UNA, Aton join forces for Marañon-Ibañez duo

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Thursday, October 4, 2012


FORMER political foes are now political allies in Negros Occidental.

The United Negros Alliance (UNA) and Aton Tamdon Utod Negrosasnon (Aton) are joining forces for the reelection bid of Alfredo Marañon Jr. and his runningmate Board Member Melvin Ibañez (5th district) who filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) on Wednesday.

UNA is Marañon's political group, while Aton is the political group of former governor Rafael Coscolluella.

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The two groups battled each other for supremacy in the 2010 polls but are now joining forces for 2013 against the Nationalist People's Coalition led by gubernatorial bet Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez and his runningmate former San Carlos City mayor Eugenio Lacson.

Marañon said UNA's battle cry is "Brave Heart or Bravo Heart, Freedom," as he described his tandem with Ibañez as “unbeatable.”

With Marañon and Ibañez on Wednesday were candidates for congressman Nehemias dela Cruz (first district) and Sagay City Mayor Leo Rafael Cueva (second district). They also filed their COCs at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial office.

For board members, those who filed were Jose Maria Valmayor and Cloadualdo Dedicatoria for the first district, reelectionists Miller Serondo and Salvador Escalante for the second district, former Silay City mayor Edwin Velez and Talisay City Councilor Joemarie Astorga for the third district, Francis Gerard Tuvilla for the fifth district, and Ted Del Rio for the sixth district.

Marañon bared in a press conference after the filing of their COCs their complete line-up in the entire province for mayors, namely: former mayor Pikdoy Leonor of Calatrava, Santiago Barcelona for Escalante City, Marxlen Dela Cruz for Don Salvador Benedicto, Patrick Escalante - Cadiz City, Lourdes Escalante - Manapla, Alfredo Marañon III - Sagay City, David Albert Lacson - EB Magalona, Jose Montelibano - Silay City, Amelito Lizares - Talisay City, Sonny Coscolluella - Murcia, Juliet Marie Ferrer - La Carlota City, Jomar Alonso - Pontevedra, Mario Magno - San Enrique, Glory Gomez - Valladolid, Francisco Nazareno – Moises Padilla, Alberto Nicor - La Castellana, Hermilo Aguilar - Hinigaran, Emmanuel Aranda - Binalbagan, Ernesto Estraw for Candoni, and Benigno Gequillana for Ilog.

Most of the candidates under UNA were with Marañon and Ibañez during their filing of the COC on Wednesday.

Marañon said they will maintain a high level of politics in Negros.

"We are one in Negros and Negros is a mature political area. After the elections, we will go back with our friendships. We will just present our programs of government. This is just politics," he said.

Asked to comment on the impression that they will be competing against a perceived well-fueled opponents being backed-up by the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) headed by former ambassador Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr. and Representative Albee Benitez (3rd district), Marañon said they're not intimated by the situation.

He believes that the voters of Negros are now “wise and educated” and that majority of the voters now are “principled electors who do not believe on the money factor anymore.”

He said the people will vote for them because of their performance, which, he added, had already been proven in several instances in the province.

Marañon said that in his 42 years in public service, he has never been slapped with any case, much more of any corruption case.

"In fact, I am indebted because of public service. We are standing on our performance that we believe it is what the people want from their leaders," he said, emphasizing that he maintains his friendship with Cojuangco.

Cojuangco, as founder of UNA, supported Marañon in several elections, along with Alvarez. But Cojuangco now supports Alvarez over him.

Marañon said he chose Ibañez because he believes he is a brave leader because of his being a physician.

He also confirmed Wednesday that La Carlota City Mayor Juliet Marie Ferrer, who was earlier reported as Marañon's possible runningmate, is seeking re-election.

Mayor Ferrer, who was also present on Wednesday, re-affirmed her and her husband Representative Jeffrey Ferrer's support for Marañon.

"My presence here is enough proof of our support for the governor," Ferrer said.

Meanwhile, former Murcia mayor Sonny Coscolluella said Wednesday that because of his joining Marañon’s bloc, he presumes that his cousin, former governor Rafael Coscolluella, also supports the governor.

Coscolluella confirmed that Marañon offered the vice governorship to him and to his cousin.

He said, though, that he begged off and decided to join Marañon's party as he intended to serve again the people of Murcia, “because a lot of people in the town are asking him to bring back his genuine service for them.”

Coscolluella also confirmed that he will support former third district representative Kako Lacson.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 04, 2012.

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