THIRD District Representative Alfredo Benitez said Tuesday the Love Negros coalition would most likely field incumbent Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson for governor in the May 2016 elections if the merger talks between their group and the United Negros Alliance (UNA) fail.

That would mean Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., chairman of UNA, against Lacson in the gubernatorial race.

Benitez told reporters who covered the 2nd Education Summit for the Third District in Silay City on Tuesday that if worse comes to worst, Love Negros will field a gubernatorial candidate against Marañon, who is eyeing his third and final term.

He added that Lacson is highly capable, and Love Negros will also fill its own slate for 2016.

Benitez also mentioned the name of former governor and incumbent Kabankalan City Mayor Isidro Zayco as possible candidate for governor.

However, Zayco has repeatedly dismissed any possibility of him running for governor as he has decided to retire from politics after his third term and final as mayor. He is seeking his second reelection in 2016.

Moreover, Benitez said that everything will be finalized during the filing of the certificates of candidacy in October, adding that they continue to hope that the merger will be realized.

“Let us wait for the ink to dry. We're not closing our doors and the discussions are still open," the lawmaker said.

UNA has reportedly made a consensus to field Marañon for reelection with outgoing Fourth District Reprsentative Jeffrey Ferrer as his running mate.

Benitez dismissed talks that he will run for governor and also denied reports in the national media that he will run for senator in 2016.

“I have decided to run for re-election,” he said.

On the possible intervention of former ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., in local politics, Benitez said that based on his previous experiences, Cojuangco leaves it to the local leaders to decide among themselves.

Cojuangco, chairman emeritus of Nationalist People's Coalition, supported the Love Negros coalition in the May 2013 elections.