a saying in politics that i consider as gospel truth: ‘You may win an election or two, heck even more… But in the end, the people will always know—-the people will always know who you really are,” said Lagman.
“Somehow i am at peace with the foregoing adage because it serves to reinforce how majority of Albayanos view govie Al —- a man who was committed to his work (and even excelled in it) as well as one who refused to take part in narcissistic politics, indulge in ‘self-promotion’ and deal in ‘gutter one-upmanship’,” he added.