HOUSE Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez officially endorsed Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez for senator before about 10,000 Negrenses who joined the mass-oath taking of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) at the Victorias City Coliseum yesterday.
“If you support President Rodrigo Duterte, this coming 2019 elections, you should support PDP-Laban, including Senator Benitez, and give us 12-0 in the Senate,” Alvarez, party secretary-general, said in his speech.
He said that it’s already definite that Benitez will be included in the senatorial line-up of PDP-Laban for 2019, and in fact, he has been going around the country.
Benitez said he has been going around telling people about his advocacies and that when there is already acceptance by the people, that would be the time he will decide to run for senator.
“I’m already in the shortlist of the senatorial line-up of PDP Laban. I need acceptance, not that we will just run for the sake of running. There should be an advocacy that is acceptable to the people,” Benitez said.
Actor Gabby Concepcion, Benitez’s friend, who also attended the mass oath-taking rites, endorsed the Negrense lawmaker for senator as well, saying he is his “best man” for the Senate.
Concepcion said he has been supporting Benitez since he first ran for congressman in 2010.
“I am just in the background. I have known Albee since high school. He is kind and quiet type of person. I never expected that he will enter politics. Politics is embedded in his genes, and he has helped a lot of people,” he added.
Yesterday’s mass-oath taking was attended by 15 mayors in the province.
The 15 mayors who took their oath were Frederick Palanca of Victorias City, Marvin Malacon of E. B. Magalona, Mark Andrew Golez of Silay City, Neil Lizares of Talisay City, Andrew Montelibano of Murcia, Lourdes Escalante of Manapla, Patrick Escalante of Cadiz City, Richard Jaojoco of Toboso, Magdaleno Peña of Moises Padilla, Jilson Tubillara of San Enrique, Joselito Malabor of Isabela, Enrique Miravalles of Valladolid, Eddie Montero of Escalante City, Rhumyla Mangilimutan of La Castellana, and Jose Nadie Arceo of Hinigaran.
Governor Alfredo Marañon III, who was traveling abroad was represented by Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante, who handed the resolution of United Negros Alliance to House Speaker Alvarez for the proposed coalition between local ruling party Unega and PDP-Laban.
Bacolod City Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya and Councilor Ricardo Tan as well as Abang Lingkod partylist Rep. Stephen Paduano were also present.
Alvarez was joined by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Bureau of Internal Revenue Deputy Commissioner Clint Aranas, and Bataan First District Rep. Geraldine Roman, also one of PDP-Laban senatorial candidates.
Meanwhile, Paduano said 37 of the 61 village chiefs of Bacolod City joined him at the orientation and oath-taking rites in Victorias.
A total of 538 leaders from Bacolod accepted his invitation, including more than 200 kagawad, he added.
Support for Benitez
Also in Bacolod, Grupo Progreso led by Mayor Evelio Leonardia declared their support for Benitez’s senatorial bid.
“The Grupo Progreso officially declares its support for Congressman Benitez for senator in 2019,” said Leonardia, who announced their support during the separate oath-taking ceremony of more than 2,000 members at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos Gymnasium.
Councilor Em Ang and former Councilors Roberto Rojas and Al Victor Espino also took their oath before Alvarez.