Benitez: ‘Some areas will be declared free zones’

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Monday, September 24, 2012


ALTHOUGH the Liberal Party (LP) will back Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez for gubernatorial bid, some areas in the province will be declared a free zone if an LP member run against a Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC).

"There might be a case where we will have to declare the place a free zone but of course the Liberal will support the Liberal in that particular area," LP provincial chair Representative Albee Benitez (3rd District) said when asked about the case in Silay City where incumbent Mayor Jose Montelibano will be challenged by an NPC member, former Mayor Carlo Gamban.

The NPC and the LP have forged a partnership, not a coalition, in the province and in the national level, as confirmed by NPC chairman Emeritus Eduardo Cojuangco.

Benitez said LP will support incumbent Congressman Alejandro Mirasol (5th District) who will be challenged again by his nephew, Board Member Emilio Yulo III with the backing of the NPC this time.

Mirasol, who was present during last Saturday’s mass oath-taking of the NPC, declared his support for Alvarez over his uncle, Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., who is seeking reelection.

Yulo, who is a member of the Nacionalista Party, said there are talks about his running again for congressman in the fifth district but he leaves the formal announcement to Alvarez.

Yulo also disclosed that he did not take his oath with the NPC last Saturday, but his presence there was to assure his support for Alvarez.

Yulo had a meeting with NPC chairman Emeritus Eduardo Cojuangco last Saturday in his room at L'Fisher hotel, which bolstered reports that he will be fielded by the NPC versus Mirasol.

The 17 mayors who were present during the oath taking were Araceli Somosa of Calatrava, Teresa Bilbao of Hinobaan, Ramon Torres of Bago City, Gerardo Valmayor of San Carlos City, Melecio Yap of Escalante, Eric Saratan of Talisay City, Jose Maria Alonzo of Pontevedra, Oscar Montilla of Sipalay City, Agustin Bascon of Himamaylan City, Francis Malabor of Isabela, Andrew Montelibano of Murcia, Johnrey Tabujara of Cauayan, Romel Yogore of Valladolid, Magdaleno Peña of Pulupandan, John Paul Alvarez of Ilog, Isidro Zayco of Kabankalan City, and Jechoneas Manzano of Candoni.

This leaves 14 other incumbent mayors believed to be with Marañon, namely Francisco Nazareno of Moises Padilla, Alberto Nicor of La Castellana, Patrick Escalante of Cadiz City, Severo Palanca of Victorias City, Jose Montelibano of Silay City, Leo Rafael Cueva of Sagay City, Mario Magno of San Enrique, Hermilo Aguilar of Hinigaran, Emmanuel Aranda of Binalbagan, Lourdes Escalante of Manapla, David Albert Lacson of EB Magalona, Marxlen Dela Cruz of On Salvador Benedicto, Evello Valencia of Toboso, and Juliet Marie Ferrer of La Carlota City.

When asked for his side, Fourth District Representative Jeffrey Ferrer said that he will make his proper announcement on who will he support when he comes back from Manila. He said that he already has the NPC party nomination with him.

Former board member Ike Barredo's presence during the NPC activity last Saturday was also noted. He said that the party informed him to stay and wait for a signal. Speculations have it that he could be fielded against Ferrer in the Fourth District.

Last Saturday, the NPC has presented their members in different towns and cities, aside from their incumbent members.

The Toboso group was led by Maliang dela Cruz, wife of Albino dela Cruz; Don Salvador Benedicto group led by Atty, Joemax Ortiz, Silay City group led by Carlo Gamban, Hinigaran group led by former Mayor Caroll Guanco, San Enrique group led by former Mayor Jilson Tubillara, Manapla group led by former mayor Edilberto Vocal, La Castellana group led by former mayor Enrico Elumba, Binalbagan group led by Leopoldo Gepes and Moises Padilla group led by Ella Garcia Yulo.

Former Board member Enrique Montilla, who was also present, said that he is running for mayor and that incumbent Mayor Francis Malabor will be running as his Vice Mayor.

Pulupandan Mayor Magdaleno Peña is reported to field his son, Lawyer Michael Peña.

RPA/ABB National Chairman Carapali Lualhati was also seen in the NPC activity.

Former Board Member Gary Acuña, former Second District Congressman Manuel Puey and former Cadiz City Mayor Eddie Boy Varela were also present but have not participated in the swearing in of the NPC members.

Members of the Provincial Board who were present in the oath taking were Renato Gustilo (1st District), Manuel Frederick Ko and Patrick Lacson (3rd District), Mae Javellana and Jose Benito Alonzo (4th District), Dino Yulo (5th District), Pedro Zayco and Helen Zafra (6th District), Raul Rivera of the Councilor's League and George Gitano of the Association of Barangay Captains. (Teresa D. Ellera)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 24, 2012.

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