It will be a six-cornered fight in the congressional race in Bacolod City for the May 2016 local and national elections.
Those who filed their certificates of candidacy for congressman were Vice Mayor Greg Gasataya of the Nationalist People's Coalition, Councilor Carlos Jose Lopez of the Liberal Party, Jude Thaddeus Sayson of the National Unity Party, and running as independent candidates are City Administrator Rolando Villamor, Councilor Archie Baribar and Joel David Enriquez.
Sayson, Baribar and Villamor are allies of Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella of the MKK Partido Bacolod, while Gasataya and Lopez are allies of Bacolod Rep. Evelio Leonardia.
Leonardia - NPC, Puentevella - NUP and Wilfredo David independent, are running for mayor of Bacolod, while Councilor El Cid Familiaran - Liberal Party, and businessman Vladimir Gonzalez NUP, are both running for vice mayor.
Villamor and Baribar said they have no grudge against Puentevella, while Lopez said he has no ill-feelings against Leonardia.
MKK Partido Bacolod only knew of the Villamor's plan to file his candidacy for congressman last night, a press statement from the group said.
We respect his decision. The group will fully support Sayson as our congressional candidate. We are all for congressman Thaddy, Mayor Monico, vice mayor Vladi, and all the councilors of MKK, it said.
Sayson said he will be with Puentevella up to the very end. In 2013 he was defeated by Puentevella in the mayoralty race.
Lopez said he still loves Grupo Progreso and supports Leonardia and Familiaran and other candidates who also support the Liberal Party.
He said his edge over other candidates is his connection in national offices which resulted to more projects for Bacolod. He saw that he can help Bacolod City more if he holds a national office especially in Congress.
Lopez said he was also chosen by President Benigno Aquino, Roxas and vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo to be the lone district representative of Bacolod since they have the same objective which is to fight graft and corruption in government.
When asked why he did not join the party of Puentevella, Baribar said I hear a different beat of the drums. I feel this is now the time when I should continue what I have started in 2004. I have a choice. If I am not taking this as an option, I can still pursue my own.
Baribar said he thanked Puentevella for reserving a place for him. He believes it is a kind gesture from the mayor.
It would have been a better position if he was asked to run for congressman, he said. But my fate is not defined by other people. I define my own fate, he added.
Villamor said he is just fully exercising his constitutional right of suffrage the right to vote and to be voted upon. He just wants to pursue his objective to seek a higher officer after having been elected as councilor and had served as acting mayor and acting City Legal Officer.
He said he also filed for forced leave up to October 26. But he was informed by Bacolod Election Officer Mavil Majarucon-Sia that he is deemed resigned from his post as City Administrator after filing his COC.
Villamor said he already informed Puentevella that he will file his COC. The mayor did not offer him any position in his slate. This is his free will to run for congressman, he said.
Meanwhile, the 27 candidates for councilor are Allan Arroyo, Wilson Gamboa Jr. ,Dr. Francis Balzomo, Sonya Verdeflor, Lorney Lizander Dilag, Alex Paglumotan, Arnel Sigue, Homer Bais, Claudio Puentevella, Jocylin Uychiat, Ana Marie Palermo, Catalino Alisbo, Rico Ferdinand William Villafuerte, Ricardo Cano Tan, Al Victor Espino, Bartolome Orola Sr., Cindy Rojas, Renecito Novero,
Israel Salanga, George Zulueta, Marlon Solidum, Caesar Distrito, Elmer Sy, Em Ang, Dindo Ramos, Ronnie Albao, and Jose Godfrey Perares.*CGS
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