“I’m running for Congress” – former Gov. Cely Wong
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“I am 100% running for Congress,” former Governor Aracely Bernardino-Wong announced last week in a press conference at Amenia Beach Resort.

“As I grow old, I want to do many things. I want to be congressman as anytime I can fly here,” she said, adding that she has already informed incumbent Rep. Cesar Sarmiento of her decision.

Her decision has the full backing of the Wong family, which will also field Provincial Board Member Joseph Al-Randie Wong for his second term.

Jardin Brian Wong, who finished second in the three-way gubernatorial race in 2016, remarked that his mother missed serving the public and would offer her constituents a hundred percent.

“She would aim to be the best congressman Catanduanes will ever have,” JB declared. “It has been her dream since 2004.”

JB later said that if anybody doubts the Wong family’s commitment, he will challenge him to a wager.

On the matter of which political party she would run under, Cely Wong said everything will follow but they are prepared to fight again under the Nacionalista Party.

“But I don’t need a party, as I am comfortable running as an independent,” she clarified.

The announcement came just hours after the former governor, son JB and businessman Bong Wong called on Governor Joseph Cua and Vice Governor Shirley Abundo.

Cua and Abundo accompanied the visitors to the ongoing construction of the Catanduanes Convention Center at the back of the capitol compound  where the former governor was told by the contractor that her pet project would be completed in a month. She will attend the blessing and inauguration of the center, Wong told the media.

“Hilaw pa ‘yan,” she replied when asked about a possible alliance with Cua in 2019. She said she just wants to make sure that the convention center is finished so people can enjoy it.

Expressing her appreciation for the incumbent chief executive for receiving her even if they were opponents in the last elections, Wong said she is okay with what Cua is presently doing.

“I have not asked Cua regarding such a serious matter,” she added. “All are temporary for now. We were not there for an alliance.”

On possible feelers from Cong. Sarmiento’s camp, she said the best offer will probably win but running as an independent will mean she would have to be prepared and decide on her own. She bared that she lost in her last battle because she trusted other people.

On the possibility that she would back out of the 2019 race just as she did in 2016 when she gave way to JB, the latter disclosed that he always believed he could have done better, as the people loved her more.

“Some are pushing me to enter the race but I think I’m still young,” JB said. “I have received many blessings after my defeat but for now the focus is on our business due to my big responsibility.”

He said that he would have his own family in three to four years’ time so he would have to be at home for his children.

JB said he told Cua that politics is a “net loss” so he would rather concentrate on business.

“Hindi na muna,” his mother butted in regarding suggestions that JB be considered as an alternative. “We are busy hiring more people.”

“Kung hindi ako makanahap ng asawa, puede siguro,” JB replied jokingly.

On the chance that former Governor Hector Sanchez would throw his hat into the ring, the Wongs said they will have to consider other candidates and weigh things. “Everything is tentative until the filing of the Certificate of Candidacy,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Sarmiento camp is ready to face anybody in the 2019 congressional race.

“Basta laban tayo para ki Manoy Boy. Di ako tatakbo,” Cong. Sarmiento reportedly stated in a text message to a key aide. The solon thinks it is too soon to think of the elections as many things could happen in the next months.

Opponents say the third-termer congressman wants to run for governor alongside his brother, former PAGCOR president Atty. Jorge Sarmiento. This has been denied several times by Sarmiento, who said it would be politically difficult to run alongside his brother.


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