BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and PDP-Laban (Cusi faction) has appeared to be the two dominant political parties in Negros Occidental, based on numbers of their members, who filed their Certificates of Candidacy, from October 1 to 8, records of the Commission on Election show.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, reelectionist Rep. Gerardo Valmayor (1st district, Negros Occ), and returning former Rep. Mercedes Alvarez (6th district, Negros Occ), both unopposed, as well as reelectionist Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya, were among the 161 national and local candidates fielded by NPC in the province in next year’s elections.
On the other hand, Bacolod City mayoralty candidate Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, provincial chairman of the PDP-Laban (Cusi wing), led the 120 party members, including his younger brother, reelectionist Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez, who also filed their COCs, for various elective positions in the province.
The Comelec reported that a total of 773 candidates are vying for various elective positions in Negros Occidental for the May 2022 elections.
The National Unity Party led by reelectionist Vice Gov Jeffrey Ferrer also fielded 55 candidates, while incumbent Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia led the Nacionalista Party members, who also filed their COCs.
The PDP-Laban Cusi faction has fielded Senator Ronaldo dela Rosa as their presidential candidate, and Senator Bong Go as his vice- presidential running mate. Dela Rosa, however, said that he is willing to be substituted by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, if she decides to run for the country’s top position.
On the other hand, the NPC is supporting the tandem of Senators Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Vicente “Tito” Sotto.
The mayors who are running under the NPC banner are composed of Escalante Mayor Melecio “Beboy” Yap, Cauayan Mayor John Rey Tabujara, Kabankalan City Mayor Pedro Zayco, Ilog Mayor John Paul Alvarez, Isabela Mayor Irene Montilla, Pulupandan Mayor Miguel Pena, who is running for the town vice mayoralty position, San Carlos City Mayor Renato Gustilo, Sipalay City Mayor Gina Montilla-Lizares and Bago City Mayor Nicholas Yulo.
On the other hand, the PDP-Laban (Cusi faction) mayoralty candidates are Binalbagan Mayor Alejandro Mirasol, Cadiz City Mayor Salvador Escalante Jr, Calatrava Mayor Marilyn Era, EB Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon, Hinigaran Mayor Jose Nadie Arceo, Manapla Mayor Manolet Escalante, Murcia Mayor Gerardo Rojas, Salvador Benedicto Mayor Marxlen de la Cruz, Silay City Mayor Mark Andrew Golez and Talisay City Mayor Neil LIzares.
Also running under the NUP banner were La Castellana Mayor Rhumyla Mangilimutan, Moises Padilla Mayor Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo, Pontevedra Mayor Jose Maria Alonso and San Enrique Mayor Jilson Tubillara while La Carlota City Mayor Rex Jalandoon belongs to Liberal Party.
Hinobaan Mayor Ernestro Estrao, who is vying for the town vice mayoralty post, is affiliated with Lakas-CMD; Candoni Mayor Cicero Borromeo, who is also competing for the town vice mayoralty race, is running under the PDP-Laban (Cusi faction); Himamaylan City Mayor Raymund Tongson will seek reelection under United Negros Alliance; unopposed Sagay City mayoralty bet Narwin Javelosa is under the National Unity Party; Toboso Mayor Richard Jaojoco, who is running for councilor and his wife, Madonna, for the mayoralty race, are both under PDP Laban (Cusi faction); while Victorias City Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca, is vying for the second nominee of Abang Lingkod partylist group.
For the congressional positions, aside from Valmayor and Alvarez, Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez (3rd district) seeks reelection under the PDP-Laban (Cusi faction); returning Rep. Alfredo Marañon III (2nd district) and Rep. Juliet Ferrer (4th district, are affiliated with NUP; while Rep. Maria Lourdes Arroyo (5th district) is affiliated with Lakas-CMD.
Members of other political parties, including Aksyon Demokratiko, Partido Para sa Demokratikong Reporma, Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan, Abag Promdi, among other others, also filed their respective COCs, aside from independent candidates.*