NEGROS Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson on Wednesday, July 5, refused to comment on a possible clash with Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez for the gubernatorial post in the 2019 elections.
Both Lacson and Benitez are leaders of Love Negros, rival political party of the United Negros Alliance headed by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., who is on his third and final term.
“I will refrain from answering that because that is very speculative. We belong to one group so we don’t want to fuel any misunderstanding,” the vice governor said in response to queries from reporters.
"I guess Congressman Albee will make his decision next year, 2018 and that’s what I’ve been saying. October of 2018 will be the most appropriate month to come up with a decision. We talk not regularly but we talk. Although both of us have not yet decided on what to do. We have somehow talked about 2019," he added.
Lacson said running for governor in 2019 is an option considering that the governor is now on his last term.
“I guess it’s natural that I will be considered by the party to run for governor,” he added.
On Monday, all five mayors of the Third District endorsed Benitez to be the successor of Marañon.
The endorsement was made by Talisay Mayor Nilo Jesus Antonio Lizares III Lizares, Silay City Mayor Mark Andrew Golez, Victorias City Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca, E.B. Magalona Mayor Marlon Malacon, and Murcia Mayor Andrew Montelibano during the launching of the “Asenso Metro 3rd Burial Assistance: Tabang sa Kalisod” program.
Lacson said he is not surprised if the mayors of the Third District would support Benitez.
“The point here is Congressman Albee has not declared for what position he will run. But I know for a fact that these mayors and their respective constituents will support their congressman for whatever position he decides to run for. So I’m not surprised at all,” he said.
Lacson, however, noted that the pronouncement of the mayors might lose sight of the vision to support Benitez for senator.
“I hope not because we in Negros are excited to see the possibility of having a senator from Negros Occidental. So I hope that pronouncement does not give up that hope,” he added.
“I’m sure that it’s not Congressman Albee who orchestrated that pronouncement. That I am sure. It could be a spur of the moment reaction of the mayors of the Third District. At this point, I have no doubt that as a group we are still united and together,” the vice governor said.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has offered Benitez a slot in the senatorial line-up of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan for the 2019 elections.