For still unclear reasons, Abra lawmaker Joseph “JB” Bernos withdrew from his third term re-election bid for the lone district of the province on Friday morning.
Keeping the Abra electorate guessing on reasons why, Rep. Bernos, who chairs the House Committee on Games and Amusements, instead fielded his wife, La Paz town Mayor Menchie to the congressional race.
Explaining the sudden shift only with a “smiley” on his private message, Rep. Bernos refuses to divulge his real plans explaining that he is waiting for things to unfold in the national scene particularly with the candidacies of former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and presidential daughter and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Bernos earlier led a campaign to convince a “Solid North-Solid South” tandem of Marcos Jr. and Duterte-Carpio, which up to this day have not materialized.
Friday morning’s withdrawal of Rep. Bernos though is leaving observers highly speculating he has been promised a cabinet post should a Marcos Jr-Carpio tandem makes it in 2022.
While a few believe, Rep. Bernos’ withdrawal was a “political master stroke” to strategically prepare for the 2025 polls because if the lawmaker finishes his term, he has no other recourse but to run against long-time ally, incumbent Bangued Mayor Dominic Valera, who will only be on his second term as provincial governor.
As if signalling his certainty of a Marcos Jr.-Carpio 2022 win and a cabinet position, though still not admitting it, Rep. Bernos’ withdrawal also meant nothing in terms of losing power should his dream for a cabinet post fails because it is his wife formally taking over and can retake it after a three-year term, thus not burning bridges with Mayor Valera and his family.
Mayor Valera is the father-in-law of Rep. Bernos’ older brother, former La Paz mayor Ysrael, who was slain in 2006. Valera is the father of incumbent Gov. Ma. Jocelyn Bernos, wife of the slain mayor.
To seal against speculations of Rep. Bernos’ switching with his wife’s post in La Paz town, a long-time political ally and town capital barangay chairman Fidel Belena was de-facto “proclaimed” as the mayoral winner by the lawmaker also on Friday morning.